E-commerce sales climb for VIVOBAREFOOT as it centralises on-line operations with the help of outsourced multi-channel and multi-lingual services
- 300% increase in overall unit sales and 73% improvement in international conversion rates
Established in 2003, VIVOBAREFOOT (vivobarefoot.com) make the best barefoot shoes in the world. Created without compromise around its patented Pure Barefoot Technology, its products are the epitome of ancient wisdom with modern technology; designed in London, with a sole for every terrain, to live your life barefoot.
The culmination of 5 years research and development saw the release of the first VIVOBAREFOOT shoe in 2004 - the first minimalist shoe with a patented, ultra-thin puncture-resistant sole. The shoe was designed to offer both maximum sensory feedback and maximum protection. With 25 staff and operations headquartered in London, VIVOBAREFOOT sells its extensive range of shoes across the globe.
Growing global sales prompted decision to centralise e-operations with specialist outsourced partners including customer service
Head of E-Commerce for VIVOBAREFOOT, Paul Walker explains, ‘Previously we had a single supplier that handled customer service, payments and warehousing. However as on-line sales have rocketed – 116% growth from 2013-2014 and +300% growth 2014-2015 with further growth projected 2015-2016, we realised that we needed a greater number of external resources that were specialists in key areas, one of which was customer service. We therefore wanted to find a UK based customer service partner that already had experience of e-tailing and in particular the shoe market. They also needed to have the resources to provide multi-channel and multi-lingual services for the US and European countries such as Portugal, Spain, Italy, France and Netherlands.’
Dedicated partner who could provide 24/7, multi-channel and multi-lingual customer service for all international markets
According to Paul, the company spoke to a large number of potential providers but eventually chose Ventrica for a number of reasons. ‘Firstly’ says Paul, ‘we felt that they had a genuine interest in our brand and product and we wouldn’t just be another account to them. They already had experience of another shoe manufacturer and this was really important as we require an exceptional level of knowledge across our extensive product range. Although our shoes are fundamentally the same, there are at any one time between 50-60 different styles that differ based on the environment and terrain they are used in, in order that we can offer a shoe for all occasions, from mountains to oceans, with everything in-between.
It isn’t just about processing orders though. We were confident that Ventrica would really understand the shoes and be able to share this expertise with customers. After visiting the Ventrica team and their operation we knew they had the capability to support our growth and plans for the future. Their rates were reasonable too.’
A highly knowledgeable, flexible and scalable team that is able to work around the clock, across multiple countries and timezones
After an intensive training course, Ventrica began working for VIVOBAREFOOT last September, in readiness for the seasonal peaks of Black Friday and CyberMonday. Paul says, ‘As with any ecommerce operation, our on-line business is subject to peaks and troughs through the year. The great thing about Ventrica is that they understand seasonality.’
Ability to up-scale resources quickly for spikes in demand
‘When we first started the relationship with Ventrica we expected there to be a lot of unknowns in terms of resource requirements and that it would be a learning experience. But when we have experienced spikes in demand, perhaps as a result of an advertising campaign or promotion, Ventrica has always responded well and have up-scaled their resources accordingly - its been relatively seamless.’
Centralisation of world-wide customer service saves time, lowers costs and reflects brand values
Paul continues, ‘We are also seeing many benefits from centralising our customer service in the UK. Not only does it reduce our costs it also saves time in training as we only have to do this once rather than replicate in multiple countries for both the English and foreign language teams, plus it helps with the consistency of our overall customer communications.
VIVOBAREFOOT is also proud to be a London-based brand so it makes perfect sense for us to have our customer service team in the UK. The US is a significant market for us and Americans like to speak with someone with an English accent, so it completely reflects our core brand values.’
Multi-lingual support increases sales conversions by 73% and acts as additional translation facility for website updates
‘Most of our buyers are affluent and often speak English. However since we have introduced native speakers our sales conversions have gone through the roof. In particular in Spain and Italy our like-for-like sales have risen by a massive 90% in the first month of trade. This shows the impressive return on investing in multi-lingual speakers who we also use for translations for additional website updates like a promotion.’ Adds Paul.
Meeting and surpassing customer expectations – the importance of 24/7 and multi-media communications
‘The fact that the Ventrica team is available 24/7 helps to meet and surpass our customers expectations as they wish to be able to call or communicate over other channels such as email or Facebook, at any time of the day.’
Ventrica operates three overlapping shifts with three separate dedicated teams that are all VIVOBAREFOOT experts and manage emails, Facebook correspondence, Feefo responses and other customer care queries relating to the shoe manufacturers Amazon merchant account.
‘The value of Knowledge that Ventrica provides shouldn’t be underestimated’
‘The value of knowledge that Ventrica provides shouldn’t be underestimated. They recruit a high quality of personnel. One example in particular has been Charlotte Mullins who previously worked within one of our retail stores. Charlotte has been an incredible asset and her product knowledge is exceptional. It’s this level of passion, commitment and detailed understanding, that helps Ventrica to live and breathe our brand.’
Key services provided on a 24/7 basis
- Centralised customer service hub to support global sales
- Dedicated phone and email responses for UK & US
- Email responses across Europe
- FaceBook moderation
- Feefo Responses (VIVOBAREFOOT boasts a 99% rating)
- Customer care for Amazon merchant account
- Native language speakers for Portugal, Spain, Italy, France and Netherlands
- Up-scaling for seasonal peaks e.g. Black Friday/Cyber Monday
- Multi-lingual services have enhanced sales volume by 90%
- Ventrica team has helped contribute to a 300% increase in overall unit sales
- Multi-lingual team provided added value with adhoc translations for website updates e.g. special offers/promotions, new products etc.
- Economies of scale e.g. reduced training required â€“ one team manages customer service for all territories
- Maximise opportunities during seasonal peaks
- 24/7 service leads to increased customer satisfaction and sales