Brands, Retail, & the Post-Pandemic Marketplace

Business as unusual continues….

A year ago, many of the sporting brands we work with were dealing with order cancellations from their retailers. They faced total uncertainty when it came to what the shut-downs would mean for their business, and in-turn they were scrambling to adjust their order books & supply chain to ensure they could ride it out.

Then something totally unexpected happened…..

With travel restricted, restaurants and attractions closed….people had fewer options when it came to the ways they could spend their time….and their money.

And they started buying the stuff needed to cope with this new reality, sports-stuff to be exact — bikes, running shoes, surf boards, new snowboards, skis and every accessory that goes with it. It would seem that the respite from our shut-in was to discover new ways to enjoy the great outdoors!

In hindsight, this makes total sense, but it was far from obvious at the time and not something anyone could easily plan for.

Now with vaccination programs ramping up, we’re on the cusp of getting to the next phase of this pandemic. But the question continues, how do you plan for it?

Consumers have less household debt. They are reporting record savings and in the US, massive stimulus packages promise to put even more money in consumers’ pockets.

We’re also seeing an easing of restrictions, which will means that there will be more customers in stores and getting out there in the world….thank goodness!.

But there is another (running) shoe about to drop —

For the past year, ‘brands’ have had significantly less competition when it comes to earning consumers attention. Slowly however, that consumer is going to be able to start getting back into restaurants, hopping on airplanes, and going to shows and concerts. Are they going to keep up with their new sports and outdoor lifestyle? Was this a real shift in the market or just a reaction to an unprecedented circumstance?

Either way, that piece of ‘the ‘disposable income pie’ is limited, so if you are a brand, the battle to get it is about to ramp up, and you need to be ready. Now, you’re not only going to be in battle to encourage them to buy a product, but fighting to get them to choose your product.

One thing we heard often during the pandemic was how it massively accelerated trends, like the ramping up e-commerce, which is absolutely true. It makes for a great head-line, and highlights the trend towards an omni-channel reality for retail. But we also need to highlight the very important fact that the vast majority of sales still occurred at physical retail, especially in our little sandbox of eyewear, sporting goods and accessories.

So, while we do hope shoppers will continue to flock to stores as restrictions lift, we must all recognize that they are walking through the doors with more options about how they’re going to spend their hard-earned money.

A line we use often around here is that the person who can have the greatest influence on a consumers’ purchasing decision is the hardest person to reach— the retail sales associate. And as we enter this next phase of the recovery, it has never been more important to get them on your side. Our job at ENDVR is to make it as easy as possible.

Whether it’s through educating them on the benefits of your brand, rewarding them for promoting your products on social media or running a digital sales contest to motivate them to reach for your brand each shift, we make it easy, and we’d love to show you how.

We work with industry leading brands like Oakley, K2, Burton, Mountain Hardwear, CCM Hockey, Smith, Nixon and over 70+ others. There are employees at thousands of retailers across North America, Australia and Europe on ENDVR, and the data is there – brands that user ENDVR to engage with them sell more.
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