Everyone knows the feeling when you hear that one song or wear that one outfit that makes you feel on top of the world. Famous Footwear, the multi-brand shoe retailer, has set out to become that one brand that makes their customers feel they can walk with confidence by redefining how its product is more than just shoes – it’s an experience.

Dan Cornwell, Director of eCommerce & Digital Experience at Famous Footwear, shared his organization’s customer case study during a Sitecore Symposium 2020 breakout session, revealing how they re-platformed their organization and transformed their digital experience from functional and transactional to emotional and engaging.

He was joined by Joe Koletar, Managing Principal at RBA, a Sitecore Platinum Partner, who has been working directly with Famous Footwear and its parent company, Caleres, to meet their business, technology, and organizational goals to make everyone feel “famous”.

Here are the highlights from their “Making e-commerce famous” session.

Setting a path for the next 10 years

Famous Footwear is part of parent company Caleres, a $3 billion retail conglomerate with several independent shoe retailors in addition to Famous Footwear. Each brand operates a direct-to-consumer website, driving a large part of the revenue stream. Caleres also operates 1,200 stores that enable customer to buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS).

“We have a lot of websites and a lot of needs for various brands to come to life,” Cornwell said.

The Sitecore implementation involved 13 websites, including Famous.com. It needed to support nearly 400,000 different types of items that can be ordered, while also supporting a daily average of 1,000 purchases per hour. And during high volume seasons, the purchase rate increases to about 5,000 per hour or two orders per second.

The overall goal with the digital transformation was to update the outdated Caleres commerce platform with the intent to position the organization for success over the next 10 years, Koletar explained. The partnership consisting of Caleres, Sitecore, RBA, and Coveo, a business intelligence search engine, joined forces on a transformation journey that’s been taking place over the last two years.

Going beyond technology to create the experience

The Famous.com transformation includes a new commerce solution at its core, but also has been driving a rebrand to elevate the web experience.

Prior to its digital transformation, the Famous Footwear brand was somewhat undifferentiated, selling the same shoes that consumers could buy anywhere else and engaging mainly on a transactional level, Cornwell explained.

“It’s not just enough to redo your website,” Cornwell said. “In the middle of this project, you also need to be repositioning your brand. And that had a lot of implications to the site itself.”

As part of their new web experience, they baked in their new positioning.

Ramping up to the Famous.com launch, the team unveiled the first new websites in October 2019, starting with sites that originally had less functionality and less traffic. The intention was to validate that the solution could handle the traffic load and everything performed as expected. The organization has progressively added more and more websites to the platform, with Famous.com next on the list.

The technology involved in the transformation:

  • Sitecore Experience Platform™ and Sitecore Experience Commerce® enables Caleres to have all its websites on a single platform, empowers the business to customize without going to the development team every time, and offers the ability to implement functionality that’s unique to the organization.
  • Microsoft Azure Cloud allows for normal traffic and increased demand and the flexibility to add services that allow for a world-class PGI compliant, e-commerce platform that’s secure.
  • Coveo provides Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SXA) integration and enables personalization and machine learning that increased sales and the overall success of the site.

Early wins, expected larger success

As of Sitecore Symposium 2020 when Cornwell and Koletar led their presentation, Caleres had launched 10 out of 13 planned websites on the new platform with the remaining three based in the U.S. and Canada.

“We’re really on a path to become more than just a place to buy shoes,” Cornwell shared.

Based on the performance of previous website launches, Famous.com is expecting double-digit conversion increase.

The organization has better functionality to put more focus on the brand’s customer experience with features including built-in personalization, built-in A/B testing, and data-driven operations and optimization of the website.

And from a business empowerment standpoint, the internal teams now have the tools they need to control updates to a website without needing to work with the development team to implement everything.

“We’ve come a long way in the maturity of the website and the way of looking at them,” Cornwell shared. “We’re really excited to get our hands into the Sitecore optimization world for Famous.com.”

The “Making e-commerce famous” session is part of the 100+ Symposium 2020 breakout sessions available to watch on demand. To view the full session, register today.

Monica Lara is the Content Marketing Manager at Sitecore. Find her on LinkedIn and Twitter.