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3 Tips For Selling More on Shopify with Montreal’s fashion darling, Rose Buddha

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Seven years ago, Rose Buddha — the Montreal-based, sustainable athleisurewear brand known for its vibrant yoga pants — was created with a single goal in mind: to bring locally and sustainably made fashion to Canada’s wellness scene in Eastern Canada. 

Launching with just one original style in November 2016 (an eco-fabric legging inspired by co-founders Madeleine Arcand and Maxime Morin’s shared trip to Bali) and just an initial investment of $300, the immediate success — selling their entire production run of 200 leggings in just a single day on Shopify — was only a sliver of the success to come.

Now, the brand boasts over 2,500 different SKUs on its Shopify storefront and has cultivated a mass following of return customers—with over 30,000 followers on Instagram and 70,000 on Facebook respectively. Popular items include the colorful Flash Dance Sweater and the plush Cozy Shirt, and the e-commerce brand has increased its sales by over 2400% over the last four years. The fashion retailer is also available in third-party retailers across Quebec—with plans to open on the West Coast of Canada and in the United States by the end of this year. 

And with recent investment from Canadian fashion e-tailer Frank and Oak founders Ethan Song and Hicham Ratnan, along with the 400% in online sales over the last year alone, there’s no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

Below, Jennifer Pelletier, Rose Buddha’s General Director who oversees the company’s e-commerce logistics and clientele services, outlines three key e-commerce strategies that have led Rose Buddha to success on Shopify — and just what to expect from the fitness brand in the upcoming future.

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Tip 1: Community building is key

While on the Rose Buddha Shopify storefront, visitors are immediately drawn in by the slogan ‘Move Mindfully – Live Consciously’ — a mantra that has consequently attracted a loyal fanbase of like-minded individuals in French Canada.

Pelletier attributes Rose Buddha’s online success to the ability to cultivate a community online through a sense of shared values: sustainable living, and embracing a lifestyle that advocates for mental and physical well-being.

“One of our strong features at Rose Buddha is [that] the returning customer is very, very high,” says Pelletier, who joined the Rose Buddha team in November 2020. “It’s not just about buying a shirt — it’s why you’re buying a shirt,” she says. “It’s how you feel when you do, and how you feel when you’re wearing it.”

At Rose Buddha, you can expect to see campaigns and collections promoting body positivity and a balanced lifestyle — all done by way of comfort, and style. Rose Buddha is true to their promise of sustainability by using materials like recycled polyester (made from plastic bottles as almost 10 plastic bottles are found in each pair of their famed leggings), and 95% of all products are developed and manufactured within Quebec, says Pelletier. 

Their less is more approach to clothing is just an extension of what the Rose Buddha customer is looking for — be it the new mum in Laval, Quebec, or the corporate wellness guru in downtown Montreal. The comfortable crew neck sweaters and matching workout sets allow each customer to live out their leisurely dreams — without harming the earth in the process.

For Rose Buddha, Pelletier shares, the less is more approach also translates to the company’s community-led-growth strategies, and social selling tactics.

For them, Meta’s Facebook continues to be the largest source of sales., with the brand leveraging the power of engaging content —and steadfastly providing exceptional service for their customers via Facebook Messenger.

On Facebook, visitors can expect to see Facebook Live collection try-ons with the Rose Buddha founders, questions rolling in across page posts about size and fit (Rose Buddha’s signature leggings are waistband-free at the front for maximum comfort), how-to-style inquiries, and bulk order requests.  With a majority of their customer communication taking place here amongst their core demographic — Quebecois mothers between the ages of 25 and 45 — the platform means a direct line of communication with the brand, a forum to share ideas around fitness and health, and the ability to swiftly and easily shop for new and existing products, says Pelletier. 

When it comes to more creative community building, shares Pelletier, the question the founders are often asking is “How can we be close to our members in other ways than products?” 

“We want to be a resource for women, for products, for lifestyle, for moving,” Pelletier adds. 

In practice, this has resulted in the Méditations Rose Buddha, a guided meditation YouTube channel and app (and one of the most downloaded apps in Quebec), and its own yoga studio, Espace Rose Buddha, in Montreal’s downtown core. Building out resources for their customers has proved effective for community building, helping to keep Rose Buddha top of mind, and ultimately driving more sales. Brand affinity at its finest.

Tip 2: Communicate with your customers wherever they are

With Rose Buddha’s largest community living on Facebook comes a constant flow of questions about product sizing, shipping, and exchanges, Pelletier explains further. And it’s Shopify tools like the Heyday Sales & Support Chat that has allowed the fashion brand to instantly respond to these frequently asked questions with ease (and get a 5-star rating for customer service in the process). 

