As outdoor and snowsports manufacturers and retailers continue to look for new ways to expand their e-commerce platforms, at least two entities are building on the success of the systems they already have in place.
Shopatron, which works with manufacturers to facilitate Internet-based sales that are then fulfilled by their specialty retail partners, reports that sales for snowsports brands in particular are up 53 percent in the third quarter of 2011 as compared to the same period in 2010. The company also reported the addition of 10 new snowsports brands, bringing its total to 80 snowsports manufacturing partners and a fulfillment network of 2,700 snowsports retailers.
“The shift in consumer spending to e-commerce in general is growing robustly, and faster than even the trends forecast, which is wind in the sails for every company in e-commerce right now,” Shopatron CEO and founder Ed Stevens said in an exclusive interview with SNEWS.
Stevens said that continued shift in consumer spending, along with a challenging economic market, has led traditional partners such as manufacturers and retailers to find more ways to work together.
“The rules of business are reverting to old school growth, where instead of planning for 15 percent growth, the bigger brands are planning for single digit growth,” said Stevens. “They realize the best way to do that is to work hard at building relationships with retailers, rather than going into competition with their existing partners.”
Rossignol, one of Shopatron’s existing partners, is using that partnership to support new ventures as well. The ski and snowboard company recently announced that it is now working with the Ski.com travel site, offering discounted equipment deals to the booking agency’s customers.
Guests who book a vacation with Ski.com automatically get a 5 percent discount on any ski or snowboard purchases through the Rossignol online store. All purchases are fulfilled through Shopatron and Rossignol’s existing retail partners.
Tait Wardlaw, Rossignol vice president of marketing and communications, said the partnership gives his brand a new way to advertise skis like the all-mountain Experience line, and also to reach committed customers.
“Ski.com reaches consumers who are often stepping up to a $5,000 to $10,000 vacation, and who all want to know that the condo and the snow and the whole vacation is going to be exactly what they hope it will be,” Wardlaw said. “And right there on the homepage, we’re also communicating to them that they can be on the most ripping skis out there.”
In an era when those same traveling skiers are also opting to rent or demo skis more often than they are buying them, Wardlaw says the new partnership also gives Rossignol a chance to pitch the benefits of ownership to a consumer who may never see a retail sales floor.
“I think Americans still have a pre-disposition towards owning things, especially when they feel it’s exactly suited to what they want to do,” Wardlaw said. “To support that, we also have ten Rossignol Experience centers around the country where they can try the equipment themselves.”
And if they finally decide to buy then, Wardlaw said, that’s to the benefit of Rossignol and its retail partners as well.
“For anybody who skis that often, it certainly becomes more cost-effective to own your own gear,” Wardlaw said. “But they have to want to own it first.”
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