As the Chinese market has become younger and increasingly digital, the 102 year old brand Stride Rite is taking a digital-first approach with Alibaba’s Tmall platform. The iconic U.S. children’s shoe brand’s goal is to reach China’s rapidly growing generation alphas – those born after 2010 to millennial parents. Stride Rite understands these younger parents are more comfortable with e-commerce and are looking for a more interactive online experience. The company views Alibaba as an essential partner in reaching these new customers.
“We looked at Alibaba and said, ‘We consider ourselves best in class. We have to go with the best in class.’ And that’s how we ended up partnering up with Tmall,” said Brian McManus, executive vice president and general manager at Stride Rite.
Stride Rite launched its online storefront through Tmall in advance of Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival, where U.S. brands made more than $5.4 billion in sales last year. Its online store includes a toolkit that allows parents to measure their child’s shoe size without traveling to a physical store, resulting in a 10% reduction in returns. Stride Rite also uses Alibaba’s analytics to make customer observations and adjust product lines, such as increasing its selection of wider shoe sizes after reviewing customer data.
The brand views China and its partnership with Alibaba as key to the future of its business abroad. “Stride Rite will become a global and lifestyle brand in the next hundred years. We’re going to be smart and roll it out slowly to make sure we don’t disappoint,” McManus said. “That’s why our relationship with Tmall is critical, because it’s not just about selling forward. It’s about introducing the brand, and over time, we’ll introduce a whole lifestyle aspect.”