September 3, 2013, 12:44 PM

How Skullcandy tunes into online shoppers’ preferences

With Adobe Marketing Cloud, it learns the whims of youthful buyers like snowboarders.

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Skullcandy sells headphones for sports, gaming and music in brands “driven by the creativity and irreverence of youth culture,” the brand manufacturer and online retailer says. Since its launch in 2003, it has navigated a market of ongoing change in both product technology and customer base, says Ben Meacham, whose job it is to stay on top of the whims of customers as manager of web analytics and multivariate testing.

The company, which does most of its business in wholesale sales to retailers of products like snowboards, skateboards and online gaming devices, has been increasing direct online sales to consumers since launching an e-commerce site at Skullcandy.com and two sister sites for Europe two years ago. Those sites now represent about 10% of sales, Meacham says. The company doesn’t break out Internet retail sales, but reported total worldwide sales last year of $297.7 million.

To help better understand its customers’ interests and shopping behaviors and grow online sales, Skullcandy deployed the Adobe Marketing Cloud software suite from Adobe Systems Inc. when it launched Skullcandy.com on the Magento e-commerce platform. Meacham, who had worked in past in web analytics and at sports apparel brand and retailer Under Armour, joined Skullcandy two years ago to manage web site analytics and testing.

With Adobe Target, a feature for testing and targeting online content to general or specific groups of shoppers, Skullcandy discovered several ways to boost sales, including:

● Testing multiple colors and Add to Cart styles. It found that simply modifying a blue Add to Cart button—making it automatically change to a lighter shade of blue as a shopper moused over it—led to an increase of more than 10% in the percentage of shoppers who clicked it to add items to their shopping carts, Meacham says.

● Learning the preferred lingo of shoppers. When it introduced a new product-recommendation feature in the shopping cart, Skullcandy’s team of merchandisers and web designers considered several terms to identify the feature, such as “You May Also Like” and “Additional Steeze.” The latter, which refers to lingo commonly used by snowboarders and others, was initially opposed by several members of the merchandising and design team as too “far out there,” Meacham says. But, he says, a test found Additional
Steeze (steeze is a term that combines style and ease of use) led to a 5% lift in conversions compared with other terms.

Skullcandy will continue using the Internet-hosted Adobe Marketing Cloud software after a planned migration to an Internet-hosted e-commerce platform from Demandware Inc. to take advntage of more built-in online shopping features, such as the ability of shopeprs to sort mor more products on a page, Meacham says.

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