Asics preps first ever e-commerce push
Japanese sportswear business Asics is preparing to launch its first global e-commerce platform as part of a wider push to boost sales from its digital channels.
The platform launches during the first half of 2013 and lets visitors purchase from the brand’s running shoes and lifestyle collections.
The move marks a shift in strategy for the business, which has traditionally sold all its products online through retailers such as Amazon, eBay and Next.
Asics is looking to rivals such as Reebok and New Balance, which own branded e-commerce portals, but claims its platform’s combination of functional and data capture opportunities will take its retail activity to “the next level.”
The e-commerce drive, which is being developed in partnership with agencies Amaze, Neoworks and Hybris, is part of a broader strategy from the business to generate more sales from its online activty. Last year, it launched a programme to link its existing My Asics community members to the user-generated content they post on Facebook in a bid to drive sales from its brand advocates.
Asics’ push looks to build on the brand’s sales, which have been rising over the last 12 months. It reported sales of 128bn yen (973.7m) for the year to September 30, a 2.2 per cent increase on the previous year. The company said the growth was driven by sales outside its home market of Japan, which increased 3.1 per cent during the same period to 86bn yen (£654.8m).
The e-commerce portal will be merged into the company’s current site to offer what it claims will be an “end to end solution” for consumers searching for its products online.
Asics is planning to bolster its retail footprint in the UK to raise awareness for e business after admitting that brand perception levels in the UK are worse than they are in places like Germany and the Netherlands.
The brand says it will ramp up its brand building activity globally next year after cutting the amount of marketing it did during the Games, particularly in the UK, over concerns that branding would become lost among the other sports-themed campaigns.
Brands are increasingly looking at ways to convert search results into direct sales. Kellogg’s is launching a virtual store in partnership with all the main UK supermarkets to convert a greater number of customers looking for product information into purchases.