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City Sports leaps across channels with customer experience


Boston - Shoppers are coming to retailers across a variety of channels and touch-points, and need to have a consistent and personalized experience wherever they are.

Boston-based, 26-store specialty sporting goods chain City Sports is preparing to meet the needs of omnichannel shoppers with help from cloud-based digital marketing platform provider BlueConic,

“We want to build a customer profile and link it across devices,” said Ryan Peters, director of e-commerce at City Sports. “We want to have one view and once voice across all channels.”

City Sports initially rolled out the BlueConic platform in June. Visitors to City Sports’ desktop or mobile website are delivered targeted promotions and messages based on factors such as their IP address and browsing history. This includes prompts to visit nearby stores as well as targeted offers for regionally popular merchandise.

“The biggest reason we personalize the website is to speak to the store customer and drive store traffic,” said Peters.

In stores, associates have access to an iPad app that lets them search online inventory for out-of-stock items, with free next-day delivery. The store is also linked to the digital experience through services such as buy online pickup in store, as well as a new partnership with FedEx that lets customers in the Greater Boston area receive same-day shipping for products bought through the in-store iPad app as well as online.

However, City Sports is not exclusively focused on in-store shoppers. Peters noted that online sales grew 30% in 2014 and are expected to grow 40% in 2015. In addition, mobile traffic and revenue are both increasing at a rate of 50%-60%.

The retailer also targets customers on social media. Focusing its social efforts on the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google Plus platforms, City Sports integrates content from these networks with its e-commerce page using an Olapic solution.

“We serve social photos from users,” explained Peters. “Customers can see a product on an everyday person instead of on a model or a ghost image. We can also run contests to engage customers.”

Once a customer makes a purchase or joins the City Sports loyalty program, the retailer can provide an even more personalized and relevant omnichannel experience. The BlueConic platform analyzes data from existing Google Analytics and CRM systems to collect and analyze information across channels to uncover deeper patterns and customer intents.

City Sports can also determine if an online shopper’s behavior signifies intent to leave the site without making a purchase, allowing the triggering of real-time offers and promotional emails designed to keep the consumer on the site and convert otherwise lost sales.

Looking ahead, Eve Bould, director of marketing of City Sports, said the retailer plans to directly link the customer profiles it builds with the aid of BlueConic to customer loyalty program data by 2016. City Sports also plans to give customers an online look at the in-stock inventory of local stores.

“We want to make sure the customer doesn’t waste time visiting the store,” said Bould.

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