SNEWS® and 3point5 partner to develop on-line training content for retailers

3point5, the online training community of retailers, manufacturers and retail sales staff, has turned to SNEWS® to create training content and what it calls “Edu-Games” from the growing and highly referenced SNEWS® library of How-to-Sell training guides. SNEWS® will be the only member of the trade media providing training content related specifically to the outdoor and fitness markets to 3point5.
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3point5, the online training community of retailers, manufacturers and retail sales staff, has turned to SNEWS® to create training content and what it calls “Edu-Games” from the growing and highly referenced SNEWS® library of How-to-Sell training guides. SNEWS® will be the only member of the trade media providing training content related specifically to the outdoor and fitness markets to 3point5.

Retail training has long been a vital part of the online community developed by SNEWS®, making the partnership with 3point5 a natural one.

"We know sales staff members are hungry for and in need of regular education about how to sell products, basic sales skills and techniques, management guidelines, as well as buying tools and merchandising advice," said Michael Hodgson, president of SNEWS®. "The articles in our training center expand on product information and sales tips and techniques in a readable and understandable manner and, from the traffic we see, are clearly very popular."

A strong believer in the online training concept that Paul Kirwin launched back in 2004, the SNEWS® team has enjoyed watching the 3point5 program develop.

"When Duncan Robins joined the team as its CEO earlier this year, our interest turned from one of observation to one of partnership,” Hodgson added. “With the immediate changes at 3point5 that Robins was directing, we realized we had a significant role to play in supporting our mutual goals of furthering the training of our most valuable asset – the retail staff.”

Robins, a veteran sporting goods executive who has reinvigorated and turned around several companies, quickly began to make moves to strengthen 3point5 in both the near and long-term. One of those moves was to partner with top outside experts who were best-in-class and category leaders who would co-develop additional training modules and content.

"SNEWS® is the category leader and influencer in terms of providing news, information and training-related content to the outdoor and fitness markets, making it an ideal partner for 3point5," said Robins.

The SNEWS® team will, in essence, become much like an adjunct professor, teaching everything that could be called introductory to graduate-level courses on the 3point5 “campus,” Robins said.

"3point5 is clear on what it is, and that's an online, incentive-based, educational entertainment company," said Hodgson. "And the company gets that in order to be influencing today’s influencers -- the retail sales staff -- it will require training that’s interesting, interactive, rewarding and available anytime a staffer wants to log in. We are very excited to now be part of that community, helping 3point5 further cement its place as the leader in online training."

Content and Edu-Games developed by SNEWS® is expected to begin appearing on 3point5 by mid- to late October 2007.

"We are looking forward to SNEWS® becoming an integral part of our training community, and relying on their unmatched expertise and industry experience to develop content that inspires, entertains and educates – as only SNEWS® can," said Robins.

With the support of SNEWS®, 3point5, which currently serves the outdoor, bike, snow, tennis, and golf industries, will be expanding its training community to include the fitness market in 2008.

About 3point5
3point5 is an online campus community that is rapidly expanding to accommodate registered retail sales professionals, manufacturers, retailers, and other industry participants seeking to be part of a fun, secure place to train, access information, and interact with each other. On the retail side alone, 3point5 is approaching 35,000 registered retail sales people, representing over 5,000 stores. Over 700,000 Edu-Games, the timed tests that sales people take to advance in the 3point5 program, have been taken by sales staff. Currently, 31 leading brands are represented on 3point5. A veteran in the sporting goods industry, Duncan Robins led the reinvigoration of the Yakima brand as CEO and the hockey, football and medical divisions of Easton Sports as a division manager. More recently, he was CEO of California Tan, turning that operation to cash flow positive and selling it to a larger competitor.

Participating manufacturers in the 3point5 community include: Arc’teryx, Bell Powersports, Bending Branches, Carlisle, Chaco, Cycleops, Dansko, Easton Cycling, Extrasport, GoLite Footwear, WL Gore, Gregory, Head Skis, Head Racquet Sports, Keen, Marmot, MacGregor Golf, Mountain Hardwear, Necky Kayaks, Ocean Kayak, Old Town Canoe, Patagonia, Pearl Izumi, Saris, Smith, Suunto, Teva, The North Face and Thinsulate.

About SNEWS® (Specialty News)
SNEWS® strives to "create community through communication" and is the only industry news and information source serving both the outdoor and fitness markets. Along with its GearTrends® and eFitBiz magazines, GearTrends® website and Law Review, SNEWS® includes a network of sources that are the acknowledged industry standards for late- breaking insider news, trend reporting and business education to the outdoor and fitness industries as well as a gateway for consumers via GearTrends.com. Offering respected industry insight and expertise for nearly 25 years, SNEWS® reaches out with news, analysis, and retailer training that is inspiring and honest. For more information and to “Wake up to Real News,” visit www.snewsnet.com.

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