“Only the fewest specialty retailers are trail runners themselves, and thus can truly judge products,” says Holger Lapp, editor in chief of the portal trampelpfadlauf.de – sometimes it seems as if customers themselves knew more about the goods than the sellers. At the very least, they have big demand for retail. ISPO.com asked around about what the customers expect and what that means for retail.
ISPO.com surveyed four insiders:
- Holger Lapp, editor in chief of trampelpfadlauf.de – a website for trail running and outdoor sports
- Lars Schweizer works in the Sports Management division at the Laufcampus Akademie (Running Campus Academy) and blogs on Trailfieber
- Denis Wischniewski is the editor of Trail Magazine – the magazine for trail running, mountain running, and outdoor
- Hendrik Auf’mkolk, editor of trailblog.de - a website with reports on tours, equipment, races, and more
Links to the other four parts of the Trail Running series on ISPO.com, with other expert theories, at the end of this text.
“Trail runners want to test products live”
Holger Lapp, trampelpfadlauf.de: “Only the fewest specialty retailers are trail runners themselves, and thus can truly judge products. Those who are will have a good, ongoing business. That’s because many trail runners will be happy to take on two hours or more of driving for that kind of competent consultation and a good selection onsite. With some manufacturers, especially in the shoe sector, we offer test events that have been very well received. Trail runners want to test products live and see for themselves. However, manufacturers are still too weakly positioned here to cover this demand.”
“Better a small product range, but with a clear focus”
Hendrik Auf’mkolk, trailblog.de: “Less is more – that applies for both retail and manufacturers. Better a small product range and a small collection, but a clear focus in return. With some “innovations” and trade fair novelties of recent years, even the major manufacturers had difficulties explaining their own products.”
“A world of experiences with test events and trail camps for customers”
Denis Wischniewski, trail-magazin.de: “Manufacturers are doing well, but I often think to myself that they’re not dealing with the needs of trail runners enough.
The examination of new fabrics and materials and has only just now begun. Small manufacturers have shown the big guys how it’s done in recent years. Specialty retail needs to see trail running as its own sport. That’s the only way it can work! They have to be able to offer the customer an entire world of experiences around this sport. This includes test events, trail camps, lectures, etc. It continues to be about being able to ´sense` the subject matter.”
“Sports stores should have a special corner for trail running”
Lars Schweizer, Laufcampus Akademie: “In addition to the countless offers for street runners, a corner with trail running stuff in the typical sports stores would be a great thing. You always get just the standard items, which usually comprises one to two pairs of shoes - and that’s it. The manufacturers of trail running products should focus on the mainstream, which is already working splendidly for some of them. Trail shoes are offered in a lower price segment, along with running backpacks for beginners, to give everyone a look into the subject of trail running. Community runs with shoe tests and so on by manufacturers are also a great idea.”