Accent Group Partners With HERO® to Bring Virtual Shopping to Its Global Brands

Accent Group is Australia’s largest retailer and distributor of performance and lifestyle footwear with over 500+ stores including Skechers, Hype DC, Platypus, and The Athlete’s Foot.

The Athlete’s Foot alone operates over 130 stores across Australia and New Zealand, while Hype DC carries the exclusive and limited edition footwear sneakerheads line up for every week, whether in-store or online. Other brands operated by Accent Group in the region include Vans, Timberland, Merrell, CAT, Dr. Martens, Sperry, and Saucony, delivering a unique presence across the retail sector and ensuring a diverse range of products for all customers.

Beyond its brick-and-mortar locations, Accent Group operates 20 online platforms, all of which share a common theme: a commitment to people as the company’s biggest asset. This mindset sets the tone for everything Accent Group does, from the experience it offers customers to the content it shares on social media.

With Hero, store teams across Accent Group’s portfolio are bringing this experience and their product expertise from the showroom floor into the homes of online shoppers for the first time.

“When we closed our stores to the public, with Hero we were able to keep our team employed and working, while fulfilling online orders.”

Kasie Heathcote, GM Digital, Accent Group

The In-Store Experience, Virtually

Through text, chat, and video, product experts help customers find the exact silhouette they’re looking for, answering questions about colorway, size, and fit along the way. Additional in-store features include endless aisle and easy visibility of omnichannel stock, allowing associates to search and sell the entire range of online items to customers, not just products available in-store.

“We started asking customers, ‘would you like a virtual fit?’ and almost every time the answer was ‘yes,’” says Kasie Heathcote, GM Digital, Accent Group.

Store teams also have the ability to add customers to their contacts list, keeping the conversation going via text and email long after the first transaction. Accent Group leverages this feature to update shoppers on new drops, restock information, and answer any future questions.

Taken together, the power of virtual shopping is delivering remarkable results. Online sales through Hero have seen 5x the level of conversion compared to online sales without Hero, with an average order value increase of 20%.

Stores Go “Dark,” While Employees Stay on Payroll Throughout the Lockdown

At the height of the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 when all of its locations were closed, Accent Group immediately ramped up its online operations, using certain locations as “dark” stores to fulfill online orders for its 18 ecommerce sites. The result? A 50% increase in online sales year-over-year from 2019 and an incredible 150% increase in online sales from April to June 2020.

At the same time, the Australian giant was able to keep staff on payroll by moving store teams online, extending working hours to coincide with when online customers are most active. Store teams were even tapped for click-and-dispatch orders from locations converted into “dark” stores, offering contactless click-and-collect orders once customers were allowed back in-store.

“When we closed our stores to the public, with Hero we were able to keep our team employed and working, while fulfilling online orders,” adds Kasie.

Expanding digital and making virtual shopping part of its everyday operations, Accent Group’s online sales went from $250k a day in early March to as much as $1.1 million a day during the last two weeks of April with a peak of $2 million during Click Frenzy.