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Helly Hansen, Extreme Sports, Extremely Digital

Helly Hansen, Extreme Sports, Extremely Digital

Built for the extremes. The Norwegian brand has been helping outdoor enthusiasts weather the storm since 1877 – first from the biting cold winters of Scandinavia and later for skiers, snowboarders, sailors… you name it.

Today, Helly Hansen gear is used by Olympians and national teams, such as Alpine Canada, Alpine Ski Team Finland, Ski Team Sweden Alpine.

“We have a long history of first-to-markets,” according to chief digital officer Chris Hammond. “We were the first-to-market with a technical base layer, the first to market with Propile knit [a type of fleece], the list goes on.”

Recently, Helly Hansen has been transforming itself into a data-driven brand that puts customers first and center of its operations. “We started our digital strategy back in 2016,” Chris added, “by replatforming onto Magento 2.0 Enterprise Cloud Edition… We were the first ever customer to do it. I joined the company the week we went live and we locked ourselves in a room for three months, going to bed at 3am, and getting back into work at 6am.”

Helly Hansen, Extreme Sports, Extremely DigitalUsing a wide range of Adobe tech solutions, such as Magneto and Adobe Experience Manager, Helly Hansen adopted pioneering platforms to lead themselves in digital and personalization. “We created a solution that allowed us to easily break into new markets,” added consumer business director, Theodor Tollefsen. “We now have 55 different sites with seven different language options, payment methods, and shipping rules.”

The extreme weather brand soon boosted their online traffic by 24%, increased their mobile traffic but 48%. “We now have 55 different sites with seven different language options,” added Theodor, “payment methods, and shipping rules.”

With a complex platform that performs powerful functions, it tends to come with a sharp learning curve. “The first year was pretty rough,” said Theodor, “but now it’s a fairly easy platform to work with.”

Chris added that “being on cloud and having the ability to be stable and have good uptime during huge traffic peaks is great. We now have more than 50 stores on the cloud installation in seven languages with 35,000 products per store. Each of the stores has different options, payment methods, shipping rules, localized content, product availability, and ecommerce. We’ve experienced incredible growth.”

Digital first; mobile first

Back in 2017 the brand refocused their digital strategy into a mobile-first company. As Chris said: “Every decision from media campaigns and creative, to commerce and data is mobile… Around 60 percent of our visits come through mobile today and that’s only increasing as mobile devices get better and speed gets faster. We’ve got to a point where mobile is our starting point. Everything we do from design, UX, everything starts with mobile within the company.”

Helly Hansen, Extreme Sports, Extremely DigitalYet the digital switch to a mobile-first approach came up against a huge limitation: it’s order management system. Back then they were using WordPress – hugely popular but for serious businesses heavily constraining. “One of the issues we had with WordPress is that it doesn’t scale easily for a global brand in different languages,” said Chris.

So they moved their content and hosted it on an OMS that could facilitate such a bold strategy: Adobe Experience Manager. “We’ll now be able to integrate all of our marketing campaigns,” said Chris, “and our loyalty program… But the big one for us is that we don’t have to worry about doing individual pages and individual languages.

“Adobe Experience Manager will put the content out in the relevant places at the relevant times, with the click of a button.”

The decision also meant a massive boost to their design capabilities. “We use Adobe XD for our design system and this is best suited to work with Adobe Experience Manager for our needs and not WordPress,” said Chris. “We’ve been spending too much on creating standalone content rich brand experiences which should be driving awareness, and we’re just missing out on significant ROI by being on WordPress and not being on Adobe Experience Manager. Moving to Adobe Experience Manager will increase not only our revenue, but brand awareness and purchase consideration.”

For Helly Hansen, the move to AEM was a turning point for many reasons, and haven’t looked back since. “Moving onto Adobe Experience Manager specifically for creating experiences,” said Chris, “it’s going to save us a huge amount of time and energy, and allow us to produce pages and content while being consumer-centric and to focus on the important things”.

PS: UV is one of the world’s leading Adobe Experience Manager development & strategy teams. Contact us to see how we can work together.

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