We’re excited to release Episode 1 of the Flowbox podcast: Social Circles.
Social Circles is a podcast about eCommerce best practices brought to you by Photolsurp. Sitting down for a quick chat with Judith Armenteras, brand manager with sport’s brand deporvillage, we learned a thing or two about what it takes to sell sports apparel online.
Give it a listen or read the transcript below!
[Flowbox] Hello and welcome to Social Circles, a podcast about eCommerce best practices brought to you by Flowbox. I’m Charlie Brook and today I’m joined by Judith Armenteras, the brand manager at deporvillage. Thanks for joining me, Judith! I really appreciate it.
[Judith Armenteras] Thank you for inviting me.
[Flowbox] Of course! We’re really excited to get to speak to you. So why don’t go ahead and get started with a brief introduction to yourself and deporvillage brand?
[Judith Armenteras] Yes, of course. First of all, I would like to thank you and tell you that I’m please to be contributing to this Flowbox content with my experience.
[Judith Armenteras] I studied International Marketing & Brand Management in Nuance University in Sweden, and this was a great learning experience in which I got to know first hand very important branding dilemas with companies such as Nespresso, IKEA, Volvo, and many others. It was a very practical experience as well. And deporvillage gave me the opportunity to apply all of this knowledge that I gained there.
Deporvillage is a company that was born in 2010, so it’s very young. The company was created by Xavier Pladellorens & Angel Corcuera, and can be shortly described as a sports eCommerce that is specialized in selling cycling, running, outdoor, and swimming products. So it’s basically for people who really enjoy doing sports and who take the sports very seriously.
[Flowbox] My second question is: What challenges come with selling sports apparel online at a global scale?
[Judith Armenteras] Well, I would say selling online is to meet the customer. Physically, let’s say, we are able to reach more customers because we are on the internet. This is for me the most important constraint. However, like as I said, we need to think very carefully about the customer journey.
[Flowbox] Right, so what do you do in order to facilitate the customer journey?
[Judith Armenteras] Well we address this matter by incorporating inspirational sources such as a blog or social media. And also incorporating a strong customer service. To help the customer during, before, and after the service. So I would say that maybe these channels are sometimes underestimated, and companies sometimes fail to see their full potential. But I would say that all of these are sources that we have, and we need to use.
[Flowbox] Of course, so moving back towards the deporvillage brand: how is that you want your customers to feel when they see images of the deporvillage brand on your eCommerce store or on social media. And what do you do to ensure that your customers are feeling the brand image and the brand identity.
[Judith Armenteras] Well, we want them to think that deporvillage is a brand that promotes a healthy society and well-being and that they offer a special online service by selling products that are very specialized in these particular sports that they are practicing. However, this is a very difficult task because it means to influence the brand image and replication.
So we ensure that, as you asked me, or we try to help our customers by advising them. We have a very specific service where, when you’re buying online, you have this chat available. And you can actually ask some technicians which are the best product for each sport or this specific technical information that some customers might want.
Then, we also use social media. For instance, Instagram – to inspire and incentivize the sport practice. We have also the blog where we inform about the good practices or any doubts that the customer might have. We’ve started sharing sports events so they can also come to our Facebook page and check, “Okay so today we are sharing next year’s La Vuelta”, and we are presenting the most relevant information so that the customer can also come to us to check information about the sports that they like. So they get some inspiration from us.
[Flowbox] It must be good to be able to interact with your community in that way. How would you describe the deporvillage brand community? Do you find that they’re really active in participating in the brand?
[Judith Arementeras] Well, I would say that sometimes we fail to communicate really well with them because we are solving doubts or we are providing specific information – and that’s it. But we don’t have this active communication as we might wish to have, you know? Maybe we have to work a little bit harder here.
But I would say that our brand community is full of sports enthusiasts. If we shared with them some videos, like fun stuff for sports, they will probably engage maybe with a link or with sharing the post in their social platforms. But it’s not an active conversation, let’s say.
[Flowbox] So what is it that you want to do in order to build a brand community when selling online? What is that you strive to do to make this community more engaged?
