Integration is the key word here, and was the main topic of conversation when we caught up with Vice President of Marketing, Matthew White (Matt). Primarily a direct to consumer brand, it’s vital that MAAP provides a seamless customer experience, and for that it needs tools that work in sync. Tools like Shopify, Klaviyo and REVIEWS.io - a powerful combination that’s significantly contributed to MAAP’s success.
MAAP has become a significant player in the global cycling apparel industry since it was founded in Australia during 2014. A relative newcomer, Matt joined the team in 2020 and is responsible for driving omnichannel marketing on a global scale. A key part of that is an effective tech stack that supports a focus on digital channels. This is where MAAP has leveraged the benefits of a best-of-breed approach, using platforms that communicate with one another and cover the whole of the buyer journey.
For example, with the integration of Klaviyo, they’re now offering more personalised content driven by consumer data. They can base campaigns on buying behaviour and customer feedback to send the right messages at the opportune moment:
“What we’ve been able to achieve with our new post purchase flows implemented through the Klaviyo platform has been fantastic, and clearly REVIEWS.io is part of that process. For us, it’s about having an integrated solution where all of the cogs in that solution work harmoniously together. If one of them's out of sync, it really does bring the whole process down.”
Matt explained that the brand is in a period of significant growth, expanding its efforts across social and digital channels, content and even outdoor advertising. It’s also placed an emphasis on Google as a means of customer acquisition and again, integration has played a key role here.
Though MAAP teamed up with REVIEWS.io before Matt joined the business, he’s happy they chosen to work with a Google Licensed Partner for review collection. For him, it’s crucial to have that validated source of data being driven through all of Google’s platforms. It’s given them increased visibility, and Google stars and Seller Ratings that instill confidence at both a brand and product level:
“Google has become a very strong platform for us, we’ve experienced exponential month on month growth through it as a platform, and the integration with REVIEWS.io has been a significant part of that.”
The brand now operates internationally, with four sites running on the same technology. These cater to Australia, the US, the UK, and continental Europe. With separate fulfillment for each, this global expansion has not been without challenges. Taxes and tariffs have of course posed issues, but perhaps the biggest hurdle to overcome was ensuring consistency of tech integration:
“Other than stock management the biggest issue has been making sure our technologies are integrated and work in a uniformed capacity right across our four fulfillment houses.”
Whatever tech stack you use as a D2C brand, it’s all for nothing if you don’t connect with your market. This is another key strand of the MAAP strategy, adopting both digital and in person techniques.
In digital terms, they find REVIEWS.io a particularly valuable platform, and Matt explained how review content has proven influential in two ways. First, it helps drive development. MAAP exists to help customers realise their own cycling potential by providing performance driven products. What customer feedback gives them is first hand insight into how those products are received - their fit, quality and efficacy. This in turn helps them explore areas for improvement:
“We need to be able to continue to push the boundaries in terms of research and product development. So not having direct access to those reviews would be a hindrance.”
Second is that the customer voice is the most powerful marketing tool out there. It speaks louder than any other form of content and provides that level of trust so important to D2C brands, particularly those like MAAP where the products in question are so tactile and performance led.: As the review space becomes more advanced there’s even greater opportunity here, and MAAP now uses review attributes to capture product and customer insights.
With our attribute widget and collection feature, customers are able to compare the experience of the reviewer with their own needs - how did the item fit someone of a similar height and weight? Did it run too big or too small? As products designed for elite sports men and women this information is essential, and allows for better purchase decisions:
“Where I really see the biggest value from REVIEWS.io is as another marketing tool. To be able to have honest, genuine reviews from a community of cyclists provides reassurance and clarity.”
Pop-ups and events are also a major part of how MAAP connects with the consumer and drives that sense of a brand community. They have a presence every year at the Tour Down Under in Adelaide, with a pop-up that operates as both a retail space and a social gathering spot. They’ve also held pop-ups in every major centre in Australia, and most recently, in conjunction with one of their wholesale partners in New York.
What these provide are an opportunity for face to face conversations - a chance to connect with the consumer on a personal level:
“We find those experiences invaluable. Not just to be able to have those one on one communications with some of our most dedicated customers, but also with new audiences as well.”
MAAP also has its biggest brand ambassadors leading cycling events at various locations, and uses technology to drive events and participation across the globe. One such initiative is a partnership with Strava, through which it runs up to four challenges a year. This extends its reach, building connections with customers around the world and welcoming new members into the MAAP community.
The cycling community is typically one led by what Matt refers to as ‘environmental thought’ and MAAP is taking great steps towards making a difference, showing how being a sustainable brand is good business in the process.
When it comes to the manufacturing cycle, MAAP is a Bluesign® system partner. What this means is that the process meets sustainability criteria right from the growing of raw materials through to the customer checkout. It’s focused on all waste outputs, including chemicals, water and air quality. MAAP is also on a path to sourcing 100% of materials from other Bluesign® system partners by 2022.
But it also brings sustainability back to the brand community through its Off-Cuts programme. Here, otherwise wasted fabrics from past production runs are repurposed into limited edition jerseys, all without compromise on quality and performance. Not only does this help MAAP lessen its contribution to landfill - it also enables the cycling community to be part of the solution through purchasing these products.
“One of the founding principles of MAAP has always been to leave a better planet than the one we inherit. Sustainability really does define, and continues to redefine everything that we do.”
It was a valuable opportunity to talk to Matt - both to hear how he and the MAAP team have established such a strong and growing brand community, and how they’re taking major steps to limit their impact on the environment. It was also great to hear how much of a role the REVIEWS.io solution has played in business growth.
Matt hinted a lot of exciting things in the pipeline for MAAP’s future, and left us with some kind parting words:
“Honestly, the decision was made to go with REVIEWS.io before I arrived, but I’m so thankful that the team did their due diligence and we’ve got an opportunity to work with such an engaged partner.”