After some soul-searching of its 163-year-old brand along with data analysis, which showed its core customer had an average age of over 70, Orvis decided it needed a digital makeover.
The goal was to create an integrated platform that created an improved shopping experience — online and in physical stores. Orvis turned to Adobe for its cloud-based platforms, and then implemented a digital convergence strategy that put the consumer dead center in the business plan. Since onboarding a new suite of platforms, Orvis is seeing improved efficiencies and higher conversions, and more satisfied shoppers.
Paul Vaughn, director of user experience at Orvis, said in an Adobe case study that if the company stayed with its history “of primarily offering products through a direct mail catalogue, we would quickly become irrelevant.”
“It sounds extreme, but we have a lot of competitors who see us as their prime target for stealing market share,” he said, adding that since implementing the Adobe solutions 18 months ago, the brand had to also reconfigure itself, organizationally, to align with the technological capabilities. Orvis was founded in Manchester, Vt., and offers outdoor apparel for men and women as well as fly fishing tackle, accessories, hunting clothing and gear, and accessories for dog lovers.
“We started by changing our product development,” Vaughn told WWD. “And lockstep with that we changed our marketing. We realized as a marketer that we were not taking advantage of the many different ways available to us to reach where our customers are.” Orvis’ overall e-commerce game needed a facelift, too, which the company is in the process of upgrading.
“We understood that our customers were interacting with us in lots of places,” Vaughn explained. “We have 70-plus retail stores, but we had an aging web site, which was about 21 years old. If you touched it you got tetanus, because it was very rusty and brittle. We’re going through that replatform right now with Adobe as our CMS of choice.”
“One big step was [for Orvis] to create consistency across the catalogue, web site and retail stores by aligning messaging, photography and product campaigns — and storing everything in a digital asset management system with Adobe Experience Manager Assets,” Adobe said in the case study. “Orvis then took it several steps further.”
The outdoor lifestyle brand combined elements of creative and marketing as well as IT and built an “integrated team,” which Orvis said all report to Dave Finnegan, Orvis’ chief experience officer. “Every conversation now takes a much broader view spanning web site, e-mail, technology and retail stores,” Vaughn said in the case study. “It’s exciting to watch the walls between groups crumble. Every silo gone, and we’re synchronizing every movement.”
Regarding the specific products being deployed, Orvis is using several platforms under the Adobe Experience Cloud suite, including Adobe Experience Manager, Adobe Analytics and Adobe Target. Collectively, the solutions are improving the shopping experience by making it more personalized and relevant, “meeting their expectations,” Vaughn noted while adding that newer — and younger — shoppers are being drawn to the brand.
The past year and a half wasn’t a cakewalk. Vaughn noted there were several pain points along the way. He acknowledged that transforming a heritage brand requires resetting traditional mindsets.
“I would call us kind of a big small company. We’re not massive, we can’t throw endless resources at each problem, and so the pain points really were adapting processes all the way up to the way we plan, and buy product, and inventory, adjusting all the way through the actual tools that we’re using.”