Legendary sports equipment brand delivers a slam dunk with AI-powered customer engagement and loyalty

CHICAGO—JUNE 17—CONNECTIONS—Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), the global leader in CRM, today announced that SPALDING®, the largest basketball equipment brand in the world, is using Salesforce to provide its customers with fast, personalized and mobile-first experiences.

Founded in 1876, A.G. Spalding & Bro. created and produced the first official basketball for Dr. James Naismith, the sport’s founder, in 1894. With basketball innovation baked into its core, Spalding has always been laser-focused on delivering a best-in-class customer experience. As more customers began to interact with the SPALDING® brand and engage with the game digitally, the company realized the importance of delivering the brand promise through a mobile and customer-first digital brand strategy.

With some of the most engaged and loyal customers in the market—basketball fans—Spalding needed a platform that was built not only mobile-first, but AI-first. To support its global scale and customer base, Spalding turned to Salesforce to roll out a robust ecommerce platform and customer loyalty program. As a result, Spalding experienced massive results during the 2018 holiday season—a 96 percent increase in revenue per user, 30 percent increase in average order quantity and 51 percent increase in mobile site traffic. Even more, the results have continued with a 270 percent increase in ecommerce revenue year-over-year, 66 percent increase in average order value, while customers benefit from an even faster shopping experience, with 100 percent site up time through product listing pages, site search, navigation and more.

“Delivering a fast, easy and unique Spalding brand experience to the highly engaged basketball community is crucial to our customer-first strategy and our quest to establish Spalding.com as the Ultimate Basketball Store,” said Matt Day, Digital Marketing and Ecommerce Manager, SPALDING®. “With Salesforce, we are able to deliver just that, saving our customers time, and making it easier than ever for them to discover products and engage with our brand wherever they are—all while exponentially increasing our B2B and direct to consumer ecommerce business.”

Spalding’s transformation with Salesforce includes Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, Community Cloud and Einstein Artificial Intelligence (AI).

  • Building deep, long-lasting relationships with artificial intelligence—With the power of Einstein AI, Spalding automated time-consuming tasks including merchandising and analysis. Now, Spalding is able to focus on building deep, long-lasting customer relationships, knowing that Einstein AI can take care of the rest. Spalding customers experience intelligent shopping at its finest, complete with tailored product recommendations and predictive sort and search functionality—ensuring that each customer receives the product assortments, categories and results tailored to them.
  • Delivering a connected customer experience with a single platform—Using Commerce Cloud, Community Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Sales Cloud and Service Cloud together, Spalding is able to get a true 360-degree view of all its customers no matter the channel. Today, Spalding is delivering a fast customer experience, complete with intelligent shipping alerts, more first-time contact resolution, and the ability to prepare for peak service moments—like the start of basketball season.
  • Driving customer loyalty through CRM—Using Marketing Cloud, Spalding built the Spalding MVP community to improve its customer relationships, further personalize their experiences and engage with them wherever they are. Spalding MVP members receive perks such as access to exclusive product launches like the limited edition 94 Series line, free shipping, the opportunity to review new products and coming soon—rewards.
  • Extending personalization into basketball products—Using Commerce Cloud, Spalding delivered on the basketball community’s demand for personalized product through U Design—a custom basketball creator. U Design allows the basketball community to have their ball laser-engraved with custom text, NBA team logos, and even throwback NBA team logos. Knowing speed of delivery is crucial to the customer experience, U Design custom products are ordered, created and shipped within 1-3 business days making it one of the fastest custom basketball services in the industry. This summer, Spalding is extending U Design to WNBA team logos, and NBA G League team logos.

“Spalding is a truly customer-first brand that has transformed their online shopping experience by putting the customer at the center,” said Mike Micucci, CEO, Commerce Cloud. "The growth and scale that Spalding has experienced with Salesforce is remarkable and we're thrilled to be a part of this journey with them."

About Connections

For the second year in a row, thousands of marketing, commerce and customer service professionals from top brands are coming together in Chicago, Illinois from June 17-19 to blaze new trails in better, smarter customer engagement. Speakers include leaders from Salesforce customers such as ConAgra, e.l.f Cosmetics, The Indiana Pacers and more, as well as partners including DEG, MRM//McCann, Publicis Sapient and Wunderman Thompson. For more information about Salesforce Connections, visit https://www.salesforce.com/connections/ or join the live broadcast at https://www.salesforce.com/live.

About Spalding®

SPALDING® is the largest basketball equipment brand in the world. SPALDING® is the official basketball of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), and the official backboard of the NBA and NCAA Final Four. The SPALDING® trademark is owned by Russell Brands, LLC. For more information, visit www.spalding.com.



Salesforce is the global leader in Customer Relationship Management (CRM), bringing companies closer to their customers in the digital age. Founded in 1999, Salesforce enables companies of every size and industry to take advantage of powerful technologies—cloud, mobile, social, internet of things, artificial intelligence, voice and blockchain—to create a 360° view of their customers. For more information about Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), visit: www.salesforce.com.

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