How Does The Ecommerce Business Of Southern Tide Stack Up?


In 2006 Allen Stephenson presented the idea of Southern Tide in a speech to his college class. His professor encouraged him to pursue the idea. As the story goes, Stephenson packed up his dorm room that night and drove home to Greenville, South Carolina. 3 months after dropping out of college from the University of South Carolina, he launched the Southern Tide Skipjack Polo.

In 2016 Southern Tide sold to Oxford Industries for $85m (they own Tommy Bahama and Lilly Pulitzer). As of 2020 Southern Tide is available in more than 850 specialty retailers and department stores (including their own Southern Tide Stores).


Oxford is a public company and because of that, we do get some insights into the overall business of Southern Tide. In Q1 2021 it was reported that Southern Tide did $15.5M in total sales. An average of $5M per month. 


So how much business is their e-commerce store doing?


During July Southern Tide received just about 15,000 orders. Their estimated average order value is $45. This gives them about $670K in revenue for the month.


Let assume that Southern Tide’s overall monthly revenue stayed the same ($5.5M per month). This means their e-commerce business is doing just 12% of their overall revenue. I am shocked their ecomm business percentage is so low.


How does their e-commerce business compare to others?


Vineyard Vines has 100 store locations and is sold in over 600 other retailers nationwide. In 2016 Goldman Sachs estimated the value of Vineyard vines to be $1b.


In July Vineyard Vines received 124,000 orders. Their estimated average order value is $100, which gives them just over $12M in revenue through their e-commerce store that month. 


Vineyard Vines is a private company but it is estimated that their total yearly revenue is between $600M – $900M. Their ecommerce business will do about $150M – $200M this year. Making their ecommerce business be between 16%-33% of their overall revenue.


Another competitor, Fair Harbor, received 47,000 ecommerce orders in July. Their estimated average order value is about $75. A total of $3.5M in revenue for the month.


Southern Tide is far behind both of these brands in terms of their sales volume.


Social Stats


Southern Tide has 190K followers on Instagram and 425K followers on Facebook. Vineyard Vines has 968K followers on Instagram and almost 1.1M followers on Facebook. Fair Harbor has 58K followers on Instagram (shockingly low) and 30K followers on Facebook.


One stat I love to look at is how much buzz is a brand getting from its audience/customers online. In July Southern Tide was tagged 89 times on Instagram (.05% of their follower count). Fair Harbor was tagged 54 times (0.1% of their follower count). Vineyard Vines was tagged 1,704 times (0.18% of their follower count).


Southern Tide lacks a passionate fan base. This can happen when the founder is no longer part of the company and the brand is just being run by a large corporation. I am not compelled in any way to want to join their community.


Audience Demographics


Southern Tide’s audience is split 50/50 Male to Female. 39% of their audience is between the ages of 18-24 and 35% of their audience is between the ages of 25-34.


Vineyard Vines is split 30/70 Male to Female and Fair Harbor is split 60/40 Male to Female.


All three have similar age demographics.




Southern Tide currently has 14 ads running on Facebook. This compares to Vineyards Vines’ 140 and Fair Harbor’s 25.


See Southern Tides Advertising

These are the top 5 paid keywords for Southern Tide:


1. southern tide

2. southerntide

3. southern tides

4. southern tide swim trunks

5. southern tide shirts

You will notice that all these search terms include their brand name. They do not rank for nonbranded terms.


Southern Tide’s Collegiate Program


In 2008 Southern Tide launched its College Ambassador Program. Today they have over 380 ambassadors at over 300 colleges. In 2011, Southern Tide obtained the rights to offer officially licensed NCAA apparel. Currently, there are 40 schools you can purchase Southern Tide College Apparel for. 


Their college program is a different angle than I have seen than what their competitors do. However, dealing with licensing for NCAA is a huge pain and can be expensive. On top of that, none of their top-selling items are part of their collegiate program.


Researched-Backed Tips On What To Wear on A First Date

This is the 4th top page on Southern Tide’s website. The top keyword driving traffic to this page is “what to wear on a first date”. They also have another popular page “What To Wear To A Bridal Shower“. These pages and topics have been built for SEO and to drive organic traffic.


What are your thoughts on Southern Tide?


As I mentioned before, I feel like they lack a community that makes me want to be part of it. How do you feel about Southern Tide?

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