Digital-first Sweaty Betty sprints past competitors

Women’s activewear brand Sweaty Betty is reaping the rewards of smart investment in its digital presence and interaction with online customers during the Covid-19 pandemic

The past 18 months have seen global retail disrupted with an intensity felt by few other sectors, amplifying the essential nature of online engagement and accelerating the urgency to embrace a digital-first, data-driven approach focused squarely on the customer. Brands that continued to invest wisely in digital during the pandemic have been rewarded by rapid growth in difficult conditions, including premium activewear and lifestyle brand Sweaty Betty.

Having previously been supported by digital commerce agency Tryzens in creating a new online store in 2018, Sweaty Betty has worked with the agency to expand its ecommerce capabilities. When the pandemic struck and countries went into lockdown, dramatically reshaping the retail landscape, the company acted quickly to ensure it was able to deliver the best possible experience across channels in an online-only environment.

Recognising that experience should lead, supported by technology, Sweaty Betty embarked on an entire site refresh. User experience research and observing customers’ reactions to different designs provided valuable qualitative information on top of the significant wealth of quantitative data Sweaty Betty already held on, for example, shopping behaviour and abandoned basket rates. One insight the research revealed was that most customers prefer personalised recommended items visible for purchase in their basket at the start of a shop.

Guided by the insights, Tryzens helped Sweaty Betty optimise a new basket design that shows recommended products when a basket is empty, tailored by how the user shops and popular styles. The site now has a seamless one-page checkout with payment and delivery options, including click and collect from Waitrose stores.

In line with its global growth ambitions, Sweaty Betty also launched a dedicated German site and a cross-border solution that enables it to deliver to more than 200 countries and provide a localised experience, including currency, pricing, delivery and tax, for 120 markets. This has fuelled growth in international transactions by more than 100%.

“We always build our experiences with our customer in mind, though with so many avenues to explore, it becomes invaluable to have the right advice at the right time from your digital partner,” says Annabel Thorburn, senior vice-present of ecommerce at Sweaty Betty. “Our partnership has a high level of trust, communication and alignment, which means we work towards the same goals and achieve them with agility.”

Thanks to its digital-first mentality and awareness of consumer trends, clients of Tryzens grow at two-times the industry average. As businesses look to connect with customers on a deeper level, driving loyalty and retention, one key ecommerce trend that Tryzens anticipates accelerating in importance is personalisation of the user experience.

In a recent study by Tryzens, just 6% of British consumers said they didn’t know personalisation existed, indicating people are well accustomed to targeted experiences. However, sentiments towards it are mixed. While 37% describe it as “fantastic”, at least in principle, one in five call it “annoying” and 12% say it is “creepy”.

The research also revealed a demographic split. While consumers aged between 25 and 34 call personalisation “fantastic and helpful”, only 13% of over-65s agree. Meanwhile, six in 10 younger consumers say they want their shopping experience to be specific to them, compared with just 34% in the older group. Over half of all respondents say personalisation enables them to see the best offers and content. As millennials become the most dominant consumer group, it’s clear there will be growing demand for personalisation.

“Personalisation provides an experience that is compelling, positive and engaging,” says Dan Fountain, managing director for the UK and Ireland at Tryzens. “Experiences need to become more natural, intuitive and adapted to each customer, from browsing to purchase method and even delivery preferences. The key for any business is to really understand customer sentiment and preference at an individual level, and to take that learning and craft it into every touchpoint with your brand for a seamless experience that resonates for them.”

To download Tryzens’ personalisation customer survey with exclusive insights from over 2000 respondents, visit

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