Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2016 - (Page 20)
sat down in the back of their busy Buena Vista shop to fix a big problem. They
were scrambling in disarray, trying to be a store for both paddlers and tourists
in suddenly popular downtown Buena Vista while also running coloradokayak.
com, one of the largest whitewater paddling-gear sites on the web.
formula, but evidence of omnichannel success is emerging as innovative entrepreneurs
pioneer new approaches. With strategies that
defy MBA professors, these savvy retailers,
both big and small, are finding ways to beat
the threats of direct-to-consumer deals and
discounted Amazon sales.
Richmond and Gorby took an atypical tack.
They broke up. Today the two pals operate
separate companies, each pursuing their own
vision while supporting each other's business.
"We still promote each other heavily," said
Gorby from his Salida warehouse a half hour
away from the Buena Vista shop.
The deal has removed the myriad headaches of trying to run both a downtown shop
and a tightly focused online store under the
same management umbrella. Richmond
couldn't stock his store with kayaks in
February and March as he focused on winter
sports, so his presence faded under the everswelling shadow of Goliaths like Backcountry.
com. Gorby couldn't expand his warehouse to
include yoga pants. Consumers wanted both,
and they wanted everything that was online to
be in the store.
"People come in and use our staff as a resource and then, right in front of us, search
Google for a better price," Richmond said.
Now, he can point them to Coloradokayak.
com, and suddenly his whitewater inventory
includes a warehouse down the road. "We can
access their inventory right away and we often
use their warehouse as a purchasing center,"
Richmond said. "I think to be successful in
paddlesports, you need to have all angles running. You need the ability to do shipping and ecommerce, and you need a store where people
can come in and demo stuff."
Richmond needed to stock the store with
sunglasses, flip-flops, T-shirts, women's active wear, and all the stuff that moves in an outdoor shop in a tourist-driven mountain town.
Gorby, the store's e-commerce chief, needed to
cater to its core customers: the swelling ranks
of the whitewater tribe, suddenly surging with
standup paddlers venturing onto rivers.
"We were spinning our wheels and neither
of the entities was really thriving," Gorby said.
It's a common lament, heard from count-
THE CLICK-AND-MORTAR EVOLUTION
David Marchi, who owns Crow's Feet
Commons in Bend, Ore., knows the pain of
losing sales to an online leviathan. But he actually encourages it. Kiosks in his store even
direct customers to a website that isn't his. But
those shoppers are in his store. That's the key,
said Marchi, who sells beer and coffee alongside bikes, boards, and skis. "The most important thing for a brick-and-mortar store is getting people in the door," Marchi said.
at Rock / Creek,
which gutted its
budget in 2014,
pays big dividends.
The constant attrition online retailing inflicts upon brickand-mortar shops is not a new story. But what happens when
those traditional storefronts actually embrace the online world?
Savvy brick-and-mortar retailers are figuring out what it
takes to play in the new wild world of omnichannel retail.
by Jason Blevins
TWO YEARS AGO, COLORADO KAYAK SUPPLY OWNERS CHAD GORBYAND EARL RICHMOND
20 OUTDOOR RETAILER
/ Summer 2016
less shop owners across the country grappling
with the delicate balance of e-commerce and
brick-and-mortar. Throwing mobile capability into the mix has only increased the tension
as more sites need to respond to shoppers who
veer from phone to computer to store.
Building a well-supplied, easily navigated,
financially stable online and physical retail
outlet-a true click-and-mortar store-is
one of the greatest challenges ever faced by
an outdoor retailer. No one has the perfect
Courtesy Rock / Creek
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2016
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2016
Know Your Customer
How I Got Here
From the Road
Outdoor Retailer - Summer 2016