In the corona crisis, the outdoor manufacturer Ortovox is helping local retailers. With the campaign "Support Your Local Ortovox Dealer", a quarter of the proceeds from the Ortovox online shop go to partners from retail.Christian Schneidermeier, Managing Director of Ortovox Sportartikel GmbH, explains the idea in an interview with ISPO.com.
ISPO.com: In the current Corona exception situation and in view of the associated economic challenges, you have developed the new program Support Your Local Ortovox Dealer to support the specialized trade. How does the whole thing work? What advantages does the dealer have?
Christian Schneidermeier: The specialized trade has been a partner for us from the very beginning. Especially in this situation, which is so unexpected for all of us, community and solidarity must come first - both humanly and commercially. The fact that the stationary specialized trade has to keep its doors closed is a hard blow for many.
We would like to support within the scope of our possibilities: The concept "Support Your Local Ortovox Dealer" works in such a way that 25 percent of the sales via our online shop go directly to our retailers, transparently and unbureaucratically.
Exactly which dealers will benefit from the support?
The end consumer decides with a coupon code to which retailer the 25 percent of a purchase value goes. A code is assigned to each retailer. This enables the customer to buy his Ortovox product from the retailer of his choice. However, since the retailer may not have its own online shop, the purchase and the entire process is handled by us. The retailer is credited with 25 percent of the purchase value.
In the next step in a few weeks, at the end of the ordering process, the end consumer can directly select his favourite dealer and no longer needs to enter a code. We are currently working on the technical implementation.
In which countries and until when is this promotion valid?
Support Your Local Ortovox Dealer will initially be implemented in Germany, Austria, France and Great Britain and will be running for the entire 2020 summer season.
Are there any special requirements for retailers to participate in the promotion?
No, in principle any authorised Ortovox dealer can take part in the promotion.
How do the end consumers find out about the campaign?
The motto is: Act now! That's why we use all communication channels available to us. A content package will also be made available to retailers so that they can inform their customers themselves and offer an extended range of services, depending on their options and wishes.
As a thank-you for the support, every end consumer receives a small gift from us.
Will you continue this possibility of specialist trade support even after Corona's times?
There are also opportunities in the crisis. Opportunities to open your eyes and think creatively in all directions. At this time it is too early to talk about concrete plans and measures according to Covid-19. The fact is, however, that we have a long-standing partnership with the stationary specialist trade and we want it to stay that way in the future. Even without the Covid-19 crisis, there are many advantages for our dealer partners in the connection to our online shop. For example, for winter 20/21 and summer 21, special collections or individual products will be available exclusively from specialist retailers - and we will advertise these parts in our online shop for specialist retailers.
In addition, we work with the dealer connection tool OUTTRA with the aim of making end customers' availability information from the dealer available where they find it. Here we continue our "buy locally" idea.
Speaking of online trading: Your company has made selective distribution agreements with retailers - are you sticking to them under the current circumstances?
In this particular situation, we have made an exception and relaxed the selective distribution agreement with a time limit. In this way we would like to offer our specialist dealers the possibility of "pragmatic" and direct online sales on third-party platforms of our products, in order to avoid the worst consequences for the dealers.
We trust in the common sense of our dealers to only use this measure in an emergency and to maintain our quality standards. Once the crisis has been overcome, we will consistently continue on our chosen path of selective distribution.
Stefan Rainer, Managing Director of Salewa, had already talked in recent days about transferring 75 percent of the merchandise from the current summer collection to 2021 - what is your position on this? Would it be conceivable that the entire industry would act in solidarity and pull together?
One of the first measures we took was to review our planned collections. In doing so, we will reduce the number of new styles and extend the running times of existing styles to give retailers the opportunity to better reduce existing stock levels. This is one of the tasks for the industry to find ways to reduce the far too high product pressure in the market. I would like us all to work together on solutions.
How do you personally deal with the current situation? And how do you motivate your employees?
These are definitely challenging times. But I look forward to giving meaning to this crisis by approaching decisions from new angles and hopefully finally doing what is long overdue. Otherwise, we're trying to maintain a bit of normality, for example by switching our company sports program to digital yoga. But we all miss our special working atmosphere and the nice social contact with our colleagues.