Welcome to Retailers Rule!, an interview series exploring digital marketing insights from the perspective of local retailers and the brands they sell.
Our latest interview features Nate Julian of Al’s Sporting Goods. Over the course of our conversation, we talked about trends in the outdoor industry, utilizing digital channels to reach target demographics, and telling brand stories within retail spaces.
Tell us a little bit about Al’s Sporting Goods and your role.
Al’s Sporting Goods was founded in 1921, and it’s the oldest sporting goods store in the state of Utah. It started as a small tackle and bike shop, and it’s since evolved into a 120,000 square foot retail complex with one of the most complete and comprehensive sporting goods selections in Utah.
I’ve been with Al’s for six years now. I started out during college on the sales floor, working my way up through various departments before moving into the role of assistant manager.
Describe your typical day at work.
On a daily basis, my responsibilities range from…
- Interviewing and hiring new employees for the apparel department
- Managing inventory
- Preparing for upcoming sales events and ads
- Working with the back stock team to create a plan and smooth out the flow of product to the sales floor
- Monitoring multiple sales channels
- Working the sales floor with my team
- Influencing our social media and digital marketing
Pretty much everything [laughs].
What types of trends do you see happening in your industry? How does that affect how you market?
A major trend in the industry right now is simply that going outside is “in.” People are enjoying Mother Nature and getting excited to be outside, and there is a big push, especially in the millennial market. This is where our passion lies, so we love to go out on the trail and meet them there.
In addition, everybody and their dog is using a cell phone and most likely checking some sort of social media platform on a regular basis. Rather than sending out a mailer or an ad in the Sunday paper, we can directly target these individuals and appeal to them in ways we wouldn’t dream of doing with a more traditional form of marketing.
How would you say digital marketing affects the store?
It’s definitely an evolving section of our marketing toolbox. Up to this point, though, it’s been used as a great community sounding board and promotional tool and a way for us to reach target demographics that retailers in this area typically have a hard time reaching, like the local student populations.
Moving forward, digital marketing is only going to become a greater part of our marketing mix as we continue to build our online presence and reach.
How long have you been using Promoboxx?
We’ve been using Promoboxx for three or four months now to promote Arc’teryx, Smartwool, Trek, and The North Face as much as we can.
Because my role isn’t specifically dedicated to social and marketing, I tend to focus on the brands that make the most sense for me. If more of our vendors were on Promoboxx, we would definitely be utilizing their assets more. There are about 30 or 40 brands I can think of off the top of my head that we would love to see on Promoboxx.
Related content: 5 Questions with Aligned Speaker Kent Hawkins of Arc’teryx >
How do you receive digital marketing support from the other brands you carry in-store?
We’re involved in a number of co-op advertising programs, and a lot of those funds actually only end up getting used for other forms of advertising. I would hope to see an increase in funds going towards digital programs in the future.
What has your experience on Promoboxx been like so far?
Promoboxx makes it a lot easier for us to support our brands and tell their stories within our retail space. I just love having access to all of this brand content and being able to schedule it out in such a strategic way. It’s a big deal for us. I can sit down and focus on it for a couple of hours a week, do a lot of planning and strategy, and not have to stress about it.
It’s helpful to have this access in order to keep people involved in a conversation with Al’s Sporting Goods. It’s crucial to keep ourselves in front of people.
Related content: SmartWool Pushes Boundaries for Dealer Support [Interview] >
Have you utilized the Promoboxx Local Ads feature?
Yes, and we’ve definitely found it to be successful. It also just streamlines the whole process of doing local advertising on digital channels. Simplicity is key for us.
When we’re engaged with Local Ads, we definitely see an uptick in the amount of conversation around our store and in the engagement of our audience online.
What is your biggest piece of advice for retailers just starting on Promoboxx?
I would say that they should be carving out time every week to just sit down and use the platform and play around with it.
I’d also say to just get on the phone with someone at Promoboxx and have them walk you through it. The support team at Promoboxx is unreal in comparison to anything else that we’ve ever used.
Rely on Promoboxx and their team while you’re getting started, and you’ll learn how you can be effective and optimize the time your store is dedicating to social media and digital marketing.
Want to make digital marketing easy for your specialty retailers? Promoboxx can help.
With Promoboxx, leading brands like Arc’teryx and Smartwool give their specialty retailers access to professional marketing content for promotion across key digital channels, all co-branded to highlight both the brand and the retailer’s store.
By leveraging Promoboxx, brands extend national messaging and amplify brand awareness at the local level, all while providing their dealers with an effective, easy-to-use digital marketing solution.