43: Testing and Learning in Retail with Wes Allen

If you’re sitting in the RV market, [the outdoor market is cultivating crossover with] van life and overlanding. And the adoption of your viewpoint on outdoors by a really large, active young consumer base that will promise to actually add new lifeblood into the RV industry, right?”

– Wes Allen

EPISODE PREVIEW:

Would you believe the news in the outdoor markets is coming at us almost as fast as the national political news? Almost. Yipes! On today’s episode, my good friend and outdoor retailer extraordinaire, Wes Allen, is here to bounce around takes on the latest three HUGE stories in the outdoor markets.

We kick off with the news that Marcus Lemonis’ very own Camping World has purchased one of the most iconic and successful independent specialty shops ever: Rock/Creek in Tennessee. The line between RVing and outdoorsy activities is fading, and Wes and I are kind of wondering what took so long?

Plus, we cover the new GearHeads tour from Backcountry.com and the uptick of used gear sales, including mega-retailers like REI. Sounds like it’s full festival of “give the people what they want.” Are these viable consumer-centric strategies or one-off stunts? Listen in for our thoughts, and, please, weigh in with your own in the comments.

Speaking of lines fading: My own line between super-stoked and terrifying is growing thinner as I officially welcome you the first ever VIDEO episode of Channel Mastery. That’s right, we have a YouTube channel where we are live(ish) and in color. Now you have two ways to get your Channel Mastery fix: video or traditional podcast audio each week. Whatever your jam, thanks for showing up and please tell me my hair looks good.

GUEST PROFILES:

wes allen

Wes Allen is an outdoor industry professional with a wide range of experiences. He has served as president of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, was the outdoor business representative for the Wyoming Governor’s Task Force on Outdoor Recreation Economy, and was the national sales manager for Chaco. Currently, he’s is a principal with Sunlight Sports, in Cody, Wyoming, leading marketing, buying and community engagement for the specialty retailer. Wes also is a brand-building consultant through Tilt/Shift Brands.

TOPICS COVERED:

Conglomerates, Rock/Creek, Camping World, Marcus Lemonis, #vanlife,  mergers, overlanding, data as a goal, market segmentation, market crossover, backcountry.com gearheads, REI, used gear, the pros and cons of diversifying retail 

SELECT QUOTES:

If you’re sitting in the RV market, [the outdoor market is cultivating crossover with] van life and overlanding. And the adoption of your viewpoint on outdoors by a really large, active young consumer base that will promise to actually add new lifeblood into the RV industry, right?”

[Paraphrasing a quote on data collection by Marcus Lemonis] “’I did not get in this business to be a gun dealer. I got into this business to collect names,’ said Lemonis.”

“He’s not seeing a line of delineation between motorized and non-motorized. He sees a group of people that want to recreate outside, and I feel like that’s something we can learn from on our side.”

“[The Backcountry.com tour] speaks, again, to the importance of being physically in proximity to your customers…. You need to get out and get in front of people, and I think this is just another example of the importance of the physical world.”

“The world is getting smaller for the outdoor community.”

“I’m wondering about the dilution of your efforts as a brand: trying to get out and do all these things and not miss that one customer that walks past your door.”

CONNECT:

Sunlight Sports: http://sunlightsports.com/

Tilt Shift Brands: http://tiltshiftbrands.com/

Connect with Wes on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/wes-allen-ullr/

AS MENTIONED IN EPISODE:

Camping World Acquires Rock/Creek Outfitters,” SGB

Interbike Podcast #5, What’s Old is New Again: Trade-in programs make used bikes a viable business for bike shops,” with Steve Frothingham

Photos of the Trailhead Taproom, cred it: Sunlight Sports

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