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Another Love: Under Armour

Another Love: Under Armour

It’s time for me to talk about a new love (although Amazon will always be my first love). Under Armour. Oh yes. The retailer that’s giving every sports clothing/accessory company out there a run for their money. The retailer that’s headquartered right here in Baltimore and whose mission is “to make all athletes better.”

You know them for their precision tech sports wear and for outfitting professional sports teams. I know them (and love them) for their data. Ready? Put your nerd hat on.

As a retailer, Under Armour collects data on its customers like many companies. However, its acquisition of health-tracking app MyFitnessPal in 2015 has allowed the company to take data acquisition to the next level while simultaneously creating a unique experience for its clients.

The acquisition cost Under Armour $475 million but it provided them with an extremely popular weight loss app that its co-founder Mike Lee said had the “largest database that’s ever existed of what people eat.” Combine those capabilities with millions of users around the world, and you have a data goldmine.

Kurt Kendall, global head of consumer engagement for Under Armour, says they have launched a “single customer view initiative.” In a session titled “Under Armour: Disruptive Performance Through a Single View of the Consumer” presented at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show, Kendall said the end goal of this initiative is to personalize every digital interaction anywhere in the world.

The company hopes to use this data to personalize their customers’ experiences from shopping online to running outside to consumers entering a store. Many of you have already experienced online shopping personalization (ahem, Amazon) but what if an app could track your run – how you run, your cadence, whether you pronate or not, distance etc. and then could take that data and create an incredible in-store experience for you when you walk into an UnderArmour store. Talk about taking personalization to new levels. Sales people could focus in on exactly what type of clothing/shoes/accessories you need, making it easier to close the deal. And really, all of this falls neatly within Under Armour’s mission to make all athletes better.

Kendall refers to Under Armour becoming a “math house,” meaning everyone in the company uses data to inform every decision that’s made. According to Kendall, it’s the cultural piece of the digital transformation of Under Armour. This is cool stuff.

Can Under Armour create an app that zaps the calories accumulated from eating lunch while I sit at my desk, “burning” through emails?