Inside Wolverine Worldwide’s E-Commerce Replatforming
In an interview yesterday at the Salesforce XChange conference in Las Vegas, Jason Pawlowski, senior director, DTC technology, Wolverine Worldwide, detailed the footwear manufacturer and retailer’s replatforming process on the Salesforce Commerce Cloud.
In 2012, Wolverine Worldwide, already owners of footwear brands such as Merrell, Hush Puppies, Sebago and five other brands, entered into an agreement with Collective Brands to acquire its Performance + Lifestyle Group, which included Stride Rite, Saucony, Keds, and Sperry. At that time, Wolverine was confronted with a decision: continue to operate its websites on its in-house custom platform, or look for a third-party provider’s platform.
“The size of the company essentially doubled overnight, and we were confronted with the question: did we have the right platform?” Pawlowski says. “We knew we weren’t going to manage two platforms at once.”
Wolverine immediately ruled out keeping the Collective Brands’ sites e-commerce platform, ATG Web Commerce, because of the lengthy implementation process. After a RFP period, Wolverine chose Demandware (Salesforce acquired Demandware last year), and its Commerce Cloud platform.
According to Pawlowski, there were two primary reasons Wolverine chose Commerce Cloud: it’s scalability to account for company growth, and the cloud-based platform was a good match for Wolverine’s internal strengths. In fact, Pawlowski noted that the majority of the users of the platform were apparel and footwear businesses, which aligned nicely with Wolverine’s brands.
A Sprint to the Finish
Wolverine first replatformed the four brands it acquired from Collective Brands, finishing that in time for the 2014 holiday season. Then in 2015, it got even more ambitious, replatforming all of the remaining eight brands in just eight months, having them ready for the all-important fourth quarter. Last year was spent stabilizing the platforms, and performing routine maintenance.
When all was said and done, Pawlowski and his team had replatformed roughly 70 sites (factoring in the 12 brands and their international sites) in just 18 months.
“I would put our ability to launch a Demandware site up against anyone in the world,” says Pawlowski. “We learned from implementations, and incorporated those improvements into future ones.”
Wolverine has been extremely happy with its decision to go with Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Pawlowski noted that the retailer enjoyed its best ever holiday season in 2016, and is confident that growth will continue.
“We’ve been very pleased since launching,” notes Pawlowski. “They’ve [Salesforce] delivered on its brand promise. We’ve never had a scalability or performance problem since being on the Demandware platform. And they really get retailers, overindexing with merchandise and analytics features.”
For the remainder of 2017, Wolverine will be integrating some of the platform’s newer features — personalization driven by artificial intelligence, adding Apple Pay to the brands’ desktop sites — as well as improve its use of existing tools.
“Our goal is to improve conversion rate and customer lifetime value, as well as create more demand and capture more of it,” Pawlowski says.
Wolverine is counting on Salesforce Commerce Cloud to be its partner in reaching those goals.