Fender amps up consumer choice
Playing guitar is all about expressing yourself, and Fender Musical Instruments Corp. is taking that concept to new heights online.
On its direct-to-consumer e-commerce site, Fender now offers the “Mod Shop,” a feature that allows customers to design their own custom guitars. In a recent interview with Chain Store Age, Ethan Kaplan, chief product officer of Fender and general manager of Fender Digital, explained how the company is using the Fluid Configure 3D modeling solution to make the customer experience more personal than ever.
“It’s about customization and being modular,” said Kaplan. “Customers can change features like necks, pickups and pick guards. Make the guitar personal to the player and more people will play. Nothing gets people playing more than having a guitar uniquely suited to their preferences.”
Launched in June 2016, the Fender ModShop digital custom guitar studio leverages the Fluid solution’s modeling and imagery capabilities to let the musician see their custom design from all angles as they build it. Performance has been optimized to ensure the customer obtains immediate views of all their configuration selections.
Fluid Configure is also mobile-friendly. The solution is hosted and implemented on a hybrid cloud platform.
“ModShop generates a real-time, 3D illustration of what users configure,” said Kaplan. “Customers can exchange designs with other users and save them to our online gallery, if they want. Cart abandonment is our jumping-off point.”
Once a customer makes a final selection of a custom guitar design, the order is input into Fender’s Demandware e-commerce platform and sent to the company’s factory. An SAP ERP system generates a bill of materials that is sent to the factory floor so workers there can make the necessary modifications to existing product lines.
Initial results after launch included a significant uptick in site traffic, as well as an increase in the average time spent on the Fender site to four minutes. Kaplan also reviewed some other benefits.
“We are generating high social traffic from ModShop,” he said. “Fans exchange guitar ideas on Twitter and give each other ideas for new products. It’s also a way for us to quickly react to customer interest and release new design features.”
eBay marks big milestone in second quarter
eBay beat sales expectations in its second quarter, during which it also crossed an important threshold.
The online marketplace reported that it crossed the one billion live listings mark in the quarter, reflecting its efforts to expand the breadth of selection offered to consumers and the progress it has made on enhancing its shopping platform.
eBay reported net income of $435 million, or 38 cents a share, up from $83 million.
Revenue for the quarter totaled $2.23 billion, up from $2.11 billion in the year-ago period and also better than expected.
The company raise its full year guidance, and said it expects between $8.85 billion and $8.95 billion in revenue for 2016.
“Q2 was another good quarter where we delivered strong results and had acceleration in growth,” said Devin Wenig, president and CEO of eBay Inc. “We are now one year into executing our strategy to provide the best choice, the most relevance and the most powerful selling platform, and there are signs of momentum in our business.”
eBay said it had 164 million active buyers on the site, up from 162 million in the first quarter.
Target in smaller store urban push
Target Corp. is expanding its portfolio of smaller stores.
The chain expects to roll out 14 more of its smaller stores this year, including a 21,000-sq.-ft. location in the Queens borough of New York City, which is opening this week, according the New York Post.
In the fall, Target will open a smaller store in downtown Manhattan, along with one in downtown Brooklyn and another in Queens, the report said. Other stores are planned for Long Island and New Jersey.
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