The state of retail is in flux, with e-commerce on the rise and big-box chains on an increasingly noticeable decline. For brands, this means that it’s becoming more challenging to reach local consumers in a meaningful way. National brands looking to receive more exposure locally should rethink the way they provide their specialty retailers with digital marketing support.
With their influence on local communities, expert product knowledge, and superior service, specialty retailers expose brands in a premium way. Leading manufacturers in the outdoor industry have already begun to make necessary changes in order to equip them with the tools and resources they now need to succeed.
As we recently announced, Arc’teryx and Osprey Packs (as well as SmartWool) have joined the growing list of leading outdoor brands to partner with Promoboxx in order to connect and align with their local retailers. With their addition (joining long-time customers like Timberland and Trek Bikes), a trend is growing clearer: the outdoor industry is taking the reins in working to innovate the way specialty retailers are being supported digitally.
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According to the 2016 Independent Business Survey, independent retailers outperformed big boxes in 2015, experiencing healthy sales growth overall, with revenue growing an average of 4.7 percent and a 3.1 percent gain during the holiday season. These figures contrast sharply with the performance of many national retail chains and overall holiday retail sales, which rose just 1.6 percent in December, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Another big ripple in the retail landscape came recently when Sports Authority filed for bankruptcy, with plans to close 140 stores (a third of its total). Fellow chains like Staples, Kohl’s, and Kmart are all also in the process of closing big box locations. Announcements like this only reinforce the declining popularity of big-box retail chains. Consumers are looking for an authentic local shopping experience that simply isn’t provided by big-box. If this kind of experience is not readily available to them, they’ll turn to e-commerce vendors.
Stan Tracht, president of outdoor apparel and goods store, Environeers, had this to say on why he thinks specialty retailers are now outperforming big-boxes:
“Most of the items we carry here are premium. Even if they carry the same brands, you typically can’t find a lot of these items in the big-box stores. The second and most important reason is that the service we provide to our clients is tenfold that of big-box retailers. We know a lot about the products. We direct people on the right purchases so that they don’t waste their money. I think it really comes down to service. When you go into a big-box, it’s basically just about price and what they have in stock.”
As opposed to big boxes, specialty retail shops offer customers a personalized shopping experience with employees that are knowledgeable and engaged. These retailers find themselves at a critical juncture, offering the only credible in-store alternative to e-commerce.
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Out of the turning tides of the retail landscape and the greater focus on specialty retail has come an opportunity to innovate the way brands think about retailer support, and a number of top outdoor brands are already on their way.
This quote from an interview we conducted with Sarah Harper Burke, Retail Marketing Manager at Osprey Packs, perfectly sums up the state of retailer support in the outdoor industry (and where it needs to go):
“I think the outdoor industry is at a very sophomoric stage of finding unique opportunities to help our retailers thrive. It’s a challenging time to be an outdoor specialty retailer. As that business shifts, we need to do more and we need to do better to ensure that they not only survive but that they remain competitive and relevant to our consumers. All of us really need to step up and figure out something that can change the game and allow us to be better resources for our retail partners.”
Sarah’s inspiring call to action is affirmed by Osprey Packs’ recent partnership with Promoboxx to help them further connect and align with their specialty retailers.
[Tweet “”All of us really need to step up and figure out something that can change the game.” – @OspreyPacks”]
As brands that depend on the success of specialty retail shops, Arc’teryx and Osprey Packs understand the importance of providing their retail partners with the best marketing tools to help them succeed.
Through the Promoboxx platform, these leading outdoor brands invite their retailers to participate in marketing campaigns that contain striking brand content. Specialty retailers are then able to easily promote this content across their digital channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, website, email).
The marketing content is automatically co-branded to highlight both the brand and the retailers’ local store. While this allows Arc’teryx and Osprey to empower their specialty retailers to connect with local consumer audiences, it also communicates their brand stories with professional, consistent messaging.
Take a look at some of the awesome co-branded content for recent Arc’teryx and Osprey campaigns below:
Here’s what Kent Hawkins, North America Key Accounts Marketing Manager at Arc’teryx, had to say about supporting its retailers:
“It’s not uncommon for our retailers to work with 50 or more brands, yet many don’t have dedicated marketing teams…they’re focused on running their businesses. Promoboxx helps us empower our retail partners by giving them the ability to select, customize and share quality content on a regular basis – all with just a few simple clicks.”
Stan Tracht of Environeers commented on why he likes using Promoboxx:
“The kind of content I look to use on our our digital channels is the type of stuff that you have to get from a manufacturer. We literally have to drag it out of them most of the time, so Promoboxx is an awesome tool to have.”
By partnering with Promoboxx, Arc’teryx and Osprey are helping their retailers to thrive in today’s digital age and meaningfully engage with local consumers.
Support your specialty retailers with a simple digital marketing solution like Promoboxx. Engage more local consumers with your content, drive sales. It’s that simple. Request a demo today >