Christy Sports amps up digital customer experiences in three months.

 

June 2021

4 min read

 

Skiers and snowboarders are known for taking things to the next level — and not just on the hill. They’re also very digitally engaged, sharing their passion for the outdoors, snow, the latest gear, and fresh tracks. With that said, few brick-and-mortar ski shops have been able to create engaging digital experiences for such a savvy community.

Christy Sports is determined to change that. Headquartered in Lakewood, Colorado, the company is one of the largest winter sports specialty retailers in the United States. While historically known for its five-star in-store service, the business has had somewhat of a disconnected digital platform. This left its customers wanting more and created a less than ideal experience for online customer journeys compared to those that occurred in the store.

To better engage with customers online, Christy Sports started on a journey with Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Salesforce Order Management, and MuleSoft to allow the business to better connect online and in-store customer journeys. This would enable a seamless five-star experience regardless of location, device, and purpose for visiting. And Christy Sports met its initial goal of launching christysports.com on this new platform in only 81 days. Read on to see how.

"We’re incredible storytellers one-on-one, physically in front of a customer. The best. But we were at the exact opposite end of the spectrum when it came to telling our story digitally."

 
Harvey Bierman
CDO, Christy Sports

Don’t be afraid to pivot.

As the Chief Digital Office of Christy Sports, Harvey Bierman created an 18-month roadmap for developing and accelerating the company’s ecommerce and digital marketing efforts. The plan started with improving Christy Sports' digital experience to match its in-store experience, optimizing the team, streamlining processes, and pivoting the tech stack — in that order.

Between the COVID-19 pandemic and other unanticipated technology barriers, the team needed a trusted, scalable, and enterprise-level technology partner to enable the digital transformation at the speed COVID required. While people and process optimization continued, technology became the most time-sensitive priority.

Christy Sports, in partnership with Red Van Workshop, deployed Salesforce Commerce Cloud as a scalable software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery model. This helped the company build a robust customer engagement system and enabled it to embrace continued agile and transformative customer journeys. The platform also had the integrated order management layer Christy Sports needed to replace its manual online order fulfillment process. MuleSoft helped connect this new digital platform to its back-end and third-party systems.

“Commerce Cloud, Order Management, and MuleSoft allowed us to tackle a lot of really complicated things simplistically so that we could set that foundation, do it quickly, and then start leaning in on the people and process.”

Skill up your powerhouse team.

With Christy Sports’ technology stabilizing its platform and automating its processes, Bierman turned to his high-performing team. He planned out what competencies the business would need staff-wise in the next 18–24 months. He then investigated whether they already existed within the company, could be hired in, or would have to be outsourced.

Wherever possible, Christy Sports is bringing key competencies in-house. One of the primary focus areas has been to improve the company’s digital narrative. Through new hires and retraining of tenured team members, the business has brought to life customer journeys that better represent the service and expertise the business is known for in its stores.

Prioritize your digital experience.

With the team plan in place, Bierman focused on improving the user experience. As a result, Christy Sports consolidated four of the company’s five websites into a single site. It also gained a data-driven view of each website visitor to ultimately inform customer journeys. This increased customer satisfaction, which drove more personalized experiences that led to an immediate double-digit increase in conversion rates.

“At the end of the day, nothing sets you up for success better than offering a really great experience on the web.”

This consolidation was a big part of creating the unified customer journey.

“There are all sorts of journeys that we’re focused on getting to, and then using digital communication, push marketing, the website, personalization, social media, and email and SMS to shepherd the consumer through a journey that’s somewhat unique to them,” Bierman said.

Focus on just a few use cases at a time.

As Bierman originally considered how to accelerate growth in the business, he realized he had to take a phased approach. As a result, he settled on the urgency to deploy the new ecommerce platform. The longer the company relied on its homegrown technology stack for delivering web experiences, the longer it would take to achieve its goals. With help from Salesforce partner Red Van Workshop, he deployed Commerce Cloud and Order Management in less than three months.

“When going through this digital transformation, you can’t try to solve for every use case. Trying to do that will just paralyze action. Solve for the use cases that drive the business, and then have confidence in the team and the process to stay agile and keep innovating. Really lean in and challenge yourself, your team, and your organization to find the smallest set of requirements to attack, attack them with confidence, and iterate.”

About the Author

 
John Cardaris
Product Marketing Manager
 

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