CustomersHow-To

How Hibbett Sports Transformed 70-Year-Old Brick & Mortar Model into an Omnichannel Success

6 min read

US-based retailer Hibbett Sports recently transformed their 70-year-old brick and mortar model into a digital victory.

Before the summer of 2017, Hibbett (currently not accessible in EU) had over 1,000 sports retail stores across 35 states in the U.S. Over seventy years after their founding, employees at Hibbett Sports took on the challenge of a complete digital transformation.

In today’s digitized world, they were over a decade behind their competitors with no online presence.

Building out a new e-commerce platform came with its own set of challenges. However, with the help of a top-notch technology stack and a focus on customers, Hibbett achieved a monumental goal with great success.

We interviewed Steve Schulte, Manager of Digital Analytics at Hibbett, about his role in their transformation and how Usabilla has helped along the way.

Hi Steve! Tell us about your role at Hibbett.

I came on board at Hibbett to help the digital transformation from an analytics perspective. It was a very unique opportunity. Hibbett Sports spent 70 years under a brick-and-mortar business model, and just last year we launched our first e-commerce site.

Can you tell us about Hibbett’s recent digital transformation?

At times it’s hard because we’ve had to move very fast as we’re a decade behind most of our competition. At the same time, it’s a benefit and an advantage.

We didn’t have a website that was a decade old with outdated technology and platforms that had to be updated or upgraded. From the get-go, we were able to launch a great customer experience, with all the proven bells and whistles other companies had tried and tested.

What role did Usabilla feedback play in the launch process?

We started using Usabilla three weeks before the website launch as an internal communication tool. We allowed our employees to crawl, navigate, and purchase on the site before we launched, leaving feedback through Usabilla along the way.

Rather than having hundreds of employees sending us emails throughout the day, I monitored the hundreds of feedback items and labeled them so that the appropriate team could handle any issues.

This gave us an important jump-start to our live launch because the feedback was extremely effective in those early stages.

Next, we opened up the new website to our Loyalty Members to capture even more feedback. This had 2 benefits:

1) We captured feedback on the ease of use during the user journey and heard directly from our customers what they liked and didn’t about the website experience.

2) It gave us a leg up on creating a strategy to integrate Usabilla after the launch. For example, determining which teams should be involved in the customer feedback communication process, where to deploy micro-surveys and the types of questions we wanted to ask customers.

What was your first impression of Usabilla?

My first impression was that it was extremely easy to use, easy to set up, easy to implement and get running right away.

I’ve used other Voice of Customer tools in previous roles, and Usabilla is the most efficient – it’s extremely easy to set up different campaigns, and for me, that’s been great.

How do you align your digital Customer Experience with the in-store Customer Experience?

An unexpected benefit from Usabilla was how much online feedback we would collect regarding customers’ in-store experiences.

Customers are providing this feedback on the website and when this happens, those items are automatically tagged as “Store Operations”, and I can relay those feedback items directly to the appropriate teams. With Usabilla, we can leverage real-time feedback to inform the store experience, as well as in-store training programs.

BOPIS/ROPIS Initiative

We recently launched two very successful programs, Buy Online Pick Up In Store (BOPIS) and Reserve Online Pick Up In Store  (ROPIS). These new service enhancements create a seamless purchasing experience.

BOPIS and ROPIS offer a coherent and smooth omnichannel journey for Hibbett customers who want to reserve an item or purchase an item online before heading into the retail location to try it on or pick it up.

BOPIS and ROPIS were programs that we intended to launch for quite some time, but the feedback we collected with Usabilla helped us validate that this was truly something our customers wanted.

The ability to very quickly set up and launch targeted polls has been really useful to us. We’ve been able to pinpoint exact locations within the customer experience that need improvement. This has helped us answer some business questions that would’ve been difficult to answer via email survey.

How does Usabilla benefit Hibbett’s Customer Service Team?

A large portion of the feedback we receive is centered around customer service. Customers have questions about their order; understanding where their order is, whether it has been shipped, and when to expect a delivery. I communicate that feedback directly to the Customer Service team.

Usabilla has been especially helpful to our Customer Service team when a customer leaves their contact info so Customer Service can get back to that person.

I was surprised that Usabilla could help us create efficiencies in the customer service process. By finding patterns in customer feedback, combined with other sources of data, we are able to pinpoint issues in the Digital Experience, enabling us to make changes that ultimately make our customers more self-sufficient.

How does Usabilla benefit Hibbett’s Development Team?

Instantaneous feedback about Customer Experience goes a long way in developing efficient processes for identifying and fixing bugs. The nice thing about Usabilla is that it provides me with the user’s browser type, device type, and the visual context, which helps our development team quickly replicate and develop fixes for these website issues.

The Why Behind the What

On a daily basis, our primary KPI is conversion rate. Anything we can do to better understand and positively influence the customer’s Digital Experience is invaluable. We have analytics tools in place, which provide great quantitative data, but they don’t always tell you why the customer is performing a certain action.

We use analytics to understand what is happening, then we use Usabilla to understand why. Pairing Usabilla data with our quantitative analytics data helps us paint a full picture of our Digital Experience. In turn, we know where to make improvements to the website which helps us to improve conversion.

At Hibbett, it’s always about providing excellent service. Usabilla helps us carry and optimize the same level of service we’ve provided in our stores for 70 years to the digital experience.

Conclusion

Hibbett’s 10-year setback proved to be an advantage. As a new player in the e-commerce space, Hibbett was able to identify the ideal digital tech stack for them, including Usabilla, hire experienced talent like Steve, and create a brand-new website out of the gate.

With rapidly rising customer expectations, Hibbett must continuously optimize their site, and Usabilla helps them stay on top of their game as they continue to excel as an omnichannel success.

Rachel Bodony
Rachel is currently living in New York City as Usabilla's Content Writer. You can find her at her desk taking grammar quizzes, reading about AI, or dreaming up her next adrenaline-inducing adventure.