BOB™ Sets a Superior Standard in the Stroller Market

BOB™ Sets a Superior Standard in the Stroller Market With High-Performance, Specialty Products Popular Jogging Stroller Company Refuses to Manufacture Commodities to Make Sales
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Even as the American birth rate drops, the children's products market continues to stroll forward at an alarming pace, with sales of strollers, cribs, car seats and other infant, toddler and preschool furniture and accessories expected to reach nearly $10 billion in 2010*. Not surprisingly, the market has been flooded with product, creating an environment where many manufacturers clamor for their share by selling commodity items that lack superior function, yet offer the most features at the lowest price.

A company that's not running to join this less-than-consumer-friendly competition? BOB, creator of the Sport Utility Stroller and manufacturer of popular specialty jogging strollers and accessories. Despite the many sales opportunities available in the burgeoning stroller market, the Boise, ID-based company sets its sights on just a small segment: the informed consumer that looks for the highest level of performance and quality when it comes to a product; not just the bargain baby carrier with the most bells and whistles.

“Our strategy is to create unique specialty products of superior quality,” said Roger Malinowski, president and co-founder of BOB. “We have no aspirations to create a $29.99 umbrella stroller sold in a big-box store. We are better-suited to create outstanding products that provide years of service and are a pleasure to use.”

Subsequently, BOB spends little time focusing on the commodity items competitors are developing for the mass market and instead expends energy on understanding its target consumers' distinctive needs. According to Malinowski, the specialty customer is typically a more serious stroller user, and therefore seeks a higher level of performance and specific features that meet his/her unique lifestyle.

Although all BOB strollers start with a specific set of key features, including a patented suspension system, a padded, reclining seat and an adjustable tracking mechanism, each model also includes its own unique elements. For example, the serious runner's Ironman offers an ultra-lightweight frame and slick road tires; the urban-specific Revolution 12” AW boasts a more compact design, smaller tires and a maneuverable, swiveling front wheel; and the Stroller Strides Fitness Stroller, designed for women who want to turn their everyday walk into a workout, includes a special handlebar console complete with exercise tubing and a fitness manual.

“Many competitors' approach to design is to offer a feature in order to compete, whereas BOB's approach is to offer design elements tailored to specific customer needs,” said Malinowski. “Instead of trying to build the perception of value by offering the most features at the lowest price, and therefore sacrificing product quality, we focus on a design solution that offers a particular feature or set of features that customers actually value.”

It's this intense focus on valuable features that's resulted in the many innovations BOB has contributed to the stroller market over the years. In introducing the Sport Utility Stroller in 1998 with a patented suspension system, BOB expanded strollers' usability on a wide variety of terrains – not to mention providing a more comfortable ride for passengers; and the lockable, swiveling front wheel found on its popular Revolution finally provided parents with a stroller that could easily maneuver around town and quickly convert to a jogging/ off-road mode. Suffice to say, BOB's valuable innovations are quick to be “borrowed” by competitors.

“From 10 feet away, our competitors' products can sometimes look very similar to ours,” said Malinowski. “Yet the combination of our customer-driven innovation, level of details in design, intense testing protocol, and meticulous quality control ensure our products work better and provide many more years of service. It's a more expensive development process than copying, but staying innovative is a core value at BOB that will never change.”

And although BOB strollers are built from a performance gear standpoint, as opposed to those designed to artificially attract with ineffective features and frills, they continue to offer the perfect combination of fashion and function. The entire design staff is comprised of outdoor enthusiasts who understand the importance of high-performing recreational gear; yet the active team is also savvy to modern trends across several industries, ensuring company designs are not just functionally superior, but also cutting edge and contemporary.

“We're always striving to improve at what we do,” said Malinowski. “We take great pride in our products, as they're a statement of what we believe in. BOB has always been a trend setter and we'll always have new ideas in the pipeline to continue in this vein.”

Look for BOB Strollers and accessories in baby stores and sporting goods stores nationwide. BOB formed in 1994 as one of the first manufacturers of single-wheeled bicycle cargo trailers. As the founders of the company became fathers, they designed and developed the first Sport Utility Stroller in 1998. For more information, visit the website at www.bobgear.com.

*Packaged Facts Abstract (February, 2006)
Ironman and M-Dot are registered trademarks of the World Triathlon Corporation, used by permission.
Stroller Strides and Stroller Strides logo are registered trademarks of Stroller Strides LLC, used by permission.

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