Umbro plans new global website combining social, webzine and e-tail

Sports kit manufacturer and global brand Umbro has its eyes set on a new website that merges social media and eCommerce with a ‘webzine’ editorial voice.

Umbro, which is owned by US-based Iconix Brand Group, will develop the site with a new content management system (CMS) that gives it centralised governance of content across its international sites. The idea is to be able to introduce updates and campaigns more efficiently than it can today.

Manchester agency Absurd has been appointed as a digital partner to create the new global web platform, which will replace its existing portal. The agency is kicking off the project with user insight and audience research, which it said will help shape the new look and function of the site.

It is expected to be a brand showcase, but will aim to convert sales by driving consumers to Umbro’s local eCommerce platforms around the globe. For instance, the global site will direct those shopping in Italy to the local site there which is built on eCommerce platform provider Kooomo’s technology, and was launched earlier in 2020.

Helene Hope, Umbro’s head of global brand marketing, commented: “Our aim is to create a site that communicates brand and product stories to our target consumer in an exciting and engaging way, bringing our brand position and tone to life.

“Working with our teams around the world and drawing on their initiatives, we will create a truly global, varied and multi-dimensional narrative that is a cross-over between social, webzine and e-tail.”

Absurd said the new site CMS will use machine learning and Microsoft Azure to translate content, allowing it to be reviewed by Umbro teams in their local markets.

Earlier this year, Absurd brought to life two Umbro microsites, including Not Just For Pros, which supported grassroots football by offering visitors a chance to win sports kit if they submitted online videos. The microsites will be launched again once coronavirus-enforced lockdown measures have eased in the UK.

Oliver Bailey, co-founder of Absurd, said: “Umbro is a huge Manchester success story, having operated from the region since 1924, and it’s great that they’ve selected to work with our Manchester-based team for this prestigious programme of digital transformation.”