Belk has a rich retail tradition in the South. The company has been around for 125 years and is very well-known to anyone who lives south of Virginia or east of Texas. Its reputation for service, strong assortment and value has become a part of peoples’ lives in the South. Now, Belk’s goal is to take its fantastic in-store experience and the message of Modern Southern Style into the digital marketplace.
“We’re working everyday to take this message outside of our footprint and make sure people outside of the South understand the value and the brands that we have as well as the real retail experience that we offer,” said Belk Vice President of Digital Marketing Michael Coleman.
It wasn’t until 2008 that Belk started to make a concerted push into e-commerce, making it late to the game relative to some of its competitors. Belk made an aggressive and dedicated effort to scale its e-commerce initiatives and its online sales, which currently makes up about three and a half percent of the company’s total sales. “Ultimately, our goal is to take online sales to 10 percent within the next few years,” said Coleman.
When Google introduced Google Shopping, Coleman and his team understood that it would greatly impact the online shopping environment. Along with a number of other marketing executives, Coleman had to dig in and understand what it meant for Belk. He quickly identified it as an opportunity for the company to expand Belk’s reach to customers it had never touched before. Google Shopping then became a key initiative for Belk.
Once Belk decided to pursue Google Shopping, Coleman realized he needed a strong partner to help his team. “We didn’t have the expertise to launch and maintain the Google Shopping program, and early on we identified ChannelAdvisor as the right partner for this,” continued Coleman. “ChannelAdvisor proved that it was the right choice for Belk by offering a solution that allowed us to launch a feed that was very efficient in generating some of the highest ROI ever from our online shopping channels.”
Belk began listing on Google Shopping in December, a month that for most retailers is a risky time to launch anything new. With ChannelAdvisor’s help, the process was seamless and successful. Since then, Belk has generated a significant amount of revenue through Google Shopping with the help of ChannelAdvisor’s feed optimization. As a result, Google Shopping has become one of Belk’s more important e-commerce channels.
“Right now, our online sales outside of our store footprint are growing faster than our sales inside our store footprint,” said Coleman. “We couldn’t have done this without ChannelAdvisor as a partner.”