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City Beach, one of Australia’s largest surf, skate and lifestyle fashion retailers, has launched a new online store. The new site promises to "deliver an interactive experience that reflects the surf and skate lifestyle including the latest YouTube videos, celebrity blogs and industry news".
Known for its in-store entertainment, City Beach has 57 stores throughout Australia and is home to iconic brands such as Billabong, etnies, Roxy and Ripcurl. E-commerce in Australia is in its infancy with the retail industry having largely been driven by physical location. City Beach is finding that its best location is online where it is able to extend its reach to new customers and markets.
City Beach has transformed its small web presence and is now able to more effectively leverage the growing influence of online social networks bringing brand and product discussions back to its site and converting them into transactions.
Through its content-rich site, City Beach's customers are able to view surf and skate products in action with online video demonstrations. Based on performance, customers are able to develop a list of their favourite products and share them with family and friends and link to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
“City Beach's customers are avid users of social media tools and want to converse wherever, whenever and with whomever they choose,” said Chris Somerville, CMO at City Beach. “Through social networks and affinity sites we are able to build relationships with our customers that allows us to gain their valuable feedback on future product offerings and marketing strategies to deliver a more personalised and relevant shopping experience.”
The retail industry is becoming increasing fragmented and competitive as consumers traverse across multiple channels – researching products online, visiting the store and making purchases through the call centre – making it difficult for retailers to track shopping habits. By aligning the in-store and online shopping experience, City Beach is able to leverage its online presence to drive in-store traffic. The site’s ‘Gig Guide’ includes store events, entertainment and celebrity visits.
“The Websphere eCommerce integration project, powered by IBM e-commerce software, is core to the significant infrastructure changes we are making to support our business. In just 100 days, we launched a new customer call centre, opened an in-house photography and art studio, a new e-store within our warehouse and upgraded our telephony system. These facilities are critical to provide a truly personalised shopping experience.”