“What Heyday does for us is to help us for a first buyer,” she says, explaining that the ability to use the power of Heyday’s conversational AI— building out templated frequently asked question responses for their customers while they shop online—means automatically reassuring customer hesitations (which often make or break the sale). Heyday allows Rose Buddha to quickly give their customers updates on their order, answer questions about their product catalog (like if a garment is an oversized fit), etc..

Every Rose Buddha customer conversation on Facebook Messenger is funnelled into the Heyday Inbox—storing every customer chat across sales channels in one unified destination. With this feature, Rose Buddha’s agile customer service team can also tend to any questions that require human attention efficiently, and effectively. The brand has seen an 61% chat automation rate since implementing the Heyday integration in the spring of 2021, with 95% of their customers reporting satisfaction with this communication style.

Rose Buddha is also looking forward to diving deeper into its clientele services on Instagram as Heyday launches with the integration in the summer of 2022. 

Especially when there are one 1-billion users on Instagram worldwide, and with over 130-million consumers engaging with Instagram Shopping posts per month, having a tool that can automate the customer support here will benefit the brand as they also aim to expand into the United States in the later half of 2022.

“Having that service through Instagram is going to help us [to] create [stronger] relations with our clients on Instagram,” adds Pelletier, with the 24/7 chat capabilities on Heyday meaning better service in new markets across various time zones as the brand expands.

Another key learning from Rose Buddha is that it is important to listen to your customer, says Pelletier. 

This includes reviewing how they are shopping, investigating what they are asking, and how and when they prefer to communicate. In action, for Rose Buddha, that’s shifting how they specifically engage with their return customers—which currently make up 70% of their clientele.

“If they have questions, [they like to go from the] computer responses to the person behind the screen,” she says of these prized customers (who are often purchasing the same design throughout the year, just in new colors—or purchasing in bulk). 
The return customers prefer to have increased contact with a face behind Rose Buddha—and emailing does the trick (Heyday also comes into play here as all customer communications on Email can also be funnelled into the Heyday Inbox). Heyday can also track customer satisfaction scores by way of the CSAT score—which can greatly inform any e-commerce strategy on Shopify.

Tip 3:  Provide manufacturing and pricing transparency

Whereas it is clear that returning customers at Rose Buddha enjoy the more personalized standard of customer care (after all, 65% of consumers prefer personalized experiences), it’s also the quality of the product—and transparency—that brings users back to Rose Buddha time and time again.

“One specific feature of our product is that we really choose our fabric to be the softest possible,” shares Pelletier of the company’s production process. “So if you buy a sweatshirt, if you buy [leggings], it’s ultra ultra soft,” she says. “It’s cool on the skin. You really feel that it’s a good fabric that is going to follow you for a couple of years. And that you feel good in it.”

With sustainable fashion garnering more and more attention amongst consumers than ever before (a recent study revealed that 35% of American consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable fashion, with unsustainable fashion reported to see a 50% decrease in sales as of late), Pelletier attributes much of their e-commerce success to the ability to communicate this to their customers across all selling channels.

Specifically, the brand has found success in sharing details about the materials used in their garments. Rose Buddha is OEKO-TEX® certified (an international body that regulates the use of harmful chemicals in clothing) which means styles are free of harmful solvents and chemicals. 

Especially when almost 86% of Americans have reported that transparency from businesses is more important than ever before, Rose Buddha attributes that the more information available to their customers on the Shopify storefront and across social channels, the better.

Pelletier notes that being transparent in other aspects of the business— like profit margins—is also a conversation to be had. As no surprise, she notes, sustainability has a cost. The brand’s role is to continue leading the dialog on the benefits of being a sustainable fashion label (environmentally friendly, higher quality)—especially as we’re facing a global recession in the post-pandemic market (and global warming).

“If you make local fashion, it’s more expensive — so the margins are smaller,” she explains. On average, sustainable clothing is 2.5 to 4-times higher than non-sustainable, based on the fact sustainable practices are inclusive of fair labor wages — but also that sustainable fabrics are more costly to fabricate.

“Money is not growing on trees—we know. So, it’s kind of a situation where [our customers are asking]: can I still buy eco-friendly? Can I still buy local? And our challenge is to keep on doing the best product at a price that could be bought by our biggest clientele,” she adds. 

With the desire to create cleaner earth and support an active lifestyle across Canada, it’s clear that providing exceptional clientele service—and building a meaningful community online—has led Rose Buddha to achieve impressive e-commerce success, one pair of leggings at a time. 

“A shirt is a shirt on the web. But when you touch [Rose Buddha], and when you feel it—that’s why [our] returning customer is so high. We know [that] once they do, we’re going to get them into that Rose Buddha lifestyle. Because it’s not about just the product — it’s about the lifestyle that we put in the front,” Pelletier adds.

You can follow Rose Buddha on Facebook and Instagram. Interested in automating customer care and sales just like Rose Buddha on Shopify? Visit the Heyday Sales & Support Chat.

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