30: Wes Allen: “The Brutal Truths” about the State of the Retail Ecosystem 2018

“All the conversations that aren’t happening in the outdoor retail space are keeping us from being a cohesive business model.”

– Wes Allen


The theme of today, friends, is “getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.” That’s right. Fresh off the OR and SIA trade show, the conversation is split equally between discussions that were spoken and equally important discussions that went unspoken. Buckle up, because this episode heads full-speed into the turns!

Here’s the thing: Brands and retailers, alike, are rolling forward with private strategies…and it’s causing chaos and preventing a genuinely channel agnostic transition. Some competitive discretion is fine, but Wes’ point is that it’s time to start treating one another like true partners and practicing a higher level of strategic transparency. Where things really ramp up is with Wes’ solutions. They’re unorthodox, to be sure. But they got my brain going, and it’s this type of fresh thinking that is going to deliver success. I cannot wait to hear your thoughts after listening.


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.


Wes’ guiding force is his total focus Sunlight Sports’ ability to do good in its community – for its employees and its family.


importance of community, timely conversations for the outdoor industry, difficult conversations, new strategic directions, open communications between brands and retailers, transparency in strategy, out of the box solutions, offsetting customer acquisition costs with retailer bonuses, reaching true channel agnostic balance, channel integration, utilizing data


“My gut and my head both tell me that if we keep going down the same road that we’ve been traversing, we’re screwed.”

“There’s no better time than the present to make the changes and have the conversations that we need to have in order for us all to be successful going forward.”

“One of the dynamics that we have in the outdoor industry – that’s really powerful and very positive in some ways and very much a governor on our success and in other ways – is our community base.”

“The [friendly community] dynamic is also hard one. It’s hard to have big public conversations that challenge the status quo when you have a beer in your hand and you’re just trying to make everybody happy at the party.”

“It’s hard to bring up the really tough conversations around the campfire.”

“The big thing that is really uncomfortable for many brands and retailers to talk about is ‘what are the brutal truths about our strategies going forward?’”

“We had people that have to apologize again and again and again for doing the same things. And what they’re doing is actually executing their strategy. But, they come up with a strategy and they keep it behind the curtain and they roll out a neutered or watered down version of that strategy to their partners in the business.”

“There’s a solution [to the frustration]. There’s a way to think about this going forward that can be a road to success but I think it’s going to take strong partnerships.”

“All the conversations that aren’t happening in the outdoor retail space are keeping us from being a cohesive business model.”

“There is no channel integration without appropriately considering data.

“You don’t have to have a database of eight million consumer points in order to utilize your data. What you have to know is what data to pay attention to.”


Sunlight Sports: http://sunlightsports.com/

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

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

Have questions or ideas for Kristin and the Channel Mastery podcast? Email: [email protected]

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