CASE STUDY — GRUPO CHARLY

A Footwear Juggernaut Takes the Game Online

Mexican athletic-apparel manufacturer CHARLY launches ecommerce site to compete head-to-head with international megabrands.

Business Environment

Although growing rapidly, Mexico’s ecommerce market is far from mature, with only 67 percent of the country’s 131 million citizens using the internet, according to social-media platform Hootsuite. American behemoths Amazon and Walmart loom large in the nation’s online shopping landscape, but homegrown department store chains such as Liverpool and Coppel are providing stiff competition, winning hearts, minds, and wallets online and on the street.

Challenge

Founded in 1959 in León, Mexico, CHARLY designs and manufactures Mexico’s top-selling athletic shoe brand and a related line of sports apparel. It is also the country’s only authorized distributor of Skechers sneakers. The company enjoys a huge national presence, with nearly 100 stores and points of purchase throughout Mexico; it also outfits seven of the country’s Liga MX (Division One) soccer teams as well as the fictional squad in the Netflix soccer drama Club de Cuervos. Yet despite its success, CHARLY lacked an ecommerce site. To continue to gain market share and compete with international footwear brands such as Nike and Adidas, CHARLY sought a customizable world-class online destination that would extend its brand’s reach beyond its brick-and-mortar presence. Plus, it needed to be able to serve US-based customers, given the company’s recent expansion into the American market.

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Strategy

Astound Commerce opted for a holistic content and technology strategy, taking a mobile-centric approach to tap into Mexico’s cellphone ubiquity as well as attract a new generation of socially connected, media-aware customers. We determined the site should be available in Spanish and English, with both Mexican pesos and American dollars accepted. The user interface needed to be simple and uncluttered, with easy navigation through CHARLY’s multiple footwear and apparel lines (which, in addition to Skechers, also include sneakers licensed from Disney and Marvel Heroes). Finally, we wanted to leverage CHARLY’s connection to the Division One teams, harnessing the passion and loyalty Mexicans near and far feel toward these premier soccer clubs.

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Execution

With the CHARLY team new to ecommerce, Astound took the lead on designing an omnichannel experience with multiple customer touchpoints. We implemented Salesforce Commerce Cloud (SFCC), creating a strong, stable platform that not only enables a frictionless customer journey from exploration through checkout but also can be customized for different languages and currencies. An intuitive user interface simplifies the site’s huge inventory, quickly funneling consumers to their desired product category. Soccer jerseys for purchase are prominently displayed on the home page, with full uniforms from seven Liga MX teams and Club de Cuervos. In an online exclusive, shoppers can customize the clothing with a name and number, courtesy of the product personalization feature we integrated into SFCC.

Results

The new ecommerce platform frees CHARLY from its physical limitations, allowing the company to reach new audiences (and gain market share) in the US and the Mexican republic. The site allows the company, for the first time, to collect valuable data about the brand’s consumers, their behavior, and their product preferences. This information is generating leads, lowering customer-acquisition costs, and shaping product development. Opportunities for product customization and social sharing are driving sales and streams of user-generated content without undercutting CHARLY’s third-party distributors. The platform is also amplifying CHARLY’s media and soccer connections, reinforcing the brand’s “cool” and helping the company monetize that deep emotional tie between fans and their sports team.

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