Besting the In-Store Experience
As promised, I am sharing in a blog series some insights culled from our Customer Experience Live Event held last month.
One of our featured customers, Michigan-based Summit Sports, gave us much food for thought, challenging itself with the mission of delivering a "better than an in-store experience." That's a tall order when you consider all the advantages a retail environment offers, where salespeople are standing by and shoppers can try the merchandise on for size. Add to this the fact that Summit is selling highly technical products like skis and snowboards that easily cost north of $1,000, and it becomes an even tougher proposition to convince shoppers to buy online.
Amid what it calls a "notoriously stubborn" conversion rate, Summit last year decided to overhaul its 13 online properties. The metrics it achieved as a result were nothing short of stellar: it grew conversion 11% and nearly doubled its online revenue. Among its revamp initiatives, Summit sharpened its focus on search engine optimization, added breadth to its product narratives, and amped up the site's rich viewing capabilities to enable shoppers to see everything granularly, right down to the stitching. It standardized on the product specs so that when you can compare one product against another, you're actually comparing apples and oranges. For each of its product categories, it offered supplementary content links, including buying guides, sizing guides and videos.
Impressively, Summit captured 1,400 product review videos in just three days to yield more than 3,000 videos that now live on its sites. The videos offer both breadth and depth: You can view a clip about how to mount ski bindings, or drill deeper and watch someone review a specific brand of ski. The best part is, these videos aren't big dollar investments. Summit didn't hire professional video producers to crank out them out; they did it all themselves. And the results are effective--the videos retained a grittiness that lended them authenticity, which for the free-spirited ski and snowboard crowds, imparts more credibility than would a slick and polished video.
I invite you to view an exclusive presentation Summit Sports delivered at the Scene7 customer event. I think you'll come away that given some clever and rich content, online shopping can best the in-store experience.