Email is the channel preferred by outdoor product retailers for hearing from manufacturers — at least those with only a few locations, judging by Brand and Dealer Relationship Trends, a new study from Huebner Marketing, conducted by Ascend2.
Of the retailers or dealerships polled, 37% of those with one to five locations prefer email, versus 26% of those with six to 20.
However, in-person visits are favored by 55% of firms with 20+ locations. At that level, only 11% choose email.
Brand communications in whatever channel are critical in this time of supply chain issues and COVID-19.
That said, this is a booming. field—nearly half of sellers of big-ticket outdoor products report than their business grew by 10% or more last year.
What do we mean by outdoor products? The respondents sell:
Meanwhile, they are moving online — 49% of the respondents are focused on increasing their online sales, indicating a switch to digital. However, 53% hope to increase their in-store sales and 53% to improve the customer experience.
And many see online ordering as the most valuable technology a manufacturer can offer, including 63% of retailers with more than 20 locations, and 48% of those with 6-20 and 52% of those with one-five.
Moreover, 50% of those with more than 20 stores want manufacturers to provide an online company store, as do 35% of those with one-five.
The top challenges facing dealerships in the year ahead:
And, they face these challenges when working with manufacturers:
Brand reputation is deemed extremely important by 48% and very important by 27%. Only 3% say it is not at all important.
Retailers want other forms of support from brands, including cooperative advertising programs (68%), more flexible use policies and programs (48%), better online access to brand and marketing materials (42%), higher reimbursement percentage (36%) and more manufacturer-branded marketing materials (36%).
And retailers also desire these tools from manufacturers:
Warranty and support — 53%
Incentives — 31%
Sales leads — 31%
Cooperative advertising programs — 29%
Sales lead follow-up — 29%
Post-sales customer service offerings (for buyer) — 27%
Sales training — 25%
Sales events — 22%
What to end-customers want? They are motivated by:
Retailers have a slightly different set of priorities:
What would motivate a retailer to add a brand?
Ascend2 surveyed 279 retailers of big-ticket outdoor items.