One key to Columbia’s awareness among consumers is its carefully cultivated loyalty to — and from — its retail partners. According to Paul Zaengle, Vice President of Ecommerce, those partnerships were top of mind as Columbia devised its ecommerce strategy.
“Retailers are our lifeblood,” he said, “and we had to be 100% sure that our ecommerce initiative wouldn’t step on their toes and compete with them. For us, ecommerce is primarily about supporting our retail partners’ selling efforts, and only secondarily about direct-to-consumer sales.”
The Columbia team saw opportunity to bolster these partnerships when a report revealed that consumers had ranked manufacturer websites as the number one source for information about the products they buy — more than friends, publications, or advertising. More than half of all buyers research their prospective purchases online before they buy.
With Commerce Cloud, Zaengle and his team could create benefits for Columbia, its partners, and, most importantly, its customers. First, a mobile ecommerce experience was a big win for the brand and for retailers.
“We saw that mobile ecommerce was particularly interesting and attractive to Columbia,” Zaengle said. “As [consumers] stand in the aisles and look at the product alternatives, they want to look at videos, user reviews, prices, and more — right from their mobile devices. It’s about providing just-in-time information to the consumer.”