SNEWS Qs: Ben Saunders on Nemo’s partnership to sell ‘complementary’ brands

In the ever-evolving landscape of outdoor e-commerce and marketing, we were intrigued by a new approach introduced by the folks at Nemo Equipment.
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In the ever-evolving landscape of outdoor e-commerce and marketing, we were intrigued by a new approach recently introduced by the folks at Nemo Equipment.

The specialty camping brand unveiled a new online platform called the Nemo Collective, where it not only sells its own products, but also those of fellow outdoor brands, offered in a bundle deal.

The idea came about to offer something new and different to online visitors and support peer companies that Nemo believes are taking the right approach to the outdoors, officials said. The first partner brands include Alite Deisngs, Nalgene and Snow Peak.

We tracked down Nemo Sales and Marketing Director Ben Saunders to learn more about the collective, what Nemo can learn from the experience and whether retailers might feel it another invasion on their turf.

How did the idea for the Nemo Collective come about?
It originated when we were talking about adding content to our site, something that was innovative, new and fresh. Our hope is that consumers will come to Nemo for interesting new content and suggestions on gear, and ultimately develop an awareness and passion for our brand that grows our success with all of our partners. We talk a lot about ‘improving the experience of adventure’ and wanted to help our customers by suggesting products that we thought fit this idea. If we have a customer that is a loyal fan of the brand then why not tell them about other products in our space that we think would be neat to check out?

How did you pick the brands to partner with?
The brands we picked for our launch were brands that we thought fit the above idea and also with which we have existing relationships. We plan on rotating the collective offering throughout the year with an array of products we think the NEMO customer would find interesting.

How is the inventory and fulfillment from the other brands being handled?
Nemo is purchasing inventory from the partners and selling the pairings at suggested retail. The quantities are limited and the idea is that the pairings and partners in the Collective will change with the seasons.

Are they buying and selling your gear in a similar manner on their sites?
No, the Collective is available exclusively at nemoequipment.com.

So what's the benefit for Nemo?
We think pairing Nemo with other likeminded brands will be beneficial to all partners involved. By promoting the Collective through our respective channels, we’ll increase brand exposure. Nemo will introduce new brands to its users and the partner brands will do the same for Nemo [through co-marketing].

What do you say to your outdoor specialty retail partners, who might feel like its infringing on their business?
We are selling the packages at suggested retail pricing. Our goal is to enrich the customer’s experience from the website to the mountains. We believe that strategic partnerships are good for business and good for the end user. We are not trying to infringe on our retail partners and don’t believe the Collective does that. There’s a certain trust and respect customers have of the brands they are loyal to. Some of those customers may be curious as to what brands their favorite brand would recommend. With the Collective, we’re sharing that.

Could you offer the same bundles to retailers?
We’ve had feedback from several retailers that selling an experience package is a good idea and something they might be interested in doing as well.

What else does Nemo stand to learn through the collective?
I think Nemo will learn more about its customers through the Collective. I’m sure our customers will suggest different types of products that they’d like to see paired with our gear and as we see which pairings are successful, we’ll be better able to tailor future packages. It may also give us new insight into how our customers are using our products and what sort of adventures they are going on.

--David Clucas

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