Building and Scaling an Engaging eCommerce Experience for Runners

Fleet Feet is a beloved running brand with more than 250 stores in communities throughout the Unites States.

Their success is rooted in the brand's dedication to local ownership that fosters a community around every store. Each location has a staff of experienced runners that are trained to help customers find the perfect running shoe. They also organize local running groups, training programs, and races.

NMC's partnership with Fleet Feet began nearly a decade ago, when we worked with them to design and develop a website platform that individual franchises could use to launch their own website, giving them access to complex functionality, keeping their branding consistent, while also maintaining their independence. Nearly every franchise in the brand moved to the platform, helping the brand to reach millions and millions of customers online. After the success of that initiative and seeing NMC's depth of experience in design, development, and digital strategy, Fleet Feet engaged NMC to help them transform their primary website into an eCommerce platform that met their unique needs.


Creating a National Home

By 2014, it was clear that Fleet Feet had a massive opportunity in online retail, but it lacked a national eCommerce presence. We worked with the client’s leadership team to review objectives and technical challenges, establish a digital visual identity, and plot a course for launching a national eCommerce website, the first in the brand's history.

Because Fleet Feet franchises operated with such independence, including product selection, the aggregate product offering across stores is unmatched in the running world. A national eCommerce site could immediately make this unique, local inventory available across the country.

NMC planned, designed, built, and launched a totally new and custom eCommerce website that sells the items carried across the entire national network of the company’s popular retail stores.  Consumers could search the brand's entire database of SKUs, order, have it shipped from the store nearest them, while some credit is given to their own local store.  Detailed product pages are a valuable feature for any eCommerce site, we worked with Fleet Feet to incorporate customer reviews, tech specs, and plenty of images of each item.  All of this complexity and computation is hidden from the shopper, and they are able to have a quick and seamless experience on the frontend.

Our work included helping the brand plan how to tackle this expansive project, creating an attractive, easy-to-use, and brand-consistent visual design as well as developing stable, responsive code that integrates a new shopping cart with Fleet Feet’s existing inventory & point-of-sale systems.  We've been proud to continue closely partnering with the brand post-launch.

Growing the Site

Access to the broad selection of products has allowed stores to drive down their inventory costs by making it easier to clear product nationally. Their runner-customers are ecstatic that they can buy their hard-to-find favorites from their favorite brand.

The decision to build on a custom, consumer-focused platform has also paid off in search engine optimization as well. Fleet Feet has gone from a non-entity to a serious contender on search results pages driving both online revenue and in-store traffic. NMC has also worked with Fleet Feet to continue to add functionality and capability to the site and the eCommerce presence has quickly scaled from non-existent to an important element of Fleet Feet's business.  Below are just a few of the custom features.

A User-Friendly Homepage

Designed for a smooth user-experience, Fleet Feet's homepage features a prominent search area, several best-selling products, and links to top shopping categories.  

Nearest-Store Localization

Because each location has such a rich web presence, the site can surface information directly from the location that is nearest to the customer.

Search Engine Optimized and Shopper-Friendly Results

The Fleet Feet product catalog is well-organized and is surfaced in a custom, customer-friendly interface that is highly optimized for Search Engines.  From search pages, customers can instantly determine if their size is in stock locally and also quickly adjust their searches.

Loyalty Program Integration & Personalized Recommendations

Since launch, Fleet Feet has rolled out a national loyalty program. Customers can earn points when they buy, join running groups, or achieve goals. Those points are aggregated nationally and can be redeemed in-store or online.  Another personalization element Fleet Feet brings to the table is fit id, a proprietary outfitting process that uses 3D foot-scanning technology to help staff members present customers with a curated selection of shoes and gear that are best for them.