How Sperry is Taking Customization Omni-Channel
Sperry is the creator of the world’s first boat shoe, and since 1935 the brand has inspired venturesome souls with thee promise of sea-based discovery and adventure. Driven by this spirit of adventurism, Sperry recently unveiled an experience where their customers can create their own completely unique pair of custom authentic original boat shoes.
“At the beginning of 2015, we re-launched the Sperry brand and began updating our product collection to focus on targeting a more youthful, adventurous audience that has what we call the ‘intrepid mindset’ that is so relevant to our consumers today,” said Stephanie Brocoum, senior VP of marketing at Sperry. “Our founder Paul Sperry invented the original, iconic boat shoe out of necessity as a tool to help him on his adventures while he was out sailing the world, and offering a customizable version of that shoe links back to that sense of individualism, creativity and adventure while connecting us to our intrepid customers in a whole new way.”
To meet these goals, Sperry partnered with Fluid to create a customization platform that closely reflects their brand DNA while offering their customers the ability to create one of a kind shoes that will meet the challenge of any adventure.
“Today’s consumers expect to be able to collaborate and co-create experiences with their favorite brands, and offering the ability to create a truly unique product together is maybe the ultimate expression of that relationship,” said Stacey Howe, director of eCommerce at Sperry.
When creating their customizable authentic original boat shoes, “Intrepids” can choose from more than 10 colors of leather upper, including colors that are only available from Sperry’s custom line. From there, they can customize their shoes even further with their choice of several thread, eyelet, and outsole colors, and then finish their shoe off with a pop of color from more than 15 lace color options or even a hand-drawn shark tattoo.
“We offer the option of hand drawn tattoos on our A/O shoes, and people are loving it; they can create their own story, while connecting back to that traditional seafarer lore,” Brocoum said. “Sperry hangs their hat on a certain design aesthetic, and we wanted deliver a somewhat guided experience that sets our customers up for success and ends up with them having something really cool and totally unique that everyone can be proud of.”
As customizers play with different elements, they watch their design come to life in real time, visualized in photorealistic quality that includes 3D texture mapping. The use of such imagery was critical as customers can see and know exactly what they’re getting, which consequently prevents unwanted returns.
All of these features were part of Sperry’s focus on making sure that their customization platform is robust, beautiful and available anywhere on both desktop and mobile. Built on Fluid’s Configure 3.0 software, which also powers customization for other brands in the Wolverine Worldwide family including Chaco and Keds, Sperry’s experience offers a huge degree of creativity and flexibility as well as scalability and stability.
“Having solid technology behind our customization offerings was essential; we needed a platform to create compelling, fantastic experiences on both desktop and mobile, and these experiences had to reflect our brand’s DNA,” said Adrian Stevens, VP of global eCommerce at Wolverine Worldwide. “In the end, it’s all about giving people a reason to shop our sites. Offering a unique, compelling experience like customization is essential for brand survival in today’s market, and it’s so critical to have synergy between the brand’s story and the ecommerce experience.”
Sperry is the second brand from Wolverine Worldwide to go live with Fluid Configure on the Demandware Commerce platform. Offering custom products enables Sperry to facilitate a direct-to-consumer connection, bringing significant eCommerce revenue back in house.
“We’ve seen strong initial response to our custom products,” Howe said. “Before the program launched, leadership took a bet on how many pairs would be sold in the first 30 days, and at the end of that period sales had exceeded nearly everyone’s estimates.”
With their online customization initiative already proving a success, Sperry has now has plans in place to bring customization omnichannel beginning with an in-store experience.
“Custom products are a core part of our strategy going forward, and our intent is to dedicate an area of our flagship stores to an experience that will feature both raw materials and finished shoes to provide a lot of inspiration for custom designs and allow us to showcase new and emerging styles and trends,” said Brocoum. “We draw a lot of inspiration from our Intrepids, so we will also curate and celebrate their style, experiences and custom creations both in-store and in our social gallery.”