May 29, 2014
Channel conflict is nothing new to eCommerce, but as retailers strive to deepen relationships with their customers, there’s increasing impetus to resolve channel conflicts for the benefit of all. As consumers have more choices than ever to browse, shop, and buy with 54% of the digital population using multiple platforms to shop, according to a ComScore October 2013 study, retailers need to align their cross-channel efforts to deliver a seamless experience. Though this alignment can be especially tricky for brands with franchisees, Australian retailer The Athlete’s Foot is proving that franchise and eCommerce channels don’t have to be at odds.
Founded in 1981, The Athlete’s Foot is the largest running-specialty footwear retailer in Australia, with 137 stores and 98% of their business coming from their franchise stores. Their first move online was a content-heavy site that focused on delivering information to support their franchisees. But with little eCommerce functionality, it was more of a resource site, and didn’t have the flexibility to change with the commerce landscape.
When they began looking for a new solution, The Athlete’s Foot wanted a site that could support and grow both aspects of their business. Magento Gold Solution Partner Netstarter used Magento Enterprise Edition to add great online tools (including Footwear Finder™ and Shoe Fitr™ to help consumers find the perfect fit) and to help The Athlete’s Foot enhance the content pages of their franchisees. Added functionality enabled each franchisee to express their own personality and include details about the communities they serve, such as the schools they sponsor and the podiatrists they work with. Along with a beautiful new site—and the ever-important mobile presence—consumers were also able to “buy online, pick up in store” which was supported by a profit sharing model between the eCommerce side of the business and the physical store.
Ultimately, the new site and features have not only strengthened both sides of the business for The Athlete’s Foot, but fostered a positive partnership between them. Since the re-launch, site traffic has increased 80% and pick-up-in-store has grown to 7-8% of online sales. “We feel like we found a sustainable model that supports the growth of our store network, but also supports what our end consumer is looking for in a connected multi-channel experience with The Athlete's Foot,” says Mark Teperson, Director of Multichannel for The Athlete’s Foot. “Magento has been great in its ability to provide us with both a commerce solution and a content solution.”