Asics, the Japanese sportswear giant whose global sales have been flat this year, updated its mobile website to create an app-like shopping experience on smaller smartphone screens, per news made available to Mobile Marketer. The website relies on Qubit Aura, a marketing personalization technology that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to customize what mobile users see on the Asics mobile site.
Smartphone users who visit the Asics mobile website will see an icon that takes them to an integrated shopping environment similar to social networks. These interactions are collected, analyzed and used in real-time to create a more personalized experience for each Asics customer, Qubit said.
Last month, Asics partnered with the popular DJ Steve Aoki on a campaign called "I move me" intended to widen the brand's appeal among younger consumers. As running becomes less popular in America, the company needs to expand its core customer base, Asics America CEO Gene McCarthy told Business Insider at the time.
Asics has struggled with declining sales in the U.S., Europe and its home country, Japan, pushing the brand to reinvent itself and make a bigger push into retail settings that it can control. That means positioning its sportswear as hipper and cooler to stoke appeal with younger U.S. consumers. While Asics can boast that 30% of runners in the New York City Marathon wear its shoes, running overall is losing popularity as baby boomers age.
Asics clearly recognizes that appealing to younger consumers and remaining competitive with other sportswear brands means that it needs to improve its mobile web presence and design. The company has a catalog of thousands of products, but mobile users with increasingly short attention spans aren't willing to spend a lot of time browsing the digital racks. Qubit's technology intends to help shoppers find products more quickly on the mobile web and ideally keep them engaged long enough to make a purchase decision.
Qubit last month officially introduced Qubit Aura, a mobile-oriented tool that lets smartphone users browse a personalized selection of products on a site. The AI-powered layer sits on top of a mobile website and changes the products a user sees based on behavior. Diane von Furstenberg, Wolf & Badger and ColourPop were among the 20 companies that tested Qubit Aura in July.
Creating an app-like experience for mobile websites might becoming a more popular trend with marketers as downloads of standalone branded apps dwindle. Consumers are spending more time in apps and less time on the mobile web overall, but a small handful of apps — largely in the gaming and social media categories — dominate their attention, making it difficult for brands to stand out.