Axis Outdoor, the distributor of Granger's Waterproofing and Dryzone Boot Dryers, has decided to enlist the assistance of retail staff in gathering product feedback through the development of the company's new Test Team program. The goal of this program is to develop an active exchange of information and feedback between the retail sales force and the Axis Outdoor office. Axis Outdoor will gather the information and when appropriate, communicate it to its manufacturing partners to help them better design and develop product specifically for the U.S. market.
Mike Curtis, general manager of Axis Outdoor, told SNEWSÂ®, "Too often there is a breakdown in the link between the consumer and the manufacturer. We see our role as distributor to include being the conduit linking the consumer and the manufacturer's development group. The program gives the salesperson the ability to be an active participant in the product development process.
"While we operate in a global market -- there are idiosyncrasies that exist between local markets. These unique market needs can be easily addressed when information is gathered at the front line and communicated through the distribution channel to the manufacturer," added Curtis. "Armed with this valuable information, the distributor and the manufacturer can determine the best blend of product, packaging and message to effectively service the local market."
We asked Curtis how many retailer staff members he was looking for as members of his Test Team and he told us, "The more the merrier."
To become a member of the team, all a retail staff member has to do is work for a retailer that is an authorized dealer of product Axis Outdoor distributes -- Grangers for one. Curtis will expect periodic reports to be submitted of the performance of not only Axis-distributed products, but also competitors' products related to the ease of selling the product as well as perceptions regarding the value of the product, its packaging, its pricing and customer feedback about the product. Curtis will also want retail staff input about new product ideas. He promises that any paperwork will be simple to fill out.
And what do members of the Test Team get in return? Basically, free product on a regular basis. In addition, for every product evaluation submitted, Test Team members will be entered into a drawing for an adventure of some sort. For example, in 2005, the winner of the first drawing will be awarded an all-expenses paid, week-long sea kayaking trip off Vancouver Island.
Those interested in becoming a member of the Axis "Test Team" should email the company at firstname.lastname@example.org.