Editor’s note: this article gives some valuable ideas about domestic outdoor market and outdoor brands development from an insider’s perspective.
Chinese outdoor industry has changed a lot in decades of years. When some international outdoor brands take most of market shares, only Toread, Kailas, Columbus and other domestic brands keep their footing and begin to get profit. Nikko and Ozark which develop fast in the early stage have showed declining tendency and are searching new opportunity. As many sports apparel factories turn focus on sale in domestic market, numbers of new outdoor brands spring up. There are some domestic brands which go into market early and develop slowly too. In a word, this is the time that domestic middle and small brands and international brands have not gone into Chinese market yet begin searching opportunity. Increasing “domestic outdoor need” is met more than half but there is still space to compete. My analyses and opinions are as follow:
It seems that middle and small brands compete fiercely and are thinking how to stand out. I don’t think it is a difficult thing, but the real problem is that Chinese operate a brand with speculation rather than brand’s real meaning. It is not difficult to beat opponents because OEM factories which turn to domestic market pay more attention to orders of their own factories and are accustomed to labor intensive method. Are these opponents terrible?
I understand that a company wants to grow fast and takes the chance, but it is contradictory to brand development. The main factors which decide success are how to adjust R&D and design, improve quality and market promotion and focus ratio of work in sales, and how to minimize this contradiction. The following are my simple suggestions to develop brand:
1. Make full use of “28 effect” and increase classics of each product category. It means that design and quality are important, and every series must have outstanding product at its level to establish brand image. Meanwhile, let classics go on (as Sonata from Hyundai Motor which has put forward the 8th generation), which means to consolidate classics’ position among customers by slightly change and new technology.
2. Enrich SKU, apparel, accessories (including packsack, tent and sleeping bag) and footwear. If there is difficulty to manufacture some categories, companies can look for partners to meet needs of specialty shops.
3. Establish brand image by operating counters and promote existing outdoor channel wholesale. Though counter operation is one of the most competitive and riskiest ways, we can use its positive effect. First of all, set up flagship shops in best-sale stores in the first line cities, with more delicate display, stock and management. Strive for gain profit in short term while maintain a good image. It not only plays a role in product show, canvasses business orders, and market research, but also increases exposure and adverted.
4. Pay attention to marketing department. Many brands don’t understand the importance of marketing planning, but marketing planning should go ahead of other works.
5. Flexible wholesale channels. As market situation changes, I believe that adjusting delivery strategy can play a key role. In addition, coordinate loyal clients to guide well, then sale its own brand products after gaining profit.
6. Develop team work spirit. Contemporary management has put forward core strategy “people oriented”, which is significant to a company in my opinion. It is a long-term work to establish belief, loyalty and favor among staff. If we can’t make staff true to brand, how can customers?
In short, every company can’t be shortsighted, and management cost is essential to reduce risk.
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