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Sprinting Ahead on Customer Experience

Combining an ecommerce ecosystem with a global direct-to-consumer strategy, Astound helps Puma sprint ahead of the competition



In the field of big-name sports lifestyle brands, geographic reach and unparalleled customer experiences determine who wins or loses at retail. So when brands look to expand their distribution by selling through wholesalers, they sacrifice their personal relationships with consumers. This was the quandary that Puma faced. The 70-year-old footwear and apparel company was ceding ground to Nike and Adidas, both of which were leveraging large advertising budgets and locks on third-party retailers to dominate the performance-apparel industry.


Looking to circumvent the competition and build closer relationships with consumers, Puma asked Astound first to examine the apparel company’s global marketing and technology infrastructure, and then to create an ecommerce ecosystem that could support a global direct-to-consumer (D2C) strategy. Included in the effort would be a universal platform and customer experience (CX) that could amplify Puma’s brand-marketing activities and be customized for each of Puma’s sites. Astound would also optimize Puma’s mobile experience and empower its marketing team to execute local and worldwide digital campaigns.


Working with Puma to understand its marketing direction, business goals, and digital challenges, we devised a holistic plan to create a stable tech foundation for its ecommerce business. Puma’s sites were on different back-end systems with varying load capabilities; they needed to be consolidated onto a single platform robust enough to handle sales spikes generated by the brand’s “drops”—highly anticipated, limited-edition collaborations. Site CX fluctuated wildly, with inconsistent branding, limitations to the currencies accepted, and content that culturally missed the mark. The cumbersome mobile experience undermined sales, with 70 percent of site traffic coming through tablets and phones yielding less than a 1 percent conversion rate. Finally, the company’s automated marketing service could not create geographically targeted content that would attract, convert, and nurture lifelong value from Puma’s customers.


To transform Puma into a digital-first brand, we migrated its sites onto Salesforce Commerce Cloud, building a kit of parts that could be customized as needed. Upon this framework we laid an interface that could be tailored to the language, currency, and cultural nuances of each geographic market. The system also could host local and global marketing campaigns. We strategically coordinated the sites’ rollout, testing for kinks in the smaller markets before migrating the brand’s high-profile North American and European properties onto the platform. To improve page-load times and the check-out experience for customers on phones and tablets, we introduced Salesforce’s SFRA mobile platform and Einstein artificial intelligence (AI) technology; both allow Puma to collect real-time customer-behavior data and tweak the sites accordingly. Finally, we included in all sites the ability to offer customized and online-only product, such as Arsenal football jerseys in the UK, to lure new and repeat customers to the channel.


Spanning more than eight years and 110 projects, our partnership with Puma continues to catapult the brand ahead of its competitors, driving profits and market share. Replatforming and mobile optimization have reinvented the customer experience, rendering more personal and frictionless the journey from discovery through sale. These technologies also are providing Puma with previously unattainable data about the brand’s consumers, their online behavior, and their product preferences. The resulting insights are generating leads, shaping product development, and improving the efficiency of Puma’s local and global digital-marketing campaigns. Our implementation and continued optimization of the sites is allowing Puma to control its brand story, with the company connecting with consumers by literally and figuratively speaking their language.

  • 2x pre-tax earnings increase
  • 69% faster site load time
  • 50% mobile conversion improvement
  • Image load time on mobile devices has been slashed to less than two seconds



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