When ASICS, an athletic apparel retailer best known for its footwear, launched a GlobalDigital division in October 2016, the brand wanted to focus on developing innovative digital technologies that helped it better connect with consumers. But with various international subsidiaries, including ASICS Tiger and outdoor retailer Haglöfs, each with different product management and order management systems, the retailer simply had too many point-to-point connections that were slowing down e-Commerce operations.
In April 2017, the retailer selected the Anypoint Platform, an API management and integration solution from MuleSoft, to open up communication between the disparate systems and enhance customer experiences across its subsidiaries. In just four weeks, the Anypoint Platform enabled ASICS to drive the transition of ASICS Europe B.V. and other divisions to a new e-Commerce platform built on Salesforce Commerce Cloud. The company then rolled out Salesforce Commerce Cloud across its Runkeeper and Haglöfs brands in a subsequent project.
Using the platform, the Global Digital division developed the “ASICS Email API” to streamline communications to customers about order shipments and product inventory changes. The developer teams estimate that the API enables the retailer to complete projects 2.5X faster, since employees now spend less time working on back-end IT solutions and more time on the consumer experience.
“Because that information is flowing through the same application, now we will be able to send out some more reports that our data teams can analyze,” said Phil Connaughton, Director of Engineering at Runkeeper, a fitness tracking app under the ASICS Global Digital banner. “Instead of having to rely on the e-Commerce platform itself for things like inventory, we can now send feeds out to them directly, or process the inventory information before it comes into the e-Commerce platform and let that data team know when we’re out of stock on a certain product.”
By taking an API-led approach, ASICS Global Digital unlocked backend systems and promoted governed access to critical customer information, including real-time inventory, real-time pricing and order status data. Since the team exposed existing IT assets through APIs, ASICS created an application network where systems can be used and reused to rapidly compose new applications.Connaughton is seeking to further improve this process.
“An API-led approach will allow the company to see changes in real time,” Connaughton said. “Using MuleSoft enables us to transition into that API-led approach with partners providing us with product information. Right now, these partners provide that information through a virtual private network under one big file. When we can get these partners to become more API-driven, they can instead send us incremental changes in their product. We can send those changes over to the storefront immediately, as opposed to having to wait and use a batch process that would happen nightly.”
Runkeeper Acquisition Helps ASICS Stay Top-Of-Mind With Customers
ASICS acquired FitnessKeeper, the operator of Runkeeper, for $85 million in March 2016 as a way to help revamp its digital presence. The Runkeeper team helped ASICS launch its Global Digital division, with Runkeeper’s then-COO Dan Smith now running the division as its Senior General Manager.
After seeking to streamline product management systems from different regions, including Japan, the U.S. and Europe, the Runkeeper team noticed MuleSoft aligned well with the experience of its Java-based developers.
“ASICS, when they acquired Runkeeper, was looking to have a continuous relationship with the customer, in this case, the runner,” Connaughton said. “Typically, as a shoe company, the only time the people are thinking about your product is when they’re putting it on or when their sneakers are worn out and they need to buy new ones. Working with a company like Runkeeper allows them to have that constant communication with the consumer, and we can always have the brand at the forefront of their mind.”