Spalding, the sporting goods company traditionally known for selling basketballs and other sports equipment through third-party retailers, is now seeking to score big in the direct-to-consumer (DTC) game. In fact, Spalding’s 2019 goal is for e-Commerce to generate 25% of its total sales.
The company is certainly moving in the right direction. After reassessing its digital strategy during the 2017 holiday season to ensure the brand understood the differences between its B2C and B2B audiences, Spalding has seen:
- A whopping 270% increase in e-Commerce revenue year-over-year;
- A 66% increase in average order value (AOV); and
- A much faster shopping experience, with 100% site uptime through product listing pages, site search, navigation and more.
The first sure signs of success for Spalding came during the 2018 holiday season, when the brand saw a 96% increase in revenue per user; a 30% increase in AOV; and a 51% increase in mobile site traffic. Now, mobile accounts for 70% of total site traffic and a majority of the site conversions, according to Matt Day, Digital Marketing and E-Commerce Manager at Spalding.
“We went from zero-to-mobile-first really quick,” Day said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “From the media we’re focusing on, to the communications, to the web experience, everything is absolutely mobile-first.”
Personalization Drives Spalding’s Shopping And Product Experiences
Personalization powers many of these growth metrics across online and mobile channels. Spalding leveraged technologies from Salesforce to automate time-consuming tasks, including merchandising and analysis, and even to create customized products. The brand now tailors its product recommendations and predictive sort and search functionality with Einstein AI.
With Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Spalding built U-Design, a custom basketball creator that allows shoppers to have their ball laser-engraved with custom text, NBA team logos, throwback NBA team logos, and the recently introduced WNBA team logos and NBA G League team logos.
“Everyone wants something that’s for them, especially today with so many options,” said Day. “The products that people are buying…everything from the shows you watch to the music you listen to, everything is so personalized and customized to you. With custom and personalized products, we saw there being more opportunities, especially with gifting.”
Within U-Design, which Spalding launched in November 2018, custom basketballs are ordered, created and shipped within one to three business days.
“We’ve seen some competitors in the industry offering customized products and sometimes it takes two weeks from order to ship,” Day said. “For us, in the age of now, it had to be faster than that. We upped our technology from a hardware standpoint at our facility in Alexander City, Ala. to be able to get these custom basketballs lasered in about 20 to 30 seconds each.”
Spalding Creates ‘MVP’ Community For Exclusive Product Launches, Retail Partnerships
Spalding also has improved its data collection and customer analysis to build out personalization throughout the site experience. Using Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Spalding built the Spalding MVP community to improve customer relationships, further personalize shoppers’ experiences and engage with them wherever they are. Spalding MVP members receive perks such as access to exclusive product launches, like the limited edition “94 Series” line, free shipping, the opportunity to review new products and rewards.
The brand has since launched exclusive product lines within Amazon and DICK’S Sporting Goods. Additionally, the company recently added the MVP membership branding to its packaging, and can track shoppers who join the program after buying a Spalding product. This data helps both Spalding and partner retailers better understand shopper behavior and ultimately improve the in-store experience.
“We call Spalding MVP the most powerful CRM in basketball,” Day said. “It knows if you’re a parent, coach, athlete, fan or partner of ours. Through MVP, retailers can create exclusive specialized products for their site or their own channels, so they’re not interfering with the relationships built with other partners.”