Google names the launch of Sportland’s online store, executed in collaboration with Nobel Digital, one of the biggest success stories in the Baltics region during the Covid period.

Sportland, the biggest sports retailer in the Baltics, had long planned to launch their online store, but since the customers loved visiting brick-and-mortar stores, the plans to launch e-commerce were not a high priority in March 2020. When many countries went into lockdown due to the first wave of Covid, the plan was far from being complete – the website did not have functionalities required for e-commerce and a lot of work was left to do.

Nobel Digital faced the challenge to create a customer ready version of the online store in just a few months. The e-store became one of the main sales channels within half a year, much faster than anticipated. This surpassed everyone’s expectations and was also noticed by Google, who invited Nobel as a guest speaker to their annual “Future of Retail and eCommerce” event. 

The whole e-commerce funnel needed to be built from scratch. The first challenge was to implement e-commerce features to the website. Once this was done, Nobel created a full e-commerce strategy, from awareness to remarketing, and set up and activated the campaigns across all relevant digital platforms. Our aim was to reach all relevant target groups across all digital touchpoints, at the right time and with the right message. We divided all campaigns into 3 phases:

  1. Awareness & inspiration
  2. Confirmation and action
  3. Remarketing

The overall goal of our activity was revenue, but each phase also had its own, more operational goal (e.g. website traffic or reach). In addition to key KPIs, such as revenue, traffic, web purchases etc, we also measured micro-conversions (category page visits, add to cart, session duration etc.).

We used a mix of digital channels and formats, which were chosen based on campaign stages to best reach the goal of each stage.In addition to the more traditional formats, video creatives on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube had an important role in the strategy. In the remarketing stage, dynamic ads in social media as well as programmatic ads across Google Display Network showed good results. To ensure strong ROAS, we used extensively the AI-based automated bidding and optimization solutions proposed by digital platforms. 

In addition to online sales, driving clients to brick-and-mortar stores remained a very high priority for Sportland. To support this goal, we implemented Google’s SMART campaigns, which enabled us to show ads on Google Maps. We also activated Waze ads near store locations in all 3 Baltic states. To better understand the impact of online activity on in-store sales, we are also measuring the clicks on product availability check button, even for campaigns with online KPI.

Fast and successful start

“2020 was definitely challenging for us like it was for every other retailer. During this time digital channels became our main marketing channels.”  says Henri Kruusel, the Head of  ecommerce & marketing  at Sportland International Group AS. 

The Head of Marketing and Partner at Nobel Digital OÜ Anni Kitsing adds: “The first wave of Covid came unexpectedly to all of us. Many verticals, especially retail, found themselves in an “all or nothing” situation. March 2020 was a very busy time for Nobel, as all our partners stepped up their digital activities. All our previous suggestions suddenly became top priorities for them. Digital was no longer a channel that was “nice to have”  in addition to others, but became the center of efforts. Alternative would have been waiting and doing nothing. With our partners more motivated than ever, we achieved the best results for their business.”

For full article in Estonian, click HERE