Ever Focused on the Customer, Nasty Gal Leads in Mobile Design

Nasty Gal prides itself on being the "online style destination for badass girls" and indeed, it takes a pretty badass girl, too, like CEO Sophia Amoruso to launch a clothing business in 2006 at the tender age of 22 when she had no real business experience to speak of. What began as an eBay store selling vintage fashions had morphed by 2012 into one of Inc. Magazine's "Fastest Growing Retailers" with revenue for the online-only business approaching $100 million that year — a significant achievement for a company whose standalone website only has been around since 2008.

Nasty Gal's pinpoint focus on vintage styles and fast fashion for the 15- to 20-year-old female demographic is a huge part of the retailer's success, says Isle Metchek, president of the California Fashion Association, largely because Amoruso created the business as a reflection of her own taste. "That singular image is not going to vary as long as Sophia is the owner," Metchek explains. "It doesn't vary based on what style, Women's Wear Daily or peer groups dictates. That's unique to this website." 

It also helps that Nasty Gal's culture helps to create not just customers but devotees, drawing in fans with newsletters in the early days and now editorially-focused blogs and inspirational Instagram pics for its 1 million+ followers. As an online-only outlet, Nasty Gal highly prioritizes the customer experience and always seeks out new ways to improve. "To that end, we have built both a responsive website and a native iPhone/iPad application," says Dave Thomas, CTO, making shopping and the checkout process as simple and intuitive as possible.

Nasty Gal topped the 100 companies evaluated in The Search Agency's Mobile Scorecard Report for web-exclusive retailers with a leading score of 4.680 out of 5, noted for its used of responsive design and keeping the most important things (search box, sign-in, cart and app store download prompts) easily findable at the top of the screen.

"Mobile is a significant channel today and a key strategic priority," Thomas explains. "Mobile web and native iOS channels take center stage for our announcements as customers realize the urgency in acting fast.  Nevertheless, many customers still prefer to view the full-size versions of our exceptional product photography from a desktop monitor."

Customers who crave seeing their much-loved fashions full-size will be thrilled when Nasty Gal follows in the footsteps of companies like Bonobos and opens up physical stores, as Amoruso revealed at SXSW this year. The initial shop will be located in L.A. where the company is headquartered. And the company's first forays into private-label apparel and accessories — because who doesn't love better margins and greater creative and manufacturing control? — should go a long way toward filling up its 527,000-square-foot warehouse space in the Louisville, Ky., area. Nasty Gal needed just 200,000 sq. ft. of the building when it signed the lease in 2012 with the agreement to gradually use the remaining space over the next 10 years.

Editor's Note: Be sure to check out all of our 2014 Top Innovators!

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