Activewear retailer Sweaty Betty is to launch a new responsive website as part of a project to improve customer experience across all its channels.
Partnering with e-commerce firm Tryzens and using Salesforce Commerce Cloud, the sportwear brand has developed a faster website to cater better for the 60% of its customers who use mobile and tablet devices to shop.
The retailer, now in its 20th year, has 60 physical stores across the world, including in cities such as London and San Francisco, and concessions in the stores of other brands such as Nordstrom, Selfridges, Harrods and Bloomingdales. The new website is focused on helping the firm to grow internationally.
Sweaty Betty CEO Simon Hill-Norton said that when he and his co-founder launched the firm’s first website in 2000, the aim was to provide a channel for customers outside of its stores, but now customer behaviour is changing.
“Our customers now use mobile devices in so many areas of their lives, so this upgrade of our site comes at a critical time,” he said. “So many of our customers are busy women leading active lifestyles, so we wanted to create a seamless online shopping experience with elevated product imagery and enhanced video.”
As technology adoption has accelerated, customer behaviour has changed, with a personalised and seamless experience across all channels now being the norm.
Because of this, the high street is suffering, with many retailers seeking to change their physical locations into “destinations” assisted by digital, with consumers treating the spaces as a showroom.
This is not such a problem for Sweaty Betty, which has always offered its customers free fitness classes in its UK stores, attracting customers to its shops for reasons other than shopping.
The retailer has always been focused on lifestyle as much as its products, and has therefore tried to develop “lifestyle features” for its online platform.
As well as being better optimised for mobile, the new website has features such as a wishlist function, an increased focus on editorial content including educational guides, a shoppable Instagram page and a lookbook feature.
It also puts more emphasis on connecting the online and instore customer experience through personalised content, which will be tailored by region to cater to differences in international markets.
Hill-Norton added: “E-commerce represents a vital and growing part of our business – not only in terms of online sales, but as an omni-channel retailer in terms of better understanding and supporting our customers. We want to ensure they have the same positive experience when engaging with us, no matter when and how they shop.”
Whether this new approach succeeds in improving customer experience and engagement will be measured by whether there is an increased conversion rate and basket size.
Sweaty Betty is not the only brand focused on developing its digital remit to cater to an omni-channel world. Marks and Spencer recently launched a data skills academy to increase the number of its employees who can properly use its data to develop the retailer’s customer experience, and retail giant Walmart has partnered with Microsoft to develop digital retail further.
Meanwhile, retailers that have failed to adapt to the new digital world are slowly disappearing from our high streets, such as Toys R Us and now House of Fraser.