OGDEN, UT -- In a revolutionary move that redefines the consumer experience within the snowsports industry, Amer Sports Winter and Outdoor Americas announces a new winter sports equipment e-commerce platform. Ski Link will be launched in the United States in the fall of 2012. The online purchasing program is unprecedented in the industry and is designed to offer consumers global shopping options with local service benefits.
Developed in cooperation with American retail partners, the principle behind the web-based Ski Link is to create a unique and progressive cooperation with specialty retailers that will increase consumer traffic and sales through specialty retail doors.
The individual U.S. brand websites for Salomon and Atomic will each host Ski Link. The websites will:
- Provide excellent product experiences and brand information on the Salomon and Atomic products.
- Refer consumers to authorized retailers via the brand dealer locator and encourage consumers to buy locally.
- Extend an opportunity for the consumer to order the products immediately online which will be fulfilled and transacted through the authorized retailer of the consumers' choice. The retailer will complete the sale as well as prepare and ready the equipment for use.
"As we have developed our Winter Sports Equipment e-commerce strategy, our first priority has been to enhance the overall experience for the consumer with the Salomon and Atomic brands without moving business away from our retail partners' balance sheets. In fact, our platform will drive new traffic directly to our retailers," says Jeff Snyder, Amer Sports Global Director of E-commerce.
"With the Ski Link model, specialty retailers are positioned squarely at the center of the equipment transaction," says Mike Adams, Winter Sports Equipment VP and Commercial Director for Amer Sports Winter and Outdoor Americas. "This represents the first and only internet strategy in the winter sports equipment space that enables online product exposure for our brands without compromising the specialty retailers' role or opportunity in managing consumer relationships."
In order to provide complete information on Ski Link, there will be live webcast presentations of the program beginning in December 2011. The programs, along with dealer FAQs, 2012 dealer forms and participation guidelines will be posted on the dedicated informational website ski-referral.com starting December 2011. In addition, ski-referral.com will provide program updates as well as other relevant information to retail partners.
This retailer-centric strategy gives consumers what they desire most - to see and find the broadest selection of products and purchase from a local, specialty retailer.
Ski Link Questions and Answers
(Source: Amer Sports Winter and Outdoor Americas)
Q: How will consumers order the products online?
A: Consumers will order through the Ski Link connection on Salomon.com and Atomicsnow.com websites. The consumer will be able to view the products available, select the local retailer where they would like to pick up the products and then place their order. While the consumer is not charged at this time, this action will generate an order for the product which will be shipped to the local retailer.
Q: What happens next?
A: The product is delivered to the retailer for the consumer to pick up. All fitting and adjustments can be performed when the consumer arrives at the store for pick up. The transaction is completed by the retailer who collects the proceeds of the sale. With this model there are opportunities to customize the experience by setting appointments, performing a boot fit and wear inspection, and additional services to enhance the consumer's experiences.
Q: What products can be ordered?
A: All Alpine products from Salomon and Atomic. Nordic and Snowboard will not be included in the launch of Ski Link
Q: Can the consumer request delivery to their home?
A: No. Winter sports equipment requires the expertise of the retailer to confirm the selection and fit as well as provide adjustment services. Ski Link is available only for consumers to pick up at the selected store.
Q: How does the pricing work?
A: Ski Link will quote prices at MAP. The retailer will be charged a standard price discounted from wholesale to deliver a target margin of 42%.
Q: What if the product is the wrong size or fit?
A: Ski Link will provide a call tag in each shipment for returns prepaid. An order can then be placed for the correct product through the dealer account or on Ski Link.
Q: What if the consumer changes his or her mind and wants to return?
A: Ski Link will provide a call tag in each shipment for returns prepaid.
Q: What retailers are eligible to be Ski Link retailers?
A: Qualified Salomon or Atomic Alpine dealers who stock retail skis, boots, and bindings for the brand(s) they carry. In addition, dealers have to be able to perform all normal fitting and service functions and have certified technicians.
Q: When does Ski Link launch?
A: Atomic and Salomon Ski Link will launch in September 2012 as part of the new Atomicsnow.com and Salomon.com USA websites.