Steven Madden Ltd. has made progress in making its new omnichannel Web platform conform to its objectives of being “everywhere, easy, instant, informed and communal,” but it hasn’t quite cracked the code for optimizing Instagram engagement.
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In his presentation, “Stepping It Up — Omnichannel Selling Fulfills Our Customers’ Expectations,” Mark Friedman, president of e-commerce at the Long Island City, N.Y.-based footwear and accessories firm, detailed how its new Web platform, launched in March, had brought it closer to its objective of securing a seamlessly integrated omnichannel shopping experience despite what he described as the “normal challenges of migration.”
About two-thirds of Madden’s $1.31 billion in 2013 net sales come from wholesale with the rest generated by its more than 120 stores and e-commerce. While the new platform currently houses only Steve Madden, the e-commerce sites of its other brands — Betsey Johnson, Brian Atwood and Dolce Vita — will be placed on it in the months ahead.
In the interim, Madden likes what it’s getting from the new platform, which adds functionality including the ability for customers to learn the availability of merchandise they want in individual stores.
“We have started to see on the new platform improvement in conversion, improvements in our average order,” Friedman said. “We also felt that with a higher conversion rate and higher average order and greater dollars per visit, that would allow us to invest more heavily in marketing, and we’re seeing that as well.”
Friedman sees room for improvement, including boosting the speed of the shopping experience for users of smartphones and tablets, especially when traffic from mobile devices peaks at close to 60 percent on Sundays.
The revised site also adapts to the viewing and buying history of the user to a greater extent than its predecessor, promoting various types of content and personalizing product recommendations. And it establishes a greater degree of connectivity with social media than the earlier site was capable of orchestrating.
While modifications have helped interconnectivity with Facebook, the Madden executive isn’t satisfied with the return it’s received on its investment in Instagram connectivity, saying that engagement six months after the relaunch isn’t as high as he would like.
“But for those people who do engage, the conversion rate of those folks is much, much higher than those who don’t engage with it,” he said, noting the propensity of Instagram users to be particularly enthusiastic in their use of the network. He confessed to being surprised at the energy users exert.
“It’s not as simple as just taking a selfie of your feet,” he said. “They style it head to toe and they put it up there and we are now leveraging it.”
Instagram posts are featured at the bottom of about 40 percent of the Madden site’s pages, Friedman reported.