[Judith Armenteras] As I said before, being an eCommerce we can meet the customer. We also don’t know them, so when other people share their stories with us, and we share it with them it creates a sort of humanity. It’s difficult to explain but it makes sense to me. Simply because you read other people’s experiences or you see other people are somehow reflected, it gives some sort of confidence.
[Flowbox] Of course, when you see people doing something it makes you want to also be apart of it.
So what do you believe, in a more general sense, is working in the world of eCommerce right now? What are the different things that you can do and that you find is actually working for your brand?
[Judith Arementeras] I might sound typical, but I just think that eCommerce is becoming bigger and bigger because of the lack of time we have. So we believe that people are invested in reducing the time it takes to go shopping somewhere. Taking the car…well, it’s very time consuming. And rather taking this time to be with friends or doing sports or whatever that they like. So an eCommerce really allows the customer to use their time as they like. And you can tell that this is a trend that is becoming bigger because a lot of brick and mortar retailers are opening up sites and making online purchasing available for their customers. So I think that’s the crucial thing that they offer.
Also, I would say the offering of selling online, when you have all of these products in one website, which is physically impossible to fit in one store, right?
[Flowbox] Right. That makes a lot of sense, you always know you’re able to provide the product that people want, no matter how much the demand is.
So for deporvillage, you sponsor a few teams as well as races. So what does it mean to you to sponsor races such as Tri-Relay and Curso de la Dona? In addition to the brand’s various team sponsorships. How does this reflect on the brand and what value does it bring to customers?
[Judith Arementeras] Well, I think it’s the chance to meet our customers. To transmit not only to the people that are coming to this event but to the people who will see that we went to this event. So we really take this opportunity to go there and to meet them. To see how they are and how they like to practice the sport and engaging a little bit with them.
It’s also a way for us to show the commitment that we have with the races that we’ve sponsored because usually it’s some sort of small race that needs support.
[Flowbox] And some of them, like Curso de la Dona, have very specific aims. Do you feel like it’s a good thing for deporvillage to be apart of whatever movement is taking part with that as well? And for anyone who doesn’t speak Catalan, Curso de la Dona translates to a woman’s race.
[Judith Arementeras] Yes of course, I think it’s crucial because somehow I feel like sports are very much related to men, and actually almost 75% of our customers are men. But we do want women to practice sports and to be part of it. We don’t want to contribute to this phenomenon that it’s only men.
[Flowbox] That’s really great to hear, I really do think that it’s good for brands to put themselves behind movements and kind of show people how they stand. I think it’s a really good thing to do.
So just kind of moving on from that, we are a visual commerce platform that focuses on User Generated Content, and we’re so happy to happy to have you as one of your clients. So we have to ask: what are your thoughts on User Generated Content and the value a UGC strategy can bring to eCommerce
[Judith Arementeras] Well, I think it’s great because you see normal people that are using our product. They are not famous or fake, and they like to buy our products, use them, and share it with all of the people in our community – this means a lot. Let’s say that our customers are proud of that and using that product, it’s great to see them sharing and to give credit.
Also, people get to see how the products look on others before buying them, which is also a good part of it. Finally, I would say it gives the brand a sense of humanity because you see real people. And that’s something that you like before buying something.
[Flowbox] Absolutely. That’s great to hear! And again, we’re really glad to have you speak to us today, especially as one of our clients. It’s always good to hear how different brands are doing things especially with UGC.
But just to wrap up, is there anything else that you’d like to share before we finish?
[Judith Arementeras] I would say that this [User Generated Content] is another way to build our brand. And this is another way to build brand meaning. Sharing it with our community and creating this long brand image so that you see how people evolve. It gives some sort of tracking our customers, and it’s always available. I feel like this is the most trustworthy way to share the brand so yeah I would end with that.
[Flowbox] Perfect, well thank you so much again for joining us. We’re really grateful to have you on the podcast.
[Judith Arementeras] Thank you so much, Charlie, for inviting us. We hope we can chat again.
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