CASE STUDY: Wilsons Leather

Rishi Rawat Blog 6 Comments


Wilsons operates about 410 stores in the US. When Wilsons Leather realized after the holidays last year that its old web site lacked the pizazz to attract and keep customers, it decided to outsource its e-commerce platform. Now it serves customers with the latest online features at fractional operating costs and with an internal e-commerce staff of one instead of 8. [source: InternetRetailer]


The fact that Wilsons Leather has chosen to outsource their site might suggest it is a low revenue contributer despite getting over 151,000 monthly visitors. If the channel is not bringing in revenue independently I would focus on using it to leverage Wilsons 410 offline assets.

One simple idea is creating a ‘make list online, select offline’ interface. By moving focus away from buying online and redirecting it to a store visit Wilson might do a better job converting leads. To make this worthwhile (for the customer and business) two things need to happen:

-Value added incentive (for customer): The online store should allow customers to select from a range of designs/products online and then setup store appointments. This way even if a local store does not have a product it can be sourced for the customer to try out.

– Trackability (for business): if any sort of measurement has to be made this visit needs to be tracked. Fortunately just the act of building a list does the trick. Once the browser has built a list and booked a store visit a request is submitted to the store. The online session is now trackable. As a bonus now the sales contact can prepare for the visit.

Interface observations

Wilson’s leather home page

– The store locator tab at the bottom of the home page only allows for a ‘by State’ selection. Why not allow people to directly enter zip codes?

– As we discussed getting shoppers into the store (in a meaningful way) is a key strategy. This interface does nothing for that:

WL Store locator

If someone comes to this page straight from the home page we should inform them about the ‘make list online, select offline’ feature. I would not only measure how many clicked on it but also how many of those clicks converted into store appointments.

– The search result lists a number of Malls. I would link to those Mall websites also. The reason Wilson’s leather has a mall strategy is because they want to leverage on mall shoppers. Giving shoppers more than one reason to visit your retail store could improve ‘actual’ visits.

– I would also use the website to notify the store on other products the browser viewed during the session. This way if I also look at the Business and Travel section on the site when I walk into the store the salesperson could also ask me if I was still interested in leather bound notebooks.

– When I looked for ‘hats’ this is the above-the-fold result:

WL search for hats

– The search for the keyword kids (which is a top navigation item) did even worse:

Search for ‘kids’

What do you think? I’d love feedback.

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