Sports Business/08/17/2017

The Challenge of Digitization: How the Outdoor Industry’s Marketing, Sales, and Others Are Changing

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The digital transformation is hitting every company – even in the outdoor industry. Those who make skillful use of the digital change for their brand and company will profit, while those who ignore digitization will be left behind. Five big outdoor brands give examples of how the topic of digitization is changing their corporate processes.

Outdoor brand customers are living digitization, too
Outdoor brand customers are living digitization, too

“What does digitization mean for your company?” This question can be answered in incredibly multifaceted ways. This is because the digital transformation process comprises nearly every business field: from development to purchasing, production, distribution, and sales.

Our interview partners’ answers are also manifold. More specifically, they are:

  • Black Diamond: Stephan Hagenbusch, Vice President of International Sales
  • Deuter: Martin Riebel, Managing Director of Deuter Sport GmbH and Schwan STABILO Outdoor GmbH
  • Löffler: Otto Leodolter, Managing Director of Löffler GmbH
  • Lowa: Alexander Nicolai, Head of Design and Development
  • Peak Performance: Mandarva Stenborg, Global PR and Communication Manager

Black Diamond: Products with digital services

Stephan Hagenbusch is Vice President of International Sales at Black Diamond: The brand offers equipment for climbers and skiers, and was founded in the USA in 1989. Its yearly revenue is roughly 150 million dollars.

“From my point of view, there are two main areas here: 1. Cooperating with retailers through services like electronic data interchange (EDI).

2. The digital connection between various services and products. So, as an example, when hardware or even clothes are linked with software applications. These can be things like training programs that instruct and train consumers.”

Deuter: Digitization creates jobs

Deuter was founded back in 1898. The company is known for several innovative developments in the backpack sector. The managing director at Deuter for five years now has been Martin Riebel

“Digitization is brining a new dimension of competence into the company. Young people with the corresponding know-how have big opportunities to design and define new fields. In our group, we’ve created several positions in the past three years alone, something that didn’t use to be the case. 

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Löffler: Transparency through digitization

Otto Leodolter leads the businesses at Löffler; Löffler was founded in 1947 and initially specialized in knitwear. In 1973, Löffler was acquired by ski producer Fischer and aligned towards functional sportswear. Today, Löffler employs rough 200 workers.

“Much greater transparency had made it into the market through digitization. Individual products, but also topics on production conditions, can be delivered to consumers more consciously and quickly.”

Lowa: The challenge of online retail

Alexander Nicolai is Head of Design and Development at Lowa. The company, headquartered in Jetzendorf in Bavaria, Germany, produces shoes in the mountain, outdoor, and travel segments. Lowa is a market leader in the mountain and outdoor shoes sectors in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The company has been owned by the Italian group Tecnica since 1993. All shoes are produced in Europe.

“Numerous divisions of the company have been influenced by increasing digitization. Many processes have been able to be optimized. In marketing, especially, we’ve repositioned and realigned ourselves. The digital channels are opening up several perspectives and opportunities for us. 

Whether it’s social media, influencers, or online clips: the brand can now also be optimally reflected via digital media in the digital world, and we can get into direct contact with our end consumer.

Naturally, on the distribution side, a new customer group came to us with online retailers. The consumer now expects brands to be able to provide products in every sales channel. The major challenge in the future for a quality outdoor shoe brand will be ensuring excellent consultation and fit recommendations, as well as price stability, in online retail.” 

And how are things going for digitization in retail? Find all the information here >>>

Peak Performance: Combining e-commerce and retail

Peak Performance was founded in Åre, Sweden in 1986. Mandarva Stenborg is Global PR and Communication Manager. The company has 480 employees and a revenue of 155 million dollars.

“For one, we have to focus more on digital services through digitization in retail, and at the same time combine e-commerce with classic retail.”

“Parallel to that, we have to further develop our online store. That’s a very important aspect when it comes to developing our sales activities. Our online store is growing from month to month, which we take as a clear sign of consumer behavior. Our customers are becoming more digital every day.

When it comes to advertising and PR, social media is also the focus. We see great potential here, and many opportunities in creating digital content. The key will be creating content that’s interactive, has a high rate of interaction, and works on all of our channels.

We can also relay customer-specific digital content to wholesale and our retailers. Nevertheless, that will require many different resources from us in the company.” 

Claudia Klingelhöfer Author: Claudia Klingelhöfer (editor in chief)