Outdoor Prolink | Retailer Case Study

There’s an unspoken tension when it comes to the relationship between retailers and outdoor industry professionals who qualify for pro deals discounts. Retail shop employees understandably want to ensure the time they spend serving store visitors ultimately results in purchases that support the store. Pros want to respect the time of retail shop employees and still leverage the incredible services and expertise the shop has to offer. Yet all too often, pros are seen as disrespecting retail staff by wasting their time and ultimately purchasing products online.

It doesn't need to be this way.

Pros are an incredible local resource to retail shops, and if pros and shops can engage in a productive relationship, it is extremely beneficial to both parties.

Take Reid and Michael for example...

Reid

Meet Reid.

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Reid has been an Outdoor Prolink professional for the past 7 years. He's been working at Crystal Mountain for years, where he started as a snowboard instructor and now is an executive chef at the mountain for 8 months out of the year, and then works several other outdoor industry jobs during his "off" months. Reid is working his way through the AMGA guiding courses with the goal of being a certified splitboard and Alpine guide.

Reid’s advice, “we can all be good stewards of each other’s businesses.”

Reid

Meet Michael.

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Michael is the Store Manager of Cripple Creek Backcountry. Before Cripple Creek, Michael managed the Pro and Ski Mountain Service in Washington, which is where he first met Reid. Michael’s no stranger to the world of retail and of encounters with industry professionals in his stores. In fact, Michael knows from personal experience and conversations with others in the industry, that,

“many retail shops are jaded because there’s been a history of abusing the retailer relationship.”

michael michael

The Scenario:

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A year or so ago, when Michael was managing the Pro Ski and Mountain Service in Washington, Reid approached him about an event he was putting together at Crystal Mountain, where Reid works. He asked Michael if he wanted to come out to a splitboarding event he was putting together. As a local retailer, it would give him the opportunity to meet consumers and talk to them about splitboarding, gear, avalanche safety, and more. Michael was able to connect with consumers during the event and hand these future customers a 10% off coupon card to use at his store. Without Reid bringing this opportunity to Michael, it’s less likely these consumers would have walked into Michael’s store.

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“As a retailer, find the person who has the community of pros around them and create an opportunity to get to know them so that they can become advocates for your shop.”

- Michael

Reid Reid

The Result:

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These potential customers that Michael met at Reid’s snowboarding event now have incentives to go into Michael’s store. Not only do these customers get a 10% off discount, but they also now established a trusting relationship with the store’s manager, and a friendly face to speak to next time they visit the Pro Ski and Mountain Service.

Reid is an excellent example of someone who goes above and beyond when it comes to building relationships with his community. In this situation, he was the liaison between the end consumer and Michael (manager of Cripple Creek Backcountry in Seattle) by giving Michael the opportunity to engage with potential future customers outside of the physical store location. Reid has shown again and again how as a pro he can work with the shops in his area to build a community around events and the outdoor industry.

On the flip side, when Michael is running an in-store event, he can tap into Reid’s expertise as a ski guide to come into his shop and teach classes to these new consumers, which in turn, could land Reid new clients in the future.

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“When the outdoor boom happened in 2020 with more people getting outdoors you couldn’t get your skis mounted anywhere. That’s because three major ski shops in our area had to close. Here’s the thing, if we, as pros who rely on their services don’t support them there’s a chance they’ll disappear forever. We’ve got to support our retail shops or else we’re going to lose them.

- Reid

michael michael

Other Tips & Advice for Pros:

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Are you using the retail employees' time? Be considerate about your timing. Go into your local shop during slow hours or email the shop ahead of time to introduce yourself and to find a good time to stop by.

Introduce yourself so the retail staff knows how to serve you and don’t let your discount go unidentified. Be honest about your discount and go in with the goal of establishing a long-term relationship with your local shop. As you saw with Michael and Reid’s example above, working together will help BOTH parties out.

Think about how you can be a spokesperson for your shop. How can you use your network to get your local shop some exposure? Tagging your shop on social media, leaving a review on their website, helping host an event at or from the store (fun run or bike and beer ride), and suggesting your local store to your clients, are just a few ways to support your local shop.

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“I find that the most important thing is that people who run small businesses and shops need to partner and support people like Reid during his events, meeting users in their core space and connecting with them, that type of marketing is priceless.”

- Michael

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