How Outdoor Brands Are Leveraging the Cloud for Competitive Advantage

December 11, 2013

In late January, NetSuite was a sponsor of the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market(opens in new tab), a major event in Salt Lake City, Utah, that showcased products from companies in the outdoor recreation industry. NetSuite has been successfully servicing outdoor companies as our cloud-based business management software(opens in new tab) solutions allow these retailers to gain competitive advantage in what is an increasingly difficult space to gain visibility and differentiation. 

Cloud computing(opens in new tab) (where key applications to manage your business are based “in the cloud” and are accessed using a browser, an iPhone/iPad or other mobile devices) solutions have a proven track record of helping outdoor specialty brands rapidly scale by eliminating many of the growing pains associated with fast-growing businesses and significantly improving efficiency. More importantly, “going to the cloud” frees companies from the overhead and distraction of creating costly and complicated IT departments and allows them to focus on developing superior products, value and customer experiences.

The increasing expansion of outdoor specialty products into a wider range of retail outlets and direct consumer sales channels means that small companies can find themselves competing with multinational giants for shelf space and customer loyalty. The biggest brands have vertical and horizontal integration advantages(opens in new tab) that can be nearly impossible for contenders to match.

Cloud computing levels the playing field with affordable access to detailed supply chain and demand planning insights previously found only in high-end on-premise ERP systems(opens in new tab). A firm command of costs, margins and availability throughout the supply chain is what gave a few elite companies a competitive advantage in recent decades. That same power is now being put in the hands of today's innovative outdoor brands through the adoption of cloud computing.

Here are some of our customer stories I would like to share:

Outdoor apparel company Mountain Khakis knew it was on the path to rapid growth when in less than two years it went from zero to 200 distributors. As the company continued to grow, its on-premise ERP solution was unable to keep up with demands. Adopting NetSuite has given Mountain Khakis the efficient and flexible solution it needed to add hundreds of additional dealers and manage a 1500% increase in shipments. The company now has sophisticated marketplace controls for its suppliers and product-by-product sales insight from retail partners, ensuring that products are in stock to meet the growing demand. Tune in to this video(opens in new tab) to hear from Mountain Khakis CEO Ross Saldarini talk about their success.

Cloud solutions make it possible for suppliers and retailers across the world to access and update data crucial to operations, with no need for complex technology integration. Major retailers, distributors and brand partners all demand that key product information be provided in an accurate and timely fashion. Building custom data integrations is cost-prohibitive for smaller companies with on-premise software. Cloud solutions can format and deliver data at the right time, without forcing company employees to become programmers instead of outdoor goods experts.

Because cloud solutions are designed for the modern Web, unlike conventional on-premise software, they make it easier to grow and reach customers through new and emerging channels, all while keeping employees productive and the costs low. Reusable bottle maker Bamboo Bottle Co, a start-up that went with NetSuite to build its business, took advantage of the integrated NetSuite offering to run its multi-channel business, coordinating sales through distributors as well as direct through its Ecommerce channel, which represents more than 50 percent of its overall business.

In this video(opens in new tab), listen to their Operations Associate, Mattie Ford, discuss their use of NetSuite.

Mountain Khakis and Bamboo Bottle are just two case studies of how an innovative brand can use technology to differentiate and grow their business. Every worthwhile, dedicated outdoor goods company started with a vision and an enthusiastic outlook as its greatest assets. Cloud computing solutions ensure that a business never has to compromise those foundational principles by becoming a victim to cumbersome and costly technology.

Cloud technologies can help create a path to sustainable, profitable growth and limitless scalability, from the early days of grassroots awareness and reputation-building to becoming a household name. If you’d like to learn more about some of the companies that NetSuite has enabled, you can visit us here(opens in new tab)

NetSuite has packaged the experience gained from tens of thousands of worldwide deployments over two decades into a set of leading practices that pave a clear path to success and are proven to deliver rapid business value. With NetSuite, you go live in a predictable timeframe — smart, stepped implementations begin with sales and span the entire customer lifecycle, so there's continuity from sales to services to support.

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