HERO® Kicks Off Humans of Commerce With Kasie Heathcote, GM Digital, Accent Group

Humans of Commerce, HERO®’s new monthly virtual event series featuring the people shaping the new world of retail, fashion, and commerce, kicked off with Kasie Heathcote, GM Digital, Accent Group on Thursday, October 8.

At the height of the lockdown when all of its locations were closed, the Australian powerhouse, which owns Skechers, The Athlete’s Foot, Platypus, and Hype, partnered with Hero to bring its in-store experience to customers online. Through virtual shopping, Accent Group saw its online sales deliver 5x the level of conversion compared to online sales without Hero, with an average order value increase of +20%.

Additionally, Accent Group immediately ramped up its online operations, using certain locations as “dark” stores to fulfill online orders for its 18 e-commerce sites, resulting in a 50% increase in online sales year-over-year from 2019 and an incredible 150% increase in online sales from April to June.

Leveraging a perfectly timed expansion of 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.

To learn more about how Accent Group pivoted to digital to defy sales expectations, Hero Founder Adam Levene spoke with Heathcote as part of the first installment of Humans of Commerce.

Revisit the conversation and check out four key insights below:

1. Store teams stay working with virtual shopping. Accent Group was able to keep staff on payroll when brick-and-mortar locations were shut by moving store teams online. The Australian giant even extended working hours to coincide with when online customers are most active. Once it was deemed safe to do so, store teams were 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,” observes Heathcote.

2. Educating the customer and training store teams pays off. Accent Group educated customers about the benefits of virtual shopping across its promotional assets, placing the value proposition of the experience front of mind. Says Heathcote, “We started asking customers, ‘would you like a virtual fit?’ and almost every time the answer was ‘yes.’”

Store teams and store managers received a different kind of training, learning about how the commission structure remains the same as it does in-store, keeping every level of the business highly motivated.

The result? Nearly a million dollars worth of sales across the group through the virtual shopping experience, with conversion rates hitting 20% for certain brands.

3. Online shopping tools create a point of difference. Brands and retailers are always looking to create a point of difference between themselves and their competition. With Hero, Accent Group was able to build a protective mechanism around itself, positioning its brands as first-in-market to offer the in-store experience from home.

“It’s really about that customer experience and bringing the power of online and in-store together,” says Heathcote.

4. Digital is about more than just driving sales. Although Accent Group’s digital sales have soared from 2% to 25% during the time Heathcote has been with the company, Heathcote maintains that digital is just one aspect of a true omnichannel approach, serving the total business beyond the immediate fiscal impact it has.

Explains Heathcote, “More and more retail and digital are connected. We used to talk about digital marketing serving digital channels but now digital marketing serves stores, and now we have omnichannel measurement frameworks. We approach this challenge in so many different ways—Hero is one of them.”

The next installment of Humans of Commerce is set for November. Keep up to date with HERO® on LinkedIn.

About HERO®

HERO® is the #1 virtual shopping app for stores, powering Nike, Levi’s, Deciem, rag & bone, UNTUCKit and more. Our technology makes it effortless to text, chat and video call with customers; growing ecommerce sales while converting online visitors into offline customers.

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