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Live From the CRMC: Deckers on Lacing Up the Customer Experience

$html.esc($author.firstName) Biank Fasig By Lisa Biank Fasig on June 4, 2015

For the shoe manufacturer Deckers, digital technology meant more than putting the customer at the center of change; it meant good old-fashioned shoe-leather execution.

“Organizations need a strategic plan to meet the expectations of the digital consumer,” said John Kalinich, senior vice president of omni-channel operations and e-commerce at Deckers, maker of Teva, Ugg, Sanuk, Mozo and other footwear brands.

Speaking to attendees at the 2015 Customer Relationship Management Conference in Chicago on June 4, Kalinich detailed how Deckers underwent a wholesale philosophical change to appeal to both its digital and traditional retail shoppers – as well as wholesale and retail partners.

It started about 18 months ago, when Deckers saw traffic at stores was declining but conversions were up. Websites were doing well, and when it combined all retail and wholesale partners, Deckers was performing solidly. And customer expectations were up.

Upon examination, Deckers saw three key customer shifts:

  • The consumer is in control because he is digitally savvy and expects more every day. Technology enables him to decide when, how and where to access a brand.
  • Digital-savviness and technology are creating new locations where shoppers visit. Kalinich visits Starbucks more, for example, because of the convenience of its mobile app.
  • The consumer expects more. Eight-five percent of consumers expect brands to deliver a more engaging experience. Almost 90% expect retailers to leverage technology to find products that are out of stock.

In short, digital technology equals more power, and that will continue to increase in the future. “Those organizations that can learn to quickly transform and use digital will have a competitive advantage,” Kalinich said

At Deckers this meant embarking on changing the organization to inspire and prepare its people. It is now at the point of execution, which Deckers approached across three areas:

  • It changed how it aligns in-store and e-commerce groups, putting these teams under one common leadership, which lead to common goals and meanings. Deckers started talking about the consumer as one consumer.
  • It aligned its project processes. The teams had to learn to work together and find ways to build solutions for retail and e-commerce consumers as if they are one. Infinite Ugg, for example, takes the e-commerce supply chain and enables retail workers to use digital devices to place an order on behalf of a consumer. As a result, Deckers noticed teams began to develop new relationships, from which ideas sprung forth.
  • It changed technology so it could balance e-commerce and retail systems, aligning them with the consumer at the center. So it created a singular view of the consumer. Deckers expects to see benefits of this work later this year when it rolls out a loyalty program.