Tshepo Jeans, a small business based in Johannesburg, with only a single local outlet, developed a new export range in response to demand for its denim products created by two forms of royalty: a duchess and a queen bee.
When Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, came to collect a custom-made pair of jeans from the Tshepo Jeans factory in Johannesburg in October 2019, the resulting publicity skyrocketed international interest in the company’s bespoke denim product.
The duchess was in South Africa with her husband, Prince Harry, and the whole world was watching - and responding.
How does a small business like Tshepo Jeans choose which of the many markets that suddenly opened up, to focus on?
The first step was to upgrade its website into a fully functional ecommerce site, and then to convert the demand into actual sales.
To add to this, Beyoncé’s Black Parade Route included Tshepo Jeans in its list of international Black-owned small businesses to support as an extension of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Now, the team really needed to confirm which countries the interest came from, and to find other countries where demand for their products is rising.
Being a small company, with only one physical outlet, Tshepo Jeans not only needed to control its budgets, but also develop new distribution channels, and choose in which countries to invest its marketing budget.
Google’s Market Finder tool confirmed that The Netherlands, the U.K., and the U.S.A. were viable markets.
Search ad campaigns were deployed in all three international markets to gauge brand recognition and demand, using specific search terms like “tshepo jeans”. Later, the team moved to more generic terms like “denim jeans”.
As a result, Tshepo Jeans witnessed a click-through rate of 6.45%. 23% of all traffic from U.S.A., 31% of all traffic from U.K. and 33.3% of all traffic from Netherlands came from Ads.
In response, Tshepo Jeans added a ready-to-wear product range for the export market, alongside its bespoke denim jeans, and established new distribution networks. The company also employed additional staff to accommodate greater demand.
Based on the success of the initial campaign, Tshepo Jeans continues to investigate new export markets.
“Our team was very pleasantly surprised by how easy Google’s online ad platform, and Market Finder tool were to use, and how helpful the Google team was. It can be daunting to move to digital, but Google made it easy.” Gina Bennett, Brand and social media director, Tshepo Jeans