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LETS GET DOWN TO BUSINESS.

Question :
Helloy name is Hamish and I’m 22 years old I’m currently one of 2 directors at Extreme Outdoors NZ. We are a retail online store for camping tramping and outdoors equipment. You can read about us here  extremeoutdoors.co.nz I would first off like to know how we can get access to expand our range and move into being a proper online store like macpac or kathmandu? We have been told no by so many suppliers since we are small and don’t have a physical shop meaning they don’t want to know is. 2nd is how do we build brand awareness and increase our sales it seems we have waves of sales and can have weeks where we sell nothing at all. I would really like the opportunity to work alongside someone with experience and knowledge in the outdoor equipment industry to help us get our ball rolling more. .

Question submitted 28/09/20 @ 07:11am
Industry: Business Growth
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  • Hi Hamish! First off: looking at your website and the causes you support through your company, you have the foundation of something really great which I have no doubt more people would love to support. Since you’re a young business owner and passionate about supporting your community, I’m sure there are many marketing opportunities you can network your way into with a bit more strategy.

    My first suggestion is to boost your social media presence I see that you have a Facebook page, but have you considered creating an instagram? On LinkedIn, it’s also difficult to see your company your “story” (which is much more obvious looking at your webpage.) To get yourself a strong marketing baseline I’d suggest the following:

    1. Create an instagram (if you haven’t already) and structure ±6 posts that each have a “story” or interesting piece of information about your company. Some ideas: a profile of you and your co-director, who you are and why you started the company. A review of a piece of gear and why you love it/sell it on your site. Your favourite trail and tips for someone who might want to camp or hike on it, etc. Consider useful content that someone would come across and find interesting and authentic, instead of it being seen as “advertising”

    2. On instagram, follow all your local outdoors outlets and brands, vendors who provide tourism and outdoor activities, and business groups in the communities you’re part of. Following people helps them to see that you’re invested in getting to know them, and you have something to contribute.

    3. Make a company page on LinkedIn that reflects the same content you have on your website. This way it’s easier for people to find you (and you appear more credible to vendors like macpac and kathmandu if you would like to become a reseller of their products.)

    4. Set goals around number of followers you would like to attain, number of views of your LinkedIn page and also views of your website (all things you can track) . Come up with ideas for campaigns to increase these numbers over short periods of time – ex: a sale, a story or set of content you plan to publish over 2 weeks – then measure the results. Do this for 4-6 weeks and every 2 weeks try something new. Get scientific about it, and figure out what works best.

    If you follow some of the advice above, you should get a bit more momentum going! Best of luck, and if you’d like any more specific advice, feel free to reach out: shell.claire.allbon@gmail.com

    I agree with Michelle, you have a great story and there is momentum in New Zealand to buy from small business so you need to get the story out there. You need to be where your customers are, so join Facebook Groups where your customers may hang-out. I did a social media course covering Facebook, Instagram, Linked-In etc right down to the technicalities of how the algorithms work etc and it was enlightening. Data is your friend. Try and find out why you sold lots some weeks and virtually nothing on other weeks – what happened both internally and externally in your business when it seemed to flow in. Maybe there are some not so well known NZ brands that would be more friendly to working with you (like Mons Royale from Wanaka, or Hikers Wool) who have great product and want more presence.

    Hi Hamish

    Some good suggestions from the other experts on how to build your brand and store.

    I’m involved in the outdoor and sporting goods space in both the wholesale and direct to consumer channels. I’d be happy to jump on a call with you to chat through a few of your challenges and potential strategies. Macpac and Kathmandu are great businesses to aspire to. However, they sell very few other brand’s products and are examples of an omnichannel business model. Meaning they own the end to end production, sale, and distribution of their brands. So would be a different business model to your current setup.

    A few suggestions below on how to get quality brands.

    – Quality brands are always going to be protective of where their products are sold. Particularly in a small market like New Zealand. The best place to start is with brands that will take you on. They may not be your first choice brands but will get you an assortment in your chosen categories. Once you get a track record for selling products and have quality digital metrics to show reach/value other brands will take notice.
    – Online only can be a little bit of a challenge. As most of what you can do online, brand owners can do with their own D2C channels (website). If you’re persisting with online-only, the best thing to do is prove value outside of just being a website. Can you look at providing a different kind of service and be experts in the space? Website chat, personal shopper, product reviews, content, etc. Check out backcountry.com in the US as a retailer that does this well.
    – “Dropship” has become a very popular model for online-only due to Alibaba and Amazon. This is fine for some categories but for quality outdoor products its a model that isn’t very popular. Most quality brands want retailers to order and pay for products to share risk with them. It’s about the partnership between the brand and the retailer. Similar to the above you need to be able to prove value and hold product.

    If you want to contact me for a chat my email is andrew@elmntlgroup.com

    Cheers

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