How an ecommerce and digital marketing overhaul is helping EMU Australia lift footwear sales

Australian footwear company details its global digital strategy, technology investments and customer engagement efforts

Sue Meehan
Sue Meehan

Footwear company, EMU Australia, has seen online conversions jump by 43 per cent and average customer order value lift by 12 per cent after overhauling its global digital presence.

Global ecommerce manager, Sue Meehan, told CMO the company started seriously investing into its ecommerce and online offering last November. This decision saw EMU Australia select a raft of new technologies and partners as well as appoint Meehan as its first ecommerce manager.

The privately owned, 21-year-old footwear manufacturer and distributor provides natural wool and fibre products, some of which are still made in Australia, and has historically operated on a wholesale-only model. However, a desire to tap into the more profitable digital retail space prompted the company’s recent decision to undergo an online overhaul.

EMU Australia has replaced its existing single global site with 10 new mobile-responsive websites for specific geographies: Australia, New Zealand, US, Canada, UK, Europe, China, Japan, Hong Kong and Korea. So far, each region has access to localised pricing and product, and EMU is deploying regional payment options, Meehan said. Long-term, EMU aims to offer more localised experiences in each region.

The foundation website technology is Demandware. On top of this, EMU has deployed Bronto’s technology for email marketing management; Bazaarvoice for user-generated ratings and reviews; CyberSource for global payments; Brightcove for video content; Google for BI and analytics; Stackla as a social media plugin; and Innovative Systems’ Fullcircle for order management and ERP capabilities. The company has also appointed consultancy, Amblique, to help coordinate its digital overhaul.

“We previously had one site, which was global, with no mobile experience for our customers, and which ran off a bespoke CMS, which was clunky,” Meehan said.

“The problem was no one was really owning online in order to drive things forward,” she said. “From the initial things I’ve done, we’ve seen really good ROI in terms of sales and growth of online as percentage of the total business.”

More personalised email marketing

As EMU Australia’s core digital marketing capability, Meehan said Bronto is helping her team gather more data to learn more about its customer database.

“We used to blast emails, now we’re using this technology to segment who we talk to and how we talk to them,” she explained. “It’s about being smarter in how we talk to our database, collect data, and then use it in more efficient ways to generate results.”

As an example, Meehan said her team has engaged in a range of workflows exercises to better segment customer groups and track the journey of customers within its database. Those consumers who sign up to EMU Australia’s online offer receive emails and updates on products and offers.

“Once they have signed up, we can look at how they engage with our email content and we also look at purchasing behaviours,” Meehan said.

“What we’re finding is it really varies by region. Our email list in the UK responds differently to content and offers than in the US or Australia, and Asia is different again.”

Meehan said EMU Australia is starting to tailor emailed content by geography, and is conducting tests in order to become more specific with content based on purchasing behaviour.

“In the UK for example, we find content-based emails rather than sales message work better in terms of conversions,” she commented. “We also find social content generates more than a sales message saying ‘here’s our product’.

“We also don’t want to send emails to someone who is not interested in the kids range, or in Australian-made, for instance, so we’re trying to fine-tune that and make it more about the customer and what they want.”

The biggest challenge in all this is time and resourcing, Meehan said.

Meehan said it chose Bronto’s platform because it was user friendly and drop-and-drag based. She also highlighted the amount of information available in terms of case studies, as well as access to a strategist to help craft its customer engagement approach.


Since going live in December, EMU Australia has seen 40 per cent database growth, with overall conversions lifting by 43 per cent, Meehan said. Average order value online is also up 12 per cent, and mobile conversion has tripled globally.

One of the most successful email activities this year has been a cart recovery campaign, which generated open rates of 58 per cent, conversions of 19 per cent, and revenue of $5 per email.

Meehan said the next year is very much “optimisation phase”.

“We’ve made a big investment in this new platform and partners to get online up and running globally this year,” she said. “The next step is how can we do it better and be smarter with data.

“In Asia and Europe, we’re still not operating in a meaningful enough way, and we need to do more localisation in those regions to get benefits.”

Another task on the list is a good clean of the database to ensure customer data is up to date and usable.

“We want to cut the deadwood from our database to gain further efficiencies,” she said.

More digital and email marketing case studies from CMO:

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