Or sleeping bag? Or boots/hat/gloves? It is always a tough question to field from a customer. All of these items are insulation that have relative values. Different customers have different standards of what is warm. Most sales people try to dodge the question. But some retailers allow the customers to decide for themselves.
At Alewalds in Stockholm Sweden, they installed a cold room to allow customers to check the product out for themselves.
I have seen these in the US in the past, the REI Denver store used to have one as did the Eddie Bauer in Bellevue, WA.
The outdoor industry has been working more in recent years to improve inclusion in the outdoors, sometimes more successfully than others.
Patagonia has truly gone beyond the typical efforts of hiring a more diverse looking sales team, adding persons of color to their catalog and supporting under-represented in outdoor endeavors. (All worthwhile attempts in themselves.) With their recent pledge of $1 million to promote voter access and to offset the regressive legislation recently passed in Georgia, Patagonia has broadened their inclusion work beyond retailing.
A great example of corporate responsibility, Mitch McConnell be damned.
I applaud the efforts of the outdoor retailers that are making an effort to encourage recycling, reselling and up cycling used outdoor gear. In particular, the work of Patagonia is truly commendable. But the Europeans are way ahead of us.
In 2018, I had the chance to visit Bergans of Norway in Oslo and in the back of the store, on the sales floor, was this repair/alteration/upcycle center.
Post Covid, there are so many things to look for in the evolution of outdoor retailing. Will the shopping trends of the pandemic continue after the vaccine? Will there be a pent-up demand for outdoor gear and clothing? Will the digital transformation continue at an accelerated pace? Will adventure travel change?
One thing I am really curious about is the potential battle of outdoor retailing “category killers.”
I was traveling through Hood River OR recently and decided to check out the outdoor stores of their outdoor oriented town. One of the places I decided to check out was Mountain View Cycles.
As I was approaching the store, I noticed that it seemed remarkably dark inside. I was a bit disappointed since it was 11 a.m. and they should have been open by now. As I approached the front door I noticed this sign.
Well, I guess it is okay that they were closed. I wonder how often outdoor retailers close their shops and take their staff out for a trip like this? Well done Mountain View, I will certainly stop by another day.