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CASE STUDY: Sweaty Betty locates success

By Retail Technology | Tuesday May 31 2011

Women’s activewear brand uses Experian analytics to drive customer insight and store location analysis initiative

Sweaty Betty entered the retail industry to re-define the UK women’s sports market and inspire their customer’s desires for style and wellbeing. Instead of trainers and replica football strips, Sweaty Betty focused on women’s activewear; selling fashionable gym and yoga clothes with ski wear and bikinis in season.

After 12 years of business Sweaty Betty has 24 shops, concessions in major department stores such as Selfridges and Harrods, a thriving website, and a catalogue business; where it presents products in a stylish female-friendly environment.

To keep fresh and meet the needs of its customers Sweaty Betty continually takes ‘time out’ to go back to the drawing board and consider how it can keep ‘re-defining the market’ and make its brand aspirational and current. Its goal is to be recognised as the leading women’s activewear brand throughout the world, and all its activities and market presence are centred on the aim of inspiring women to find empowerment through fitness.

In possession of an enviable track history of success, Sweaty Betty was named Sports Retailer of the Year in 2001, Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003 and won the Drapers Customer Service Initiative of the Year 2007.

Defining the problem

Sweaty Betty has developed an aggressive growth strategy over the last 12 years, focusing on developing its business across the UK, and specifically within London. In the next two years it plans to open 10 new stores and required guidance as to which would be the best retail locations, to attract its target customers and meet growth targets.

Sweaty Betty also wanted to gain a better understanding of its existing customer profiles and buying behaviours so it could apply this insight to future marketing and ensure it resonated with the needs and desires of its target customers.

To assist Sweaty Betty develop a robust methodology to select its target areas, Experian worked to complete a ‘Customer Insight and Store Location Analysis Project’.

This consultancy approach provided Sweaty Betty with a detailed understanding of ‘who’ its current customers were as a whole, but also a breakdown by purchase value, number of products purchased, product type and spend frequency.

Using the market leading segmentation tool, Experian Mosaic UK, the customer analysis identified key demographic characteristics that exemplify the profile of Sweaty Betty customers. By defining the target customers, Experian was able to apply this intelligence and recommend the target locations for Sweaty Betty store development.

Finding the right fit

Prospective towns were screened against variables such as the customer target profile, type of town, social mix of catchments, cannibalisation, and mix of other retail shops and competitors. From this information the top 50 ‘gap’ towns were established, which were then drilled down and prioritised further to allow Sweaty Betty to create their ‘top 10’ store location targets.

Experian delivered a consultancy project using customer insight from Experian Mosaic UK to profile the existing Sweaty Betty customer and then applied this intelligence geographically to undertake a store location analysis. The output and recommendations of this project helped Sweaty Betty better understand its existing customer profile, who its most valuable customers are, and advise on target store locations. Experian also supplied the raw data analysis to allow Sweaty Betty to complete further investigation in-house. Full support material and account management was provided to ensure that Sweaty Betty used the output to its full potential.

The geo-demographic analysis provided by Experian combined with the site location rankings equipped Sweaty Betty with an in-depth view of its customers and target locations in order to develop a medium to long-term store opening plan and meet their aggressive objectives. By better understanding its customer type Sweaty Betty can now better plan these locations and manage store distribution accordingly. It also now has an evidence-based understanding of how the London-based shops and customers differ from the rest of the country and can optimise all their shop and marketing activities to be tailored to unique geographic and demographic behaviours. 

Turning findings into results

The Experian solutions provide Sweaty Betty with the ability to approach the market with a consistent strategy for expansion in the UK with increased sales and a growing market share.

The results of the analysis have also been implemented into Sweaty Betty’s overall marketing strategy. It is now able to understand the unique behaviours of different groups of customers; their seasonal buying behaviours, spend, frequency of purchase and volumes by social mix. This will support the company in improving its targeted marketing communications to support and grow both off and online activities and the promotion of existing stores. It will also enable Sweaty Betty to tailor its offerings to connect with the unique aspirations and behaviours of its dynamic customer base so it is building their brand presence and inspiring their customers to feel empowered.

“The ‘Experian experience’ has given us the confidence to continue our expansion,” commented Emma Thornton, Sweaty Betty retail director. “Their numbers have helped to confirm our gut feelings about potential new markets, with the right type of customers in enough volume. Experian’s style of presentation and support was very professional and any queries raised were handled effectively. Experian’s understanding of our brand as a customer added real energy to the project. Their genuine interest was much appreciated and added extra zest to proceedings.”

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