INSIGHTS #3 BRAND SUPPORT.

Out of Business

INSIGHTS is an online industry round table. We send questions to board shops around the globe and post their answers. Hopefully the Surf/Skate/Snow industry will benefit and grow from these insights.

QUESTION: Besides not selling online. What would you like to see the brands do that would drive demand and sales back to brick in mortar?

Surf Ride (CA) – Use their social media, email blasts and social media advertising budget to tell customers about our Brick and Mortar and that we have the product.. Selling online DTC is something we can’t avoid, but the fact that brands spend $100,000’s to advertise that they have an online store and to drive traffic to DTC is what really makes me mad!! Spend that money to drive customers into our store, and even our competitors store! I don’t care who’s shop they are going to, just as long as customers are buying from a shop and not online at our retailers.

Sunrise Surf Shop (FL) – Better, stronger collaborations with core shops that have supported you since the beginning. Collaborating on marketing together with strong core shops. All these companies want you to regurgitate their same generic IG posts that they send to every shop and never really make an effort to highlight their retail partners on their end. It seems to be a lot of take take and not much give as far as that relationship goes.

Pit Surf Shop (FL) – Offer specific lines of clothing or accessories to brick and mortar shops, that can not be sold online, or collaborate with shops and help advertise the shops that carry specific brands.

Exchange Collective – Provide retailers with rich marketing materials they can post on social, email blast and such. Along with partner for events, demos and experiences only a retailer can give a customer.

Ohana (FL) – Special products and promotions for brick and mortar.

Surf Connection (CA) – Most of the major brands have taken a strong stance on pricing and having their product go through secondary online retailers which I believe has been helpful not only for us but for the health of their brand. If you can buy it on Amazon/Ebay/etc. for a discounted price it devalues the product and the brand. All the new b2b sites for a/o have been really helpful as well well for us to keep on top of inventory or to order something specifically for a customer. Not sure if the brands can really do anything directly to drive demand back to brick and mortar, that is my responsibility as a store owner to a great deal. Overall I would have to say the brands supporting us in our business with inventory availability, easing purchasing parameters and treating us like a partner and valued customer.

Sweetwater (NC) – In store GWP or promotions.

Fluid Surf Shop (FL) – Help us with special events.

Heritage Surf Shop (NJ) – We already do product collaboration but for smaller stores it is difficult. We always say wholesale only product but we found that to be unrealistic. It’s really partnering up with brands and using each other’s strengths to drive the business in your doors. Each shop is different but as an industry we need to come together in a positive vendor/retailer relationship in order to survive.

Victor Tilley (Former Owner of  Red Hearing Surf. Tasmania, AU) – Realize that we are a major reason for their brand credibility and success. Only sell online through their own sites. Such a hard question to answer, branded products for B&M only hasn’t seemed to have worked so really not sure what else they can do.

Nova Fun Surf Shop (France) – They can help by letting shops return an amount of goods because brands have some outlets, and we don’t. By highlighting retailers on their Facebook, Instagram, and websites. By selling their goods to core surf shops not “big company” retailers.

