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RedBalloon wraps up big 2015 with surfing Santas

A group of 320 surfing Santas descended on Bondi Beach this week, breaking the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest surf lesson.

RedBalloon and its supplier ‘Let’s Go Surfing’ teamed up for the photo op, capping off a big year for the online retailer which executed a major brand overhaul, updated its online platform and established a clear vision for 2016.

On October 15, RedBalloon cut over to its brand new site, seven or eight minutes after it went live CEO, Nick Baker, breathed a sigh of relief when the first transaction was successfully processed: two Great Ocean Road skydiving packages.

The new digital platform, created by Deepend and powered by Adobe, is designed to bring experiences, such as jumping out of a plane above the Great Ocean Road, to life — rather than just listing the product and price.

“Our purpose is about creating moments,” Baker told Internet Retailing. “That’s based on the fact that we believe experiences are some of the most important elements to people’s lives.”

Baker, a former Tourism Australia marketing boss who took up the role of CEO in March, oversaw the transition to the new platform, which replaced a six-year-old website.

The new site is designed to address digital trends which have emerged, including the prominence of social, mobile and video.

“One of the big trends that has happened on the internet and in e-commerce is the role of pictures, visuals and video,” Baker said.

“We are going from that point where the internet is going from being read to being watched.”

RedBalloon gift

As well as storytelling, the new site includes a reviews platform and is designed for mobile.

Just over 50 per cent of RedBalloon’s traffic comes from mobile devices and, since relaunching the site with a mobile responsive design, conversion rates have gone up Baker said.

“Mobile has cried wolf for many years… but it is the year of mobile, it’s gotten very real and it is the way we are communicating.”

A focus on mobile also underpins RedBalloon’s efforts to personalise and customise its marketing to each individual user.

“Relevance is vital, context is vital and to do that you need data,” Baker said.

The acquisition of data is fundamental to personalisation and “there’s only one device that satisfies that, and that’s mobile,” Baker said.

Throughout 2015, RedBalloon also focused on building up its physical gift offering, targeting a niche for highly personalised products with an element of exclusivity. 

Gourmet and outdoor are two categories which are growing quickly for RedBalloon. The retailer is also expanding its education offering, ie short photography or drawing classes.

RedBalloon plans to relaunch its New Zealand site in April 2016, to service both the domestic market and Aussies traveling to New Zealand.

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