CSA Q&A: Crocs adjusts customer experience amid COVID-19

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CSA Q&A: Crocs adjusts customer experience amid COVID-19

By Dan Berthiaume - 10/12/2020

A specialty footwear brand is connecting customers to its products via digital and social commerce tools.

Michael Feliton, senior VP and CIO of Crocs, spoke with Chain Store Age about how the company is leveraging omnichannel technology to keep up with rapidly changing customer shopping habits, product preferences and communication needs.

How did Crocs navigate a significant shift to online sales as a result of the pandemic? 
Even before COVID-19 disrupted the retail industry around the world, Crocs had strategically prioritized a digital-led route to market as a key pillar for global growth. Between Crocs.com, third-party marketplaces and various global e-tailers, we felt more confident than ever in our efforts to reach our consumers as shopping patterns swiftly shifted online. In fact, digital represented 56% of total Q2 2020 revenue, as compared to 32.6% during a more normalized Q2 2019.
 
From an owned channel perspective, however, we knew we needed to make it incredibly simple for customers to search for, view and purchase our products online in a user-friendly way. We saw an uptick in demand for some of our products and needed to ensure that our financial systems on the backend could handle the load. 

We partnered with SAP and worked with the team to ensure our SAP ERP system could effectively manage and track all sales so that we could continue to delight our customers while delivering a seamless experience.
 
How will Crocs scale its omnichannel offerings for what could be an unpredictable holiday season? 
Our performance over recent years demonstrates the strength of the Crocs brand and underscores the important work we’ve done to expand the desirability, relevance and consideration of Crocs and our product offering globally. We’ve also taken steps to ensure a consistent brand presence and experience across e-commerce, retail and wholesale channels, which is perhaps more important now than ever before.

With the right infrastructure in place to meet demand, we’re eager to serve our customers during a busy, albeit unique, holiday shopping season.”
 
What are Crocs’ plans for growing its customer based post-pandemic? 
Crocs entered the pandemic with incredible brand momentum, and we are emerging even stronger, not only from a business standpoint, but also related to doing the right thing and providing help where we believe it is needed.
 
For example, we initiated our ‘Free Pair for Healthcare’ donation program, that delivered more than 860,000 pairs of Crocs to our frontline healthcare heroes around the world in just 45 days. As a result of the program, we generated more than 29 million new visits to crocs.com. Although recognition certainly wasn’t our M.O., we saw what we knew all along: Doing the right thing is also the right thing for Crocs.

As we look ahead to Q4 2020 and 2021, we’ll continue to innovate and grow clog relevance, while prioritizing personalization through our Jibbitz custom charms and sandals as significant long-term growth opportunities. We’ll also rely on powerful social and digital marketing through our global ‘Come As You Are’ campaign, social influencers and unexpected collaborations, in addition to fine-tuning our digital-led route to market.
 
What is Crocs’ CRM/marketing strategy for reaching valuable Gen Z consumers? 
People are seeing and embracing what we have known all along – that Crocs is a democratic brand that serves as an ideal canvas for self-expression. This resonates with – and is driven by – younger consumers, like Gen Z, that command more purchasing power year after year. In fact, Crocs jumped from number 13 to a number seven ranking in Piper Jaffray’s “Taking Stock with Teens” survey last fall.
 
We think this is due, in large part, to the fact that our iconic product gives this valuable generation the opportunity to express their unique personalities in a way that helps them always feel comfortable in their own shoes.