CFO World

How Superdry overhauled its local e-commerce for better customer experience

Retailer details the mobile-first approach that's been driving up its customer game

To stay relevant in a changing retail space, UK brand Superdry had to take a serious look at its customer experience (CX).

As part of Brand Collective, which includes brands like Hush Puppies, Clarks, Sachi and Grosby, Superdry had the products, but no local way to get them to customers. Instead, it shipped from the UK, which, in a world where the standards are set by Amazon, simply wasn’t going cutting it.

Instead of trying to play local catch up in a crowded space, Superdry decided to shake up its e-commerce in order to lead, not follow. It not only opened a local e-commerce operation with a mobile-first approach, it also implemented click and collect, implemented floor to door, started tracking its NPS and is about to roll out live chat.

For Superdry’s e-commerce manager, Brenden Gillen, the localisation of the digital store was deemed the 'missing link’ the brand needed to improve customer experience. As a result, it has just announced the official launch of its online flagship store for Australia and New Zealand.

Brand Collective’s stable of household brands are sold through a combination of department stores, branded retail sites and company-owned websites. With e-commerce increasingly becoming a key growth channel, Brand Collective chose to partner with BigCommerce to level up its online shopping experiences across its stable of websites.

“Launching locally was part of a global digital brand initiative. Superdry was founded in the UK, but needed to look at how they go to market in a changing retail space,” Gillen told CMO.

“Prior to this, we operated solely out of the UK, so anyone in Australia who bought online would have it shipped from the UK,” Gillen said.

Actively seeking feedback from customers, Superdry found this was not giving its customers the experience they wanted from such an iconic international brand. Shipping was taking far too long and ranges in the UK were not congruent with Australian seasons. Customer service was also based in the UK, making it non-existent locally.

It realised to provide a better CX to customers, it really needed to provide local experience and align it with the stores and range available in Australia.

“This is unique from a Superdry point of view, as we’ve never been able to offer aligned ranges from in-store and online, locally. All the stock was sitting in the UK, but the UK is operating in a different season. So now, we are able to align in-store and online,” Gillen said.

“It is also unique in respect to e-commerce as a whole, because we’ve gone with a mobile-first website. Our demographic is younger, millennials to Gen Z, who tend to shop on mobile and rarely use a laptop for shopping, so we are deliberately catering to them. We also ensure we have lots of videos of people with the clothes on a body and lots of colourways, so shoppers on mobiles can get the right experience and feel informed.

“Because our customers wanted a faster delivery experience, we now ship from our main warehouse in Victoria and leverage our store network, so customers get their items within three days.

“We also found, for customers who didn’t have a store in their area, they couldn’t really understand the quality of the products, what they look like and sizing, which is why we have done the videos. This gives people confidence in what they are purchasing, which can be lacking in online purchasing generally. We only have 20 stores at the end of the day, which is not enough for everyone to have a store locally to touch and feel the product. Given we have such a high engagement with that younger demographic, we needed to give that experience.”

Along with e-commerce, customer service has also been overhauled, to provide the immediacy customers now demand.

“Previously, if someone wanted to contact us, they couldn’t in the local time zone, because our reps were in the UK. We have a customer service team based in Melbourne now, they man the phones and email, and we’ll be rolling out live chat soon. It means people don’t have to feel alienated.

“We service social on demand and when it comes to live chat, we’ll see where the demand is and go from there.”

Gillen admits being part of a big global company has its advantages, which is why they went with BigCommerce locally, because it had demonstrated effectiveness across the business.

“We use BigCommerce to roll out a number of sites and we have now tied this into our store point of sale system, for real-time inventory.

“Thanks to the technology, we now have click and collect, so customers can pick up in-store. We also do it the other way now, as well, with floor to door. Customers can order at the point of sale and have it delivered to their door. It is a part of the ‘Endless Aisle’ technology we’ve put in place. We want to look at same day delivery as well using local courier services. Essentially, all this allows us to leverage our store network, to get it to the customer as quickly as possible.

“When Amazon and the other big hitters started operating, it really changed the game for customer expectations. Speed of delivery is what people are after, and availability of stock. For us to keep up, we have to have the right technology in place to enable us to scale quickly.

“We are also speaking to the customer throughout the whole journey via feedback surveys, checking stock levels constantly and being proactive. We are using NPS now to measure customer satisfaction, which is not something we did before; using it to measure proactive and detractive customers, and gain feedback on how we can improve. And we’ve only just started.”

As Superdry seeks to cement itself as a forerunner in A/NZ e-commerce retail space, it also launched #InYourElement – what it claims is a world-first collaboration between fashion retail, automotive and travel sectors.

Aussie influencers will be the face of upcoming partnership campaign with automotive and travel giants, Subaru Australia and STA Travel.

To support the campaign, which celebrates the UK fashion brand offering a ‘jacket for every element’, four of Australia’s most popular social media influencers will be sent on four unique elemental experiences provided by STA Travel.

Superdry will also be hosting a digital and in-store promotion that will offer Australian consumers the opportunity to win a $3000 Superdry wardrobe, an all-expenses paid elemental trip for two to Tasmania and a new Subaru WRX (for a period of six months).

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