Good shoes take you to good places: An international expansion in 3 steps

Piotr Sadlo / October 2020

How far will people go for the perfect pair of kicks? If we look at Google Trends data from the last five years, the answer is that it travels all over the world. People are searching online more and more in recent years to get their sneakers fixed, from “Dad sneakers” and “chunky sneakers” to brands such as adidas and Nike.

And in unprecedented times, when consumer habits change abruptly, the demand for online shopping has surged, which includes a continued appetite for sporty footwear. 56% of European consumers say they bought three or more products online at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Searches for “sneakers” rise steadily

Good shoes take you good places: An international expansion in 3 steps

For online retailers like SneakerStudio, this shift in shopping habits was both an opportunity and a challenge. Demand can cross borders but tapping into an ever-expanding global audience also means reaching buyers across markets, across languages, and across consumer journeys with relevant messaging.

Now that we’ve established a very good relationship between our e-commerce specialists and theirs, I would describe it as something stronger — a partnership

Looking to grow their business, increase ROI, and boost brand awareness, SneakerStudio turned to technology-driven agency Promotraffic. To understand which markets made most sense for them to tap into, the agency began an analysis using a wide array of tools, training, and solutions. With Market Finder, the team could identify which relevant markets to pursue next and their potential revenue.

“We’ve been working with Promotraffic since the beginning of e-commerce development,” says Kamil Bobka, CEO at SneakerStudio. “That’s why we are constantly developing our e-commerce and marketing departments to work closely with the team of e-commerce specialists at the agency. I can confidently say that we are the partners in the process of building our business.”

By building a rapport with their agency, the online retailer could create a well-rounded marketing strategy catered to their business.

“The biggest challenge for SneakerStudio advertising campaigns was to build optimal marketing strategy that would ensure high advertising profitability in a highly competitive footwear industry. Constant experimenting and implementation of machine learning solutions worked not only in the past but also helped during difficult times of COVID-19” - says Krystian Kucharski, Vice President PromoTraffic.

Step 1: Ranking in Search for relevant keywords

After identifying the right markets, Promotraffic made sure that SneakerStudio would be among the first in Search results. The agency launched several Search campaigns to bring the online retailer front and centre. With Network campaigns, the agency used the Keyword tool to connect the keywords and phrases they had identified with brands, collections, and catalogue numbers.

In addition to heightened brand awareness, this ease of search enhances the customer experience and makes them more likely to buy

This means that when customers search for exact models or catalogue numbers of shoes, SneakerStudio is one of the first products in the search results. In addition to heightened brand awareness, this ease of search enhances the customer experience and makes them more likely to buy.

Step 2: Working with smart tools to build a forward-thinking strategy

To effectively develop SneakerStudio, Promotraffic used a range of tools, including Whoop!, Supermetrics, and Reporting Ninja.

These tools use marketing automation and machine learning to simplify previously manual, time-intensive research and optimisation tasks through smart features such as automated bids and data visualisations. Leveraging automation allows the retailer’s marketing team to focus less on crunching numbers and fixing assets, and spend more time on developing a strong forward-thinking strategy.

One of the most exciting examples of this was the implementation of Smart Shopping Campaigns. Using Feedink, which is a feed management tool for the online stores, Promotraffic optimised the images for Google and other platforms, which helped the brand to stand out even more from the competition.

Step 3: Scaling up to double revenue in 1 year

The strategy proved to be extremely effective. SneakerStudio scaled up the business, with the total revenue from all channels and markets more than doubling from 2018 to 2019.

The return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) was also impressive with ROAS from the Google Ad campaigns increasing from 656% in 2018 to 1025% in 2019.

Good shoes take you good places: An international expansion in 3 steps

A strong foundation for turbulent times

Where some businesses struggled to keep afloat during the global pandemic, SneakerStudio rose above and beyond. Using learnings from their 2019 strategy, the teams took into consideration what could be done better, more efficiently, or what actions they still needed to take in such turbulent times.

As the uncertainty around COVID-19 continues to make a lasting impact on businesses, it’s important to keep consumers’ ever-changing behaviours top of mind

The organisational structure was reassessed for the new reality and employees took on new roles.

While operating in several markets, the online retailer knew it was important to see where — and how — the pandemic was affecting those locales so they could scale their Google Ads budget accordingly. In doing so, they were able to double down on ad spend, something they had originally decreased at the start of the pandemic.

As the uncertainty around COVID-19 continues to make a lasting impact on businesses, it’s important to keep consumers’ ever-changing behaviours top of mind. Retailers can plan and respond to these changes by using the latest insights in our 2020 Retail Guide.

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