KICKS CREW is a fast-growing online marketplace for sneakers and apparel with one of the most extensive offerings globally of over 400,000 styles. Its mission is to make sneakers more accessible to all consumers. The products it has on offer range from the latest drops and timeless styles to rare, vintage collectibles.
The bulk of its user base resides in the United States, Australia, and Canada. In March 2022, KICKS CREW raised a $6 million Series A round. The capital raised will assist in strengthening the KICKS CREW’s foothold in the US market.
Transforming payments from a challenge to a growth opportunity
KICKS CREW's rapid growth meant that it needed to review the underlying infrastructure supporting its business. Payments were one of the first areas for evaluation. And when the team took a closer look, they found that the current provider was not suitable to take the company forward.
There were both economic and technical forces at play. On the financial side, KICKS CREW found that its payments cost more than they initially thought. Its provider frequently charged hidden fees and surcharges. The provider also asked KICKS CREW to place large upfront deposits with it for risk mitigation purposes. This was money that KICKS CREW would rather invest in business growth.
On the technical side, the rigidity of its previous provider's platform also caused issues. Making changes was painful, and adding items, such as new payment methods, created a resource burden.
KICKS CREW, therefore, needed a payment platform to keep up with the latest technologies and industry innovations. And to have the technical flexibility to move fast.
"We'd reached a critical juncture. Our previous payments provider had gotten us so far, but it wasn't fit to keep pace with the growth of our business," says Gary Hui, Co-founder and Chief Growth Officer of KICKS CREW. "We needed another provider that was technologically superior, simple, scalable with a supportive account management team that can assist us to make payments a growth lever for our business."
Keeping the payment experience streamlined
KICKS CREW then discovered Checkout.com and found it was a payments provider that could meet its requirements. Customers on KICKS CREW now have a frictionless payment experience with Checkout.com as the payments gateway.
"Thanks to Checkout.com, we can now deliver a frictionless and intuitive checkout experience to our customers," says Gary.
This user-friendly experience extends to the KICKS CREW internal financial team as well. The accessible dashboard provides a clear overview of all payment data. This includes key performance indicators such as total revenue, approved sales, refund amounts, dispute amounts, and sales in different payment methods and currencies. While the easy-to-use reporting features make extracting actionable insight effortless.
With these features, KICKS CREW can leverage data as a strategic asset to streamline internal processes, save time, and eliminate manual errors. For example, the reconciliation process is now simplified as all relevant information is available at a click of a button.
Building a valuable partnership
Chargebacks and friendly fraud are significant issues in ecommerce, with 80% of businesses citing an increase in friendly fraud attacks in recent years. And, as its businesses expanded, KICKS CREW was running into more instances of friendly fraud.
To mitigate the impact, the Checkout.com team works closely with KICKS CREW. For example, Checkout.com has provided KICKS CREW with a playbook on handling disputes. The playbook offers bespoke instruction around what evidence to submit and many other factors to give KICKS CREW the best chance of success. The results are positive. KICKS CREW's win rate has increased, allowing it to recoup 18% of lost revenue.
Checkout.com also enabled KICKS CREW to integrate third-party risk tools, providing covered approval for transactions on its behalf. This allowed it to cut friendly fraud cases by around 65%. "The Checkout.com team is unparalleled in their attention to our needs and growth, with an astute understanding of our business models and pain points," shares Gary.
Additionally, the relationship has been an open and transparent one. “We’ve had issues where we had to deal with complicated service charges for different payment methods. Checkout.com has clear, simple pricing that we appreciate very much,” Gary highlights.
Payments as a growth accelerator
KICKS CREW has growth as its key priority as the sneaker market booms. The first step on this path is launching its first-party mobile application.
"Our app will make it easier for customers to browse the wide collection on KICKS CREW. This year, we'll launch our app using Checkout.com's payment gateway for conversions," says Gary.
KICKS CREW is also exploring other ways to engage with customers directly.
"We're also looking to introduce livestream shopping events and build better community engagement. This requires us to have a deep understanding of local shopping experiences and preferences. Additionally, we want to take this one step further and offer more localized options, such as accepting local currency payments," adds Gary.