Competition is set to continue for the fashion dollar and despite a few false starts, retailers are seeking to capitalise on the growth of internet shopping as tech-savvy, time-poor consumers increasingly head online to shop.

While iconic girls fashion brand Sportsgirl enjoys strong market leadership, it identified the need to elevate the brand online and offer a premium ecommerce retail experience, enabling customers to shop online for the first time.

While Sportsgirl had an existing website (essentially a brand catalogue), research via focus groups showed its target market – females aged 14-30 – spend a significant amount of time socialising and shopping online. The research provided insights into

  • online buying behaviour
  • how to influence purchase decisions and
  • now to ‘socialise’ the online shopping experience

These consumer insights provided Citrus with a number of website re-development and communication directives to guide the digital campaign:

  • The younger audience wanted the ability to browse product detail and then bring their parents online to finalise purchase
  • Sportsgirl customers want to know what’s hot and how to get it first; the site needed to allow for quick access to product
  • The site needed to offer easy returns (at any bricks and mortar store) for any item bought online
  • Older, time-poor Sportsgirl shoppers have craved the ability to buy product online rather than in-store

During the strategic planning process, Citrus also identified the key business, brand and consumer drivers to optimise the ecommerce experience and knit together all the customer touchpoints to drive traffic to the online store.


  • Maintain and enhance Sportsgirl’s brand leadership with its target market
  • Differentiate from competitors and open up a new sales channel through a branded ecommerce experience
  • Replicate the Sportsgirl in-store shopping experience online
  • Acquire new customers and get closer to existing customers
  • Generate revenue for the business

Communication strategy

The key objectives of the campaign were to create a fun, easy and exciting place to shop online, generate an emotional connection to the lifestyle needs of customers, and reinforce Sportsgirl’s fashion leadership.

A digital-driven campaign encompassing a branded ecommerce website, social networking, email communications, in-store point of sale and a unique interactive catalogue was implemented to drive traffic and sales online.

The campaign was aimed squarely at Sportsgirl’s ‘sweet spot’ – fashion-forward females aged 14-30 that consume digital media such as websites, email and social networking sites.


The branded ecommerce site went live last November in the lead up to Christmas to capitalise on the peak retail period. The online store featured world-class ecommerce functionality and usability such as a ‘My Favourites’ tab to reduce shopping cart abandonment by allowing shoppers to keep items for later viewing and purchase.

In addition to the ‘shop’ section, which comprised a premium range of clothes and accessories, the site also featured a ‘style me’ section offering a range of tips on what to wear, how to creatively put items together, and must-have pieces. These elements were designed so that girls could easily browse if wanting to feel inspired, or if shopping for something specific it could easily be found online.

The online store also leveraged social networking sites to socialise the shopping experience and drive further brand engagement. Shoppers could add their favourite items to Facebook, giving friends the opportunity to vote on whether an item is ‘hot or not’, providing instant purchase validation.

To further build awareness and drive traffic online, the campaign also integrated in-store promotions, primarily focused on window displays which were created to match the overall creative theme of the site, and a series of point of sale material incorporating subscriber competition sign ups detailing the benefits of shopping online.

To further extend consumer reach, a comprehensive email marketing program was rolled out to target consumers with new product arrivals, key features and articles for styling outfits, and Sportsgirl’s community project with The Butterfly Foundation.

Sportsgirl’s in-store catalogue was also translated online to allow consumers to purchase product after viewing the complete stylised outfit.

The campaign was also supported by outdoor, featuring executions in major capital cities highlighting the key theme for the month and driving traffic in-store.


Since the branded ecommerce website launched last November, online sales has increased by 30 percent each month.

Website traffic and site visitation has also increased significantly, with 7-7.5 minutes the average time spent on the site. More than three million pages are now viewed each month, signaling a deeper brand interaction and customer engagement.

The email marketing program has generated significant uplift in traffic to the online store as Sportsgirl consumers now have the ability to interact and purchase product for the first time.

Overall the campaign has been highly successful in driving sales outside its store network, maintaining and enhancing Sportsgirl’s brand leadership, and bringing the in-store shopping experience alive online.

In addition, Citrus is also the 2008 winner of the Best Online Retail category for Sportsgirl’s branded ecommerce website at the 14th annual AIMIA Awards.

What do you think?

  • Have you bought fromt he online store with Sportsgirl? What was the experience like?
  • Do you think that the concerns over online banking security will continue to play a role in preventing great online retail experiences from taking place?
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