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THE NEWSMAGAZINE FOR RUNNING SPECIALTY RETAILERS / RUNNINGINSIGHT.COM

A DIVERSIFIED COMMUNICATIONS PUBLICATION

ITALIAN BRAND IS MAKING RUN RETAIL THE KEY TO ITS U.S. GROWTH

THE DIADORA MYTH THE BOLD IN BOULDER RETAIL Page 8 RUNNING’S FISH STORY Page 16

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RUNNING INSIGHT

Believing In The Mythos The Diadora Mythos 3 launch is focused on run specialty retail. On the cover: Philadelphia DJ and musician Edward Gieda in Diadora apparel and footwear.

Diadora looks to break out on the strength of the Mythos 3 launch. / By Mark Sullivan

C

an Diadora be the next breakout brand in running? Bryan Poerner certainly thinks so. The former collegiate runner who spent 14 years in sales with Puma has believed for a while that there is a major opportunity for a brand to come to market with a “retail centric” strategy truly focused on run specialty. Diadora is the brand with this same vision.

The 70-year-old Italian brand has been in and out of the running category over the past 10 years, so it has clean distribution, a solid reputation as a premium brand and nothing to lose and everything to gain with a specialty-focused game plan For Diadora that strategy includes distinct product segmentation; a strict adherence to MAP policies and a unique program that will share revenue from its direct sales with

RUNNING INSIGHT ® is a registered trademark of Diversified Communications. © 2018 all rights reserved. Running Insight is published twice each month, is edited for owners and top executives at running specialty stores and available only via email.The opinions by authors and contributors to Running Insight are not necessarily those of the editors or publishers. Articles appearing in Running Insight may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express permission of the publisher. Divesified Communications, 121 Free St, Portland, ME 04101; (207) 842-5500.

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run specialty customers. Since re-introducing Diadora into the run category two years ago, Poerner is seeing growing traction. The brand is now in 100 run specialty doors, double the amount from a year ago. And in the past month Diadora officially launched the Mythos 3, which retailers are touting as its best shoe yet. The Mythos 3 launch hits most of the marks for Diadora’s plans. The shoe has

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RUNNING INSIGHT

Diadora (continued) specialty-only distribution, is backed by a distinct marketing campaign and should be a major contributor to the brand’s “pecora nera” (“black sheep” in Italian) program, which will give all current running accounts a percentage of sales from running product sold off its website. “There are great brands in the run business,” says Poerner, “but all of them started their businesses before direct sales were a factor. They’ve had to react to the concept of consumer-direct sales and try and do it without upsetting their retailers. We’ve actually built our business model to include all our run retail accounts getting a percentage of any direct business we do. That way they are rewarded for helping to build our business.”

A Running Event Event

At T he Run n i ng Event, Diadora will host a ceremony at its booth to present retailers the proceeds from year one of pecora nera, which will take the revenue from 20 percent of the brand’s direct website sales and rebate it back to its specialty run accounts. And while Poerner admits the payments will be small, he wants to showcase what he says is an important part of the brand’s long-term plan. Skeptics say Diadora will be hard-pressed to generate longterm success without breaking through with they key national players, Fleet Feet, JackRabbit and Road Runner Sports. The shoes are already in 25 Fleet Feet stores, Poerner says, and he is happy to work with any premium running retailers

who share similar pricing and market strategies. “Not allowing third-party selling on Amazon and having robust MAP policies might be a challenge, but I really think this is the best direction for all specialty retail, and am certain we will find the right partners by sticking to these core values.” Diadora will be “retail centric” in its go to market strategies, Poerner says, and a little unconventional, too. The brand’s initial marketing campaign blends Diadora’s performance run product with some of its lifestyle heritage product. Rather than the typical shot of a runner in motion, the image photography features a tattooed Philadelphia DJ and musician named Edward Gieda III, who is also a marathoner. “We want to stand out in

a way that’s authentic to running and to who we are and we feel these images do that,” says Ryan Callahan, who is handling the marketing. A Unique HQ

The brand’s first U.S. headquarters since the 1990s also follows the unconventional theme. This fall Diadora had a grand opening party in its recently opened Philadelphia showroom, which is located in an old vocational high school built in the 1930s. Diadora’s is set up in a one-time science classroom and the cabinets that once housed beakers and Bunsen burners now hold high-tech run shoes. One of the factors that convinced Poerner that Diadora could break through in running is because so many of the

The Gelindo Connection

G

elindo Bordin was the first Italian to win the Olympic marathon, but he started out as a mountain cross-countr y runner. He made his debut in longer distances in 1984, winning the marathon in Milan. A year later he took a bronze in the World Championship marathon in Rome. The year 1988 was a successful one for Bordin. After breaking the Italian record in Boston (fourth place), he achieved his greatest victory by winning the Seoul Olympic Marathon, with a strong finish in the final stretch. In 1990, he became the first Olympic champion to win the Boston Marathon, breaking his own Italian record. In the same season he retained his European title in Split and just 35 days later he won the marathon of Venice. At Barcelona 1992, he tried to repeat the Olympic success, but an injury from a fall at a refreshment point forced him to withdraw after 30 km. He retired in 1993 after 18 marathons, an Olympic gold medal, two European titles, a bronze medal in the World Championships, and an Italian title for the halfmarathon. Today he is a marketing director for Diadora. n

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RUNNING INSIGHT

Diadora (continued) company’s Italian executives have backgrounds in competitive running. Gelindo Bordin may be the best known of the group, Bordin, who will be at Diadora’s booth during TRE, is the 1988 Olympic Marathon Champion and the 1990 Boston Marathon Champion with a PR of 2:08:19, and the only man to win both titles. Fabe Dia finished in fourth place in the 4 x 200 relays for France in the 2000 Olympics and Salvatore Bettiol, is a two-time Olympic Marathoner representing Italy with a 2:10:01 PR. Diana Žiliūtė, from Lithuania, has numerous UCI #1 Rankings, and World Road Cup first place finishes competing from the mid1990s to the mid-2000s. “They are passionate about the sport of running, the business and the product,” Poerner says. “They are committed to making this successful for the long-term.” n

“We’ve actually built our business model to include all our run retail accounts getting a percentage of any direct business we do. That way they are rewarded for helping to build our business.” BRYAN POERNER DIADORA

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RUNNING INSIGHT

Putting the BOLD In Boulder Retail A unique running community demands an equally unique blend of specialty stores. / By Daniel P. Smith

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he city of Boulder, CO, sits more than a mile above sea level, tucked along the foothills of the Rocky Mountains about 30 miles north of Denver. Boulder’s high altitude and scenic, though challenging terrain, including dozens of

local trails that tax runners’ legs and lungs, invite ambitious souls to test their fitness limits and inspire movement. Forbes and numerous other media outlets, in fact, have labeled Boulder America’s fittest city and it’s hard to live in – or even visit – Boulder and not be consumed by the area’s sweeping

recreational energy. Combined with healthy household incomes sitting among the tops in the U.S., Boulder’s fitness-frenzied culture makes the northern Colorado metro a desirable target for running specialty retailers. “Come to Boulder and there’s access to

The beautiful city of Boulder is a mecca for runners of all skill levels — and for run specialty retailers.

Photo: Downtown Boulder Partