In 2020, CHRIS sports AG celebrated its 30-year anniversary as a B2B wholesaler and distributor of sports, bicycle and fashion brands. The company is an absolute expert in sales in Switzerland and Austria – the company exclusively sells 27 well-known brands in Switzerland and four in Austria, including New Balance and Keen Footwear.
As well as the traditional trade of supplying wholesalers and retailers, CHRIS sports has been operating a drop shipping business for more than five years to fulfill orders on behalf of renowned and well-known online retailers. With its Chris box format, CHRIS sports took its first step towards B2C itself over two years ago. The brand is represented in outlet shops and in marketplaces. In addition, an online presence was launched, which is also based on Shopware 6. CHRIS box is a visually appealing digital business card and provides an overview of the brands sold by CHRIS sports.
Just like Shopware, CHRIS sports thrives on its community. Unlike Shopware, this consists of sportspeople and ambassadors who present the brands to the respective target markets.
Two years ago, the idea emerged of digitising other B2C projects as well as CHRIS box – and so the “Brandshops” initiative was born. In the course of this, two brand shops were to be implemented for the Swiss market: the sport and leisure shoe brands New Balance and Keen Footwear.
New Balance is the fourth largest manufacturer of sporting goods in the world. So CHRIS sports was overjoyed to be asked to design and initiate the new brand shop for the manufacturer. The manufacturer’s trust was not misplaced – the result was an attractive digital brand shop.
With the decision to implement online brand shops for New Balance und Keen Footwear came the need to find the right shop system. Together with the agency 7thSENSE, CHRIS sports evaluated different systems. A decisive factor in the decision was CHRIS sports’ large catalogue of requirements. A clear design for the shop was particularly important to contribute to an ideal presentation of the products. The shop system also required to offer the option for a multi-brand shop concept, facilitate optimum adaptation to the needs of the DACH region and support the API-first approach, as well as being a renowned future-proof B2B solution. As Shopware fulfilled all these criteria, as well as being very cost-effective, the future-orientated shop system was chosen: Enterprise Edition of Shopware 6.
Initial challenges, such as depicting variants in the URL structure and individual adaptations to the brand requirements for set-up were quickly overcome with the help of Shopware’s experienced solution partner 7thSENSE. After a six-month implementation period, both shops were finalised in 2020. The online shops have impressive and inspiring Shopping Experiences, which are full of powerful images, thus optimally drawing attention to the shoes, clothing and accessories. In line with the premise “content is king”, the Keen shop has inspiring content for the products. The running shoe advisor in the New Balance Store helps people find their perfect running shoe. Both online shops are very much modelled on the brands’ international shops and their large selections have everything you could possibly require when it comes to shoes.
Last week, CHRIS sports notched up another success in its brand strategy – the Arena brand shop was launched in mid-March 2021. Swimmers trust the manufacturer’s reliable quality in swimwear and swimming equipment.
In implementing its online shop, the established manufacturer of swimwear and swimming equipment drew on the experience of CHRIS sports. This meant that a fourth brand shop could be implemented using Shopware 6 within just a few months. All the online presences are very much inspired by their brand’s international websites – including the Arena online shop. A special feature of the Arena shop is the “club business”. An affiliate programme offers cashback to clubs and associations. This way, associations receive a share of the shop’s sales. The programme was implemented technically with the aid of the Affiliate Marketing plugin.
CHRIS sports especially values the CMS options in Shopware 6, which enable quick and easy content maintenance of the four shops. This in turn has positive effects on the company’s resource planning.
In the future, rapid scaling with several shops will be possible. Ain addition, a B2B project and three future brand shops are planned for this year. Christoph Luginbühl, CDO of CHRIS sports, gave a positive summary of the Brandshop project: “You get the feeling that the agency and Shopware know each other well, which made the cooperation easy. As the client, we were also able to establish a direct line to Shopware. We’re looking forward to future releases which will enable us to constantly develop the shops. So, we view 2021 with optimism, to achieve success with Shopware and the additional shops.”
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