NEW YORK — As an early adopter in the omnichannel world, Steve Madden was ahead of the online game. But as other brands also sought to link their stores with their Web sites, the company found itself in need of a refresh.

This story first appeared in the April 15, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Enter the newly revamped, which puts social commerce front and center and seeks to capitalize on the rapid rise of mobile shopping. The site, which saw its last major overhaul in 2006, is part of a significant digital push for the company, said founder Steve Madden at the company’s headquarters in Long Island City here.

“Overall, the environment got a little tougher, and there’s a lot more competition online,” Madden said. “We needed to do something to relaunch the site. We’ve been doing well for a long time, and were far ahead of our competition. Because we experienced the growth a little bit earlier, it caught up with us.”

Madden said the brand took on an omnichannel posture as early as 2006 when its stores began fulfilling online orders.

“We got growth from that ahead of people,” he said.

But that growth began to wane.

The brand’s e-commerce business topped 20 percent growth in both 2011 and 2012, but this slowed to a mid-single-digit expansion last year.

About 17 percent of Steve Madden’s direct sales come from the brand’s digital flagship, and the company’s chief executive officer, Edward Rosenfeld, is looking to push that up to 25 percent in the next three to five years.

About half of the site’s traffic comes from a smartphone or tablet, up from 25 percent a year ago. Mobile revenues have been trending at a third to 40 percent of total e-commerce sales recently — approximately double the percentage seen in 2013.

On the newly relaunched site, commerce, socially integrated content, editorial and the company’s relaunched SM World blog all reside in one space. Social, an increasingly growing consumer awareness and engagement tool, will also play a larger role on the digital flagship. User-generated Instagram pictures are featured throughout the site through a partnership with Olapic. The three-year-old technology company enables pictures taken by consumers to be culled via hashtag and displayed on a brand’s Web site with links to e-commerce product pages. Steve Madden has 828,000 followers on Instagram, and user-generated content from the photo-sharing platform will not only live on the homepage, but in look books, the Steve Madden World portion of the site and the blog, music and events sections.

Madden said the brand “has its stamp.

“You can tell a Steve Madden shoe, and it’s something we’ve been working hard on for many, many years,” he said. “There’s a few tricks that I have, a few design things we do — they are little technical things, but it’s important. Usually our shoes are recognized. We’re like a gateway drug to Christian Louboutin.”

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