Customer Intelligence Investment Keys Customer Engagement at Wolverine Worldwide

Wolverine Worldwide, an American footwear manufacturer with a global footprint that spans approximately 200 countries and territories, invests in customer intelligence to key customer engagement initiatives that spark brand loyalty.

Wolverine Worldwide, which dates back to 1883, has an ever-expanding portfolio that includes:

• Owned – Bates®, Chaco®, HyTest®, Hush Puppies®, Keds®, Merrell®, Saucony®, Sebago®, Soft Style®, Sperry®, Stride Rite Children’s Group®, Track ‘n Trail®, Wolverine®, and Wolverine® Leathers.

• Licensed – Cat® Footwear and Harley-Davidson® Footwear.

Wolverine Worldwide’s investment in customer intelligence enabled it to significantly impact its product innovation strategy, resulting in the company’s recognition by Vision Critical as a Visionary Award winner for its superior use of customer communities.

Loyalty360 caught up with Kate Pinkham, Vice President Consumer Insights and Market Intelligence, Wolverine Worldwide, to learn more about this partnership with Vision Critical.
“This year, we launched an international consumer community,” Pinkham explained. “Going forward, we hope to take our practices and findings from the U.S. consumer community and expand them into new regions through the international consumer community. Wolverine Worldwide is now able to communicate with 20,000 consumers on a monthly basis. Doing this allows the consumer’s voice to be heard at all levels of the production process. For example, we are now able to ask consumers their opinions on style and then produce shoes that fit these specifications. We are more effectively infusing consumers throughout the process at need identification, optimizing ideas, and testing styles and colors.” 
For Wolverine Worldwide, creative acumen lies at the heart of shoe design. Customer opinions during product innovation are rarely sought at scale, and design teams often rely on instinct and internal feedback to produce products they think customers will love. But Wolverine Worldwide defied this trend, seeking customer insight to, not only validate their own opinions, but to help inform key business decisions, which is how it earned the Visionary Award.

“Wolverine Worldwide is committed to our consumers and providing best-in-class product,” Pinkham added. “Because of this, investing in our Consumer Insights team not only was critical to our consumers, but also to our product developers, designers, marketers, and sales force.”

How has Wolverine Worldwide been able to leverage customer insights to impact customer behavior?

“Recently, a brand within our portfolio was having a challenge selling a particular style and color to a retailer,” Pinkham explained. “Knowing this, the brand contacted our Consumers Insights team, which was able to tap into the consumer community and issue a survey asking for feedback on the style in question. Within a matter of days, our team was able to show the brand and, ultimately, the retailer that the style was in fact loved by consumers and would do well in the market. From there, the retailer placed its order for this specific style. Without the consumer insights community, our team would not have been able to show the success that style would have and would not have been able to assist the brand in selling the shoe to the retailer.”  

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