Mobile Platforms Reach Snow Sports Enthusiasts Outside
Best Practices by Lou Dzierzak, Lkdcom@visi.com
The holiday season is about to start. Snow sports retailers have spent months preparing their marketing communication outreach tools. The website is updated and current. Check. A Twitter account is active and there’s a plan in place to spread the news about store sales, events and product news. Check. The store has a Facebook “Like” page. Check.
While visibility on the web and in social media is important, there’s another fast-changing technology platform that snowsports brands and retailers are learning how to take advantage of.
The Pew Internet & American Life Project finds that 35 percent of adult Americans own smartphones. Looking at younger age groups that may have stronger ties to snow sports, ownership is even higher. Among 18-24, 49 percent have smartphones.
Forrester Research estimates that mobile commerce is expected to reach $31 billion by 2016 and 51 percent of the U.S. population will own a smartphone by the end of 2011.
So what exactly does that mean for marketing? Once limited to just making calls or sending texts, smartphones have now become personal assistants that instantly address the spur of the moment needs of their users. Who needs a desktop computer or laptop to get online? Eighty-seven percent of smartphone users regularly use their device to go online. The Pew research findings state that 25 percent of smartphone owners go online more with their phone than with a computer. Between making calls and sending tweets 68 percent of all smartphone owners go online using their phone. For skiers and snowboarders, smartphones become the conduit to information like snow conditions, traffic reports, retail store hours, wax tips and checking the Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts of the stores and brands they follow.
The Rossignol Experience application presents multi-media information about the brand’s new all mountain ski line. The company also uses apps in a wide range of business operations. “Mobile apps have so many different functions, from sales support to inventory or order management to product merchandizing that they are increasingly central to one’s marketing plans, “notes Tait Wardlaw, vice president, brand marketing, communications at The Rossignol Group.
Anssi Mäkelä, digital marketing manager at Salomon Sports reports,” What we try to achieve is to be present wherever the consumers are for example with, apps, tablets, TV’s and web etc. We are trying to grow our visibility across these multidimensional screens, not just mobile.’
Salomon Sports Powfinder is a customizable sophisticated weather tracker that helps users locate the best ski conditions. “When you are trying to reach as many people as possible you have to consider a multi-channel approach,” explains Mäkelä. “It’s about how you can add value. You have to bring something to the marketplace that is appreciated by the audience, helping them instead of interrupting.”
A well designed and user focused mobile app can create a competitive advantage. “Mobile apps can definitely create a competitive advantage. Again, it depends on where and how they are used, what their intended use is and who the intended audience is,” says Wardlaw.
Although smartphones have small screen sizes, mobile apps can be effective in delivering your brand message. “If you build something that offers ease of use and great experience, we are pretty sure that helps to get your message across,” reports Mäkelä. “Our main objective is to offer a service with our personal weatherman that will indicate where to ski powder in the world. To top that, we have also made every skier out there a weatherman as well the with powfinder app and with the ability to do local updates where ever you are around the world.”
Increasingly, smartphones have become an important tool in snowsports enthusiasts lives. Brands that design mobile applications that deliver useful information will have a captive audience. Time to add that marketing effort to the checklist.
Pew Internet & American Life Project conducts original research that explores the impact of the Internet on children, families, communities, the work place, schools, health care and civic/political life. It seeks to be an authoritative source for timely information on the Internet’s growth and societal impact. pewresearch.org
Forrester Research, Inc. is an independent research company that provides pragmatic and forward-thinking advice to leaders in business and technology. forrester.com
Managing a successful snow sports specialty retail store requires expertise in an ever-changing array of business operations. Human resources, event planning, marketing, product selection, social media and e-commerce are just a few examples. Lou Dzierzak has written about these topics for over a decade. Best Practices will shorten the learning curve by offering case studies, resources and how-to tips from experts in specific fields. If you have suggestions for future topics, please feel free to contact Lou at Lkdcom@visi.com.