Fila Uses Analytics to Click Better With Customers

Sports apparel and footwear manufacturer Fila relaunched its Web site this month with the e-commerce section set to go live in September. It's off and running to make the site a vehicle to build strong customer relationships and deliver a satisfactory and profitable online shopping experience.

Rob McClellan, general manager of Fila Online Inc. (the online unit of Fila USA Inc., Sparks, MD), joined the company in November to take charge of its online efforts. He aims to create a platform to gain information about customer preferences and behavior that eventually leads to more successful marketing and merchandising programs through relevant upsell and cross-sell opportunities. Also important is continually improving the site's features and functionality to increase conversion rates and make it a strong revenue generator.

McClellan enlisted Web analytics and precision marketing solutions provider Coremetrics. The San Mateo, CA, company will help Fila obtain customer data every time a person enters the Web site. Coremetrics' Lifetime Individual Visitor Experience profiles are created automatically. When a user shares personal information, a conversion tracking tag creates an ID in the system. Coremetrics then uses cookies to track the activity of that individual, which is added to the profile as it is collected during each visit, giving Fila a complete picture of individual site visitors over time.

“One of the first things I looked at [after joining Fila] was analytics,” McClellan said. “I had used other packages in the past, and I was always frustrated by those analytics because they were anonymous.”

Coremetrics' system lets McClellan and his team learn about a user's previous and current activity on the site: What pages were viewed, what was purchased and what items were abandoned in the shopping cart.

“What I really needed was that next piece [to understand] that people who shopped for this item also looked for this, so I can start using that information to populate cross-sells and upsells and use it for marketing materials,” he said. “If someone has added something to their cart and abandoned it, maybe on the next e-mail campaign that I'm running, their image in that campaign is the product they added to their cart and abandoned.”

Actions certainly speak louder than words, especially on the Web.

“You learn a lot more about somebody from what they do versus what they say,” he said. “They may say they are interested in golf, but when they come to our site, they're looking at tennis [products]. So what do you do there? I'm more inclined to want to market to them based on what they're actually looking at. The other information is helpful, but it may not be the most effective communication vehicle for me with the customer.”

McClellan plans to use every piece of information he learns about site visitors to target every communication, with the goal of making each interaction relevant. Cross- and upsell opportunities will be presented through targeted e-mail campaigns as well as on the pages of the Web site, he said. For example, Fila plans to display a view of a complete outfit. When looking at a women's tennis top, a user can see other products that coordinate with it. In addition, users will be shown other coordinating tops as well as matching shoes. If they're just looking at shoes, they may be offered coordinating socks.

McClellan doesn't expect to take full advantage of the analytics capabilities until the e-commerce section launches. Fila has had Coremetrics' tools on its filativa site since mid-June, using them to drive conversion through improved button placement.

“I think after the first week, we'll start to see some substantial benefits around optimizing the cross-sells and upsells and finding any holes in the conversion process,” he said. “Ultimately, what I want to get to long term is — and it's not in the 2005 plan by any means — to use that information to drive custom content when people return to the Web. It's like e-mail marketing and the follow-up pieces, but actually using it in real time. It's around that common point of interest. What is that person more likely to respond to? And even if the response is, 'I feel better about Fila,' when they got to the site and whether they realized it consciously or not, it was a more relevant conversation. So the next time they're thinking about those golf clothes, hopefully they'll come back here.”

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