130% Increase in traffic
71.39% Increase in revenue
53 Top 5 Keywords in Google
New Balance Vancouver (Shoefitter.ca)
Shoefitter.ca is Canada’s leading online retailer of New Balance athletics. Owned and operated by New Balance Vancouver, Shoefitter continues to dominate Canadian search results for New Balance shoes, apparel and athletic gear. Offering purchasing incentives such as free shipping and free returns, Shoefitter.ca is guaranteed to be your next favourite go-to athletic e-commerce store.
New Balance Vancouver contracted Wishmedia in early 2011 to help them re-invent their online presence and become a serious national competitor. Suffering from an out-dated ecommerce platform and an overload of similar products, Wishmedia helped New Balance Vancouver build a new Magento website, improve their server infrastructure and hire on a full-time E-Commerce manager to assist them. Wishmedia fixed the overload of similar products through a Configurable Product selector and helped determine incentives that would get customers to decide to shop online instead of driving to the store. A live inventory and reserve feature was also added that would show customers what products were currently available in-store as well as give them the opportunity to reserve it for pickup. To drive more traffic to the website a variety of marketing platforms and strategies were used including an informational blog, a network of paid ads targeting various cities across Canada, Social media profiles were created and 3rd-party blogs were used to post articles about new shoes. Email marketing campaigns were also used to send promotions to both in-store and online customers. Finally, the Shoefitter.ca brand was placed on all of New Balance Vancouver’s packaging material and customers in-store were asked to sign up for their email marketing campaigns. Completing this project, New Balance Vancouver saw a 71.39% increase in revenue and a 130% increase in website traffic. Customer acquisition primarily came from Organic and Paid search, but direct traffic, referrals and email marketing still made an impact. The order by phone button also was a popular choice for people who did not feel comfortable entering their credit card into the website. This button accounted for 12% of the conversions and has increased 54.23% over the years.
Noticing the increasing demand for online sales, New Balance Vancouver contacted Wishmedia in early 2011. At that time there was only one licensed New Balance e-commerce retailer and that retailer had a monopoly on a substantial percentage of all Canadian based online New Balance sales. Through reinventing their online infrastructure, New Balance Vancouver wanted to become a serious online competitor both locally and nationally. In addition to improving their e-commerce store, New Balance Vancouver wanted to improve their 3 local locations by extending their online presence and using their website to provide local customers with easily accessible store inventory, details and promotions.
At the start of the project, New Balance Vancouver had an active online store. This store was built using an uncommon, out-of-date Python based e-commerce platform. At that time products listed on the website were added based on their model number and customers had to sort through a multitude of different colours, sizes and widths to find the correct shoe. Becoming a leader in the New Balance online retail space would also prove to be difficult without substantial costs due to the major online competitor already having an established reputation, large customer base and top search engine ranking positions. Many potential scenarios that could have been used to gain market share had to be authorized by New Balance Canada’s corporate offices; this would force any marketing efforts to suffer and slow down the growth rate of the e-commerce store. Finally, New Balance Vancouver’s current store did not offer any purchasing incentives to customers. Wishmedia needed to work with New Balance Vancouver to determine viable incentives that would encourage customers to stop purchasing from their current New Balance online retailer (their competitor) and give New Balance Vancouver’s e-commerce store a try.
Manager: New Balance Vancouver understood they had a need for a full-time online store manager. Wishmedia worked with New Balance Vancouver to help them find a knowledgeable expert that could work on-site. This manager would be involved in setting up and running every step of their online business ranging from customer relations and order fulfillment to SEO management and store growth.
Platform: Decisions were made on what e-commerce platform would be used based on the needs and comfort level of the manager. After researching a variety of potential platforms, Magento was chosen as the platform of choice. Magento is the leading e-commerce platform in North America running more than 200,000 e-commerce websites and offering a wide array of features including but not limited to: a built-in configurable product option, a modular architecture and a web services API (Application Interface).
Infrastructure: New Balance Vancouver’s online infrastructure was moved onto a high-end dedicated server with substantially more power than their current VPS (Virtual Private Server). This decision was made due to Magento’s system requirements and the significant lag (slowness) that was causing slow response times and loss of sales.
Configurable Products: New Balance Vancouver’s products were originally listed by model number. This meant that when a customer wanted to find the right product they where forced to search through every possible option including multiple: genders, sizes, widths and colours. Through Magento, overcoming this obstacle was made easy with the built-in configurable products feature. Configurable Products allowed customers to enter a single product page and select their options from a dropdown. When a customer completed each dropdown option, the system would internally sort through all possible product combinations allowing the customer to add only the correct model to their cart. This solution eliminated the difficult to navigate product pages and provided the customer a highly simplified checkout architecture.
Incentives: To improve customer satisfaction and encourage new customers, New Balance Vancouver offered Free Shipping coupled with a Total Fit Guarantee. Free Shipping with no minimum requirements is still not offered by any other authorized New Balance online retailer. With competitors requiring a minimum order of $100 or registering for their online membership, New Balance Vancouver’s free shipping offers customers a greater incentive for purchasing online.
In addition to their free shipping offer, other incentives such as same-day delivery or shipping within 1 business day lets customers know shopping online is easy and their products will arrive fast. As most shoppers are aware, brands size products differently. With New Balance Vancouver’s Total Fit Guarantee customers have the option to send back a product at no charge within 30 days. The Total Fit Guarantee eliminates any hesitations a customer may have with purchasing products that might not fit right.
To improve awareness these incentives are advertised on every page of New Balance Vancouver’s website and are included in their Google Adwords marketing and re-marketing campaigns.
Adwords & Re-marketing: Google Adwords and Re-marketing campaigns became an integral part of New Balance Vancouver’s online marketing. In addition to the incentives, a variety of low-cost, high return keywords, were used to drive large volumes of traffic and greatly improve New Balance Vancouver’s search engine ranking. Adwords was also installed into New Balance Vancouver’s Google Analytics accounts allowing them to monitor their ROI and make educated decisions based on decreasing their cost, improving their results and targeting keywords with higher conversions.
Blogging: New Balance Vancouver integrated a WordPress blog into their Magento e-commerce store. WordPress was chosen based on the built-in blogging SEO features, the variety of blogging plugins and the large online community. Written and maintained by their e-commerce manager, New Balance Vancouver was able to target highly focused keywords that draw large amounts of traffic and comments to their website. The blog focuses on two primary aspects: education & promotion. Education was used in a variety of blog posts to introduce customers to newly released or upcoming shoes and to teach them about any new technologies and features the shoe includes. These educational blog posts also provided both a video for the customer to watch and a transcript that helped search engines understand and rank the video. Promotions were sent out in email marketing campaigns, website banners were added and blog posts were created giving customers in-depth information on what requirements the promotions had (in-store or online only, etc).
Live Inventory: Looking to add more features for local customers and simplify online product management, New Balance Vancouver needed a solution to integrate their POS (Point of Sale) system into Magento. Luckily Magento’s e-commerce software comes pre-packaged with a built-in API (Application Interface) that makes importing any product data a simple development task. Being able to automatically import inventory from each store location gave customers the ability to easily check live inventory information directly on the Shoefitter website. Simply checking the stores product page told customers wether or not the product was available in-store, what stores the product was available at and if the product wasn’t available in-store, it could be ordered directly from the warehouse. Shipping directly from the warehouse gave New Balance Vancouver the opportunity to sell a larger variety of products without requiring a large inventory.
Email Marketing: Email Marketing has proven to be one of the largest sales drivers for New Balance Vancouver. Running promotions once every month or two, Email Marketing has allowed New Balance Vancouver to remind customers of their business and drive them back to the store. Email Marketing campaigns such as: reminders, promotions and new product introductions were used to encourage sales, keep people interested in the store and create excitement in new products. Emails that were sent out with products would provide quick information links to the various incentives, store locations, 1-800 contact numbers and links to the store blog for more detailed information on the promotion.
3rd Party Blogs: New Balance Vancouver was able to leverage connections with local bloggers to write product reviews that drove occasional multi-day spikes of traffic and sales. These customers also contributed to the growth of the customer base and resulted in multiple reoccurring sales. Not only did these articles provide immediate sales benefits, but also offered high-quality backlinks that helped the reviewed products improve their search engine ranking positions. An example of one of the blogs used by New Balance Vancouver was LaineyGossip. A blogger at LaineyGossip would write about life-style running and shoes which would drive large amounts of traffic to the website. You can still see one of the blog posts here: http://www.laineygossip.com/Smutty-Fitness-Spring-Running-Shoes/Lifestyle/23978
On-site Branding: Branding was done on all shipping parcels and in-store sales to increase store awareness. These applications included: interactive touch-screen televisions that were set up and defaulted to the Shoefitter.ca home page, in-store purchases were packaged in a bag that contained both the New Balance Vancouver Logo and the Shoefitter.ca domain name and online purchases packaged in paper that contained the same brand as the in-store bag.
In-store Acquisition: Customers who purchased products in-store were asked if they would like to provide basic information. This information was used to track customers sales history, products purchased and most importantly, obtain email addresses for email marketing and promotional offers. These offers would then direct customers to the online store offering more information for both local and online promotions.
Since launching the website on June 14, 2011, Shoefitter.ca has seen a 71.39% increase in revenue and 130% increase in traffic. This outcome is due to an accumulative effort of blogging, adwords, email marketing and traditional marketing. Note: All of the outcome data is from after launching the new website; no data exists from the previous website.
Traffic: (June 3, 2011 to 2012 – Compared to – June 3, 2013 to 2014)
Since the launch of Shoefitter.ca, the website’s traffic has continued to grow exponentially and has improved over 120,000 visitors per year. This traffic is primarily from Vancouver shoppers who were already familiar with New Balance Vancouver, Google searches and Pay-per-click advertisements.
Acquisition: Shoefitter.ca has steadily grown its organic traffic, although it still maintains a diverse acquisition ratio. Most notably, traffic to the website is obtained from: 49.4% Organic, 15.4% Paid Search, 10.4% Direct, 3.8% Referral and 2.3% through Email Marketing.
Conversions: Shoefitter.ca has continued growth in sales and revenue since the launch of their new website. These conversions can be further segmented into: Organic Search Conversions: 115.40% Increase, Direct Conversions: 86.96% Increase, Paid Search: 46.60% Increase, Email Marketing: 581.08% Increase. With one of the lowest costs per conversion, email marketing accounts for 7.27% of the total increase in revenue.
Order By Phone: Another metric not taken into account on the product page is the “Order By Phone” button. When clicking this button an event is saved in Google Analytics to track it as a potential lead. This button accounts for an additional 12% of possible conversions and its usage has increased 54.23% over the years.