How Tech Has Helped an Extreme Sports Retailer Engage the Online Community and Increase Profitability.
Incredible advances in tech have touched all retailers in a major way – from engaging community niches, regardless of location, to automating tasks to increasing efficiency and profitability. At Eternal Snow, a snowboarding retailer since 1994, we have seen the rise of social media, ecommerce and other trends affecting the way we do business. Below we’ve shared several aspects of our business that have been most affected by technology and how we have and are going to adapt to the ever shifting environment.
Staying in Sync with Customers: Facebook, Twitter and Beyond.
We are definitely in the social space as many are these days, with the goal of engaging the online community and build Eternal’s authority in the social sphere. Facebook and Twitter are where we spend most of our energy. Twitter and Facebook are great for people to keep up with our current activities whether it is a sale, team news or just posting a picture of the powder on the hill.
To keep everything in sync and to insure that our message remains consistent in all of our outlets, we use Hootsuite. This makes the managing of social media much easier in that all of your feeds are on one screen. We also write and maintain a blog, and this is something that every business should do. By writing about experiences and sharing your knowledge you become an authority and people begin to search you out to get that expertise about a subject.
We also answer a lot of questions out there. These questions range in topics from: queries about the items we carry to snow conditions and beyond. The great part about having these new avenues of communication is that we are able to establish a relationship with our customers. Ultimately we are not only a place to buy snowboard we are also an authority on snowboarding because everyone who works here is an avid enthusiast.
We are also looking to Foursquare, Yelp and other location based networks to help with our brick and mortar business. These days it is important for brick and mortar business to be both visible from the street as well as being visible on the web. Now with smart phones and the ability to constantly be connected, people are constantly looking to the web for recommendations from their friends and even strangers.
Mobile: Increasing “Impulse Buys” and Being Everywhere All the Time.
Right now our mobile clientèle is definitely increasing. Mobile purchases are up in most ecommerce. Currently we do not have a mobile version of our web-store, but we do have a mobile version of our blog. Mobile traffic to our blog accounts for about 25% of total traffic. This has been on the rise since we implemented a mobile-friendly version. Mobile is a powerful piece of the puzzle because the customer can now get to your store regardless of where they are physically located, whereas in the past to shop online, you had to be at a computer. We have all had instances where we thought “oh I need that new widget,” but without instant access to it, the thought often fades and you tend to forget about it. The ability to buy something from anywhere/ anytime can turn your entire web stores inventory into an “impulse buy.” A mobile site is on our road map for sure.
Beyond just our ecommerce store, mobile plays a role in people having access to us. At anytime someone is able to use Facebook or Twitter to get answers to their questions. We are also looking to mobile location based apps to help drive business in our brick and mortar stores. People will often rely on their mobile devices to find the location of the store. The Yellow Pages are becoming a relic of the past, so now if anyone wants info about your business you need to be found through “search.”
Increasing Reach and Profitability Through Automation.
We have implemented technology that allows us to sell snowboard product not only on the internet but also in our brick and mortar stores. It enables us to have a single inventory that ecommerce and the physical store can use. All of our order, packing and shipping use automated software to manage tasks. The use of these technologies has cut down the double entry of a lot of data, which in turn cuts down of the amount of mistakes made by human error.
Additionally, implementing a Point of Sale system in our retail stores allows us to use barcodes to label items, and increase the speed at which we can serve our customers. We are always evaluating new technologies to help us improve our processes to make it easier for our customers to shop, and to streamline our work flow.
About Eternal Snow
EternalSnow.com carries all the best men’s and women’s snowboard products and skateboarding equipment from your favourite core brands. Find a wide variety of snowboarding gear, such as snowboard gloves, jackets, pants and helmets, as well as skate gear.