L2’s Digital IQ Index: Sportswear examines the digital competence of 59 Sportswear brands in the U.S. market. Analyzing over 850 data-points across site, e-commerce, social media and mobile & tablet, the study highlights brands that are thriving and struggling as Sportswear consumers become increasingly influenced by digital.
As Sportswear brands exert greater influence beyond the gym, they continue to attract new competitors. H&M introduced a sports collection in January 2014, following similar moves by Fashion peers pursuing new pockets of growth. In response, select Sportswear brands – traditionally defined by a lightweight retail footprint and narrow margins – are reassessing digital investments. Here are the 10 most innovative Sportswear brands:
Digital IQ: 149
NikeiD is the gold standard of product customization, with free days up to 30 days after the shipment date. Nike+ Training Club app, which targets women, boasts over 17 milion members. Nike also runs an effective video campaign. Short films “Winner stays” and “The Last Game” received over 105 million and 76 million views respectively, helping drive a 21% increase in revenues for the soccer division as part of the “Risk Everything” campaign.
2. The North Face
Digital IQ: 145
The North Face sets the standard for CRM. The VIPeak rewards program allows users to earn cash-back credit and redeem points for destination adventures. Email marketing efforts incorporate content from featured athletes, adding variation to product promotions and seasonal offers. The North Face regularly uses competitions to solicit user-generated content across social media channels. The “Park & Pipe Open Series” (PPOS) microsite encourages users to join the competition and upload videos of their top tricks.
Digital IQ: 145
Adidas plans to expand sponsorship of U.S. athletes in 2015, in an attempt to “Americanize” the brand. Adidas excels at integrating sponsored athlete content and commerce throughout its email marketing efforts. Adidas’ “The Dream” video featuring soccer superstar Lionel Messi scored over 39 million views. New mobile app “Confirmed” allows consumers who respond first to reserve limited-edition sneakers and apparel, including Kanye West’s “Yeezy Boost.”
4. L.L. Bean
Digital IQ: 143
With aggressive paid search optimization, L.L.Bean has gained control over 50% of organic real estate. The brand is also identified as one of the most aggressive advertisers in the Index. L.L.Bean is one of few Sportswear brands to allow users to check in-store availability and reserve items across desktop and mobile devices.
Digital IQ: 139
Vans seamlessly integrates content and commerce throughout recently relaunched site. The new landing page eliminates text-heavy “stories,” emphasizes user-generated #VANS content sourced from Instagram and Twitter, highlights live chat functionality, and anchors a persistent map of nearby stores based on a visitor’s IP address.
Digital IQ: 138
In addition to dominating search visibility search visbility across brand and non-brand search terms, REI has a model membership program with emails customized based on browsing history. It is one of 8 brands that enable in-store inventory checks from mobile or desktop.
7. Under Armour
Digital IQ: 130
Under Armour has acquired its way to the largest community of health and fitness users. Its recent acquisition of Endomondo and MyFitnessPal established 120 million users. In addition, Under Armour has quickly leveraged the technical capabilities it gained from acquiring popular fitness mobile app developer MapMyFitness in November 2013 to launch its own app platform called Under Armour Record, which combines a powerful new mobile app with an integrated companion website of the same name.
8. New Balance
Digital IQ: 127
New Balance’s #HKNB campaign and collection collaboration with brand ambassador Heidi Klum raises its profile on Twitter. Seamless checkout, prompt trigger emails following abandoned cart sessions are among the brand’s advanced site and CRM features.
Digital IQ: 123
The recently-launched Lululemon mobile app offers fast and easy m-commerce. Lululemon also does well in search, owning 80 percent of Google organic search real estate on brand terms. The brand leverages user-generated content as one of five brands who place UGC photos on product profiles.
Digital IQ: 122
The Worn Wear campaign (celebrating clothing longevity and repairing of wear and tear) continues to grow, encouraging users to share photos and stories behind their favorite Patagonia gear. In addition to hosting the campaign, Patagonia’s brand site provides one of the fastest, most responsive experiences in L2’s Sportswear Index.
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