Tuesday, Jan 28, Denver, CO
It’s official. Quivers is on the ground at Outdoor Retailer 2020 in Denver, Colorado. We have arrived.
Obviously you know, but if you don’t, Outdoor Retailer is basically the preeminent outdoor sports show in the world, for industry brands, retailers, reps, designers, suppliers etc.
And though yes, if we’re being honest, as a Utah-based software company that supplies software to many great outdoor brands, we were bummed when Outdoor Retailer had to leave Utah back in 2017, but that said, it couldn’t have moved to a better mountain town—looking at you Denver, (other than Salt Lake of course).
The Stoke is Real
We’re stoked to be here in Denver, with a great community of outdoor enthusiasts and brands, including a number of Quivers’ own customers like Marker, K2 and Rossignol.
We’re actually a bit early. The OR exhibition floor opens tomorrow. Today is the SIA Industry + Intelligence forums. Snowsports Industries America (SIA) and is the winter industry’s non-profit, member-owned trade association representing snow sports suppliers, retailers, sales reps and resorts.
SIA works closely with Outdoor Retailer to host an education forum throughout the week with a lot of great panels and presentations front-loaded for the pre-show day.
We’re particularly excited because our CEO, Ruben Martin, is speaking this year, giving a talk called "Beyond Price: How Brands Can Beat e-Commerce Giants at Their Own Game." In short, his talk is about the fulfillment and order management process companies have to master today to succeed. And the very exciting fact that it’s an area that brands have an opportunity to create a serious competitive advantage.
This topic means a lot to us (Quivers) for obvious reasons—we built software that helps solve major commerce fulfillment issues like stock-outs and channel conflict. But what’s exciting this year, is the issue is really gaining ground in the marketplace.
Fulfillment Excellence as a Competitive Advantage
Fulfillment is becoming a hot topic recently and has been cited as one of the major commerce trends of 2020. Chain Storage Age recently said “fulfillment, order management and logistics is the new battleground for the digital consumer"
Major winter brands have to realize that consumers care a lot these days about their experience purchasing and post-purchase experience… even more than the brand itself. This can come as a blow to the ego of brands who have a lot of pride in their history and innovative products.
But the reality is, differentiating on brand and product is still great, but will quickly be wasted if you can’t get product into consumer hands when they want them. When a consumer can’t buy a product online directly from a brand (instead has to go on a goose chase to a retail site or physical store), most consumers end up buying a different brand instead and leave with a negative opinion about the brand they initially wanted to purchase from.
The same thing happens when a consumer experiences a stock-out. Brands hope the consumer will wait for it to re-stock, or buy another product with their same brand, but a majority of consumers will instead buy a comparable product from a competing brand.
This means that today, even though I “did my research and decided” I’m going to purchase that nice Nanopuff Jacket in Medium, Navy from Patagonia—if it’s out of stock, I’m going to quickly slot another brand I like, and end up purchasing, the Thermoball Eco Jacket in my size and desired color at North Face instead if it’s in stock and ready to purchase.
Easy Like PB& J
Look, here’s a cute metaphor to bring things to life. If you want to make a great PB&J, you can’t skip out on any of the key ingredients, right? If your Brand is the bread, and your Product is the peanut butter, then Fulfillment is the jelly. (No one wants a bread and peanut butter sandwich.)
Today, consumers don’t see the difference between your products and your competitors nearly as much as you’d like to believe. Certainly not enough not to be really damn good at purchase and fulfillment experiences. You better be amazing at getting products to your customers.
This rise in brand fluidity in the face of purchase friction is not a comfortable reality for proud brands. But the first step in getting better is admitting you have a problem.
Go Forth and Fulfill
Here’s the real point—there’s going to be a ton of discussion at OR this week about all sort of things: how to improve your marketing, your customer acquisition, how to sell more on instagram, how to align with the cultural values of your consumers… yada, yada, yada. Which is all great, we suggest you do those things BUT ALSO, you are wasting a ton of your time and effort if you don’t have your purchase and fulfillment process ironed out.
If consumers can’t easily find and purchase your products when and where they want to, you are going to lose ground in 2020. Don’t make your site and/or stores a revolving door of customer churn and bad experiences.
We’ll tell you more about how to do this throughout the week.