Drift House Surf Shop (FL) – We love this question! As brick and mortar has all sorts of challenges associated with staying on top of fast changing trends, quick fulfillment, and lower margins with higher overhead, we appreciate the brands that go out of their way to support our efforts for in-store growth. We try to support brands that understand this need for community, and have quite a few who see our efforts within the community and embrace them – There are a few ways brands can help B+M stores: 1. Release limited product only available in retailers. Many brands have offered this program, should stores choose to sell that product is up to them. Keeping a release limited, only having it available within brick and mortar channels, then driving the hype via brand marketing is HUGE in today’s retail environment. 2. Provide support to retailers via event coordination and marketing. We rely heavily on hosting fun events where the community can get involved with the store, our brands, and our employees. When a brand is willing to dive in and assist with providing things to make an event a success, this is a big deal for brick and mortar. From designing graphics for social media advertising + print, to providing gift with purchase items to sweeten the deal for customers, to reps and brand influencers being present during the event makes all the difference. Not all B+M companies have a graphics department who can provide beautiful advertisements etc. 3. Build a better story at the retail level for the store carrying the brand 3. Take care of the employees of the shop who represent your brand. Host educational seminars in a city where shops can bring team members to get educated on the brand, the brand story, the technology within the items the brand offers, as well as the company goals and aspirations for their long term plan. All of this information is useful in selling the brands items at the retail level, and an educated employee is only beneficial to everyone involved. Brands should be supporting store team members with ‘bro-deal’ discount cards, online seminar promotions as well as run in-store sales contests. Dealing out a few promo products to a team in a retail store only builds more loyalty to that brand, which translates to better sales on that brand on the sales floor. This is a small step, but a powerful one. In turn, this drives sales to brick and mortar stores because now you have stoked store staff sharing positive feedback on their experience with a brand directly. Kind of a gorilla marketing technique, I guess. 4. More brands should start doing social media shout-outs for brick and mortar retailers who are pushing the limits and going above and beyond to support branding efforts. Funneling brand advocates to retailers through social channels would increase awareness for a lot of shops – whether this is ‘shop of the day’ or ‘featured retailer of the week’ etc.

Landmark Surf CO (CA) It is about supply and demand. If there’s no demand, who cares where a brand sells? Do you think anyone cares that Vans or Levis sells JC Penney? No – they’ve done a great job and spent a lot of $ creating and maintaining demand for their brands. If there’s demand for the brand, then absolutely no one cares where you sell. The issue today is that there is no demand for surf brands. When you have a sport growing in participants but the same industry declining, there’s a disconnect. Why is there no demand? No innovation, no point of difference and nothing special. No one wants to be part of any of the brand’s “club” today. Kids don’t identify with any brand like the old days when you identified with a particular brand for whatever reason – whether it was athlete, style, product, or something. It will never be like the old days either where everything was learned from the surf mags and at the surf shops in 30 day increments. Going back to the fact that the sport is growing, what brand is actually spending $ to support youth surfing? Surfing is going to be in the Olympics – is there a brand capitalizing on this and saying – “we are a surf brand, we support surfing and amateur surfing? Maybe Vissla. Maybe Former as a new Volcom? What separates a surf brand from another apparel brand – the sport of surfing! But I digress, a brand can drive demand to a retail store and do geo targeted digital marketing promoting the retailers in the particular area. They can make great product that sells out consistently. Then keep supply low increasing the sense of urgency for the consumer to purchase now for fear of missing out if they don’t purchase right then. – It is about supply and demand. If there’s no demand, who cares where a brand sells? Do you think anyone cares that Vans or Levis sells JC Penney? No – they’ve done a great job and spent a lot of $ creating and maintaining demand for their brands. If there’s demand for the brand, then absolutely no one cares where you sell. The issue today is that there is no demand for surf brands. When you have a sport growing in participants but the same industry declining, there’s a disconnect. Why is there no demand? No innovation, no point of difference and nothing special. No one wants to be part of any of the brand’s “club” today. Kids don’t identify with any brand like the old days when you identified with a particular brand for whatever reason – whether it was athlete, style, product, or something. It will never be like the old days either where everything was learned from the surf mags and at the surf shops in 30 day increments. Going back to the fact that the sport is growing, what brand is actually spending $ to support youth surfing? Surfing is going to be in the Olympics – is there a brand capitalizing on this and saying – “we are a surf brand, we support surfing and amateur surfing? Maybe Vissla. Maybe Former as a new Volcom? What separates a surf brand from another apparel brand – the sport of surfing! But I digress, a brand can drive demand to a retail store and do geo targeted digital marketing promoting the retailers in the particular area. They can make great product that sells out consistently. Then keep supply low increasing the sense of urgency for the consumer to purchase now for fear of missing out if they don’t purchase right then.

Are you a retailer that wants to join the conversation? Email us at buildingtherevolution@gmail.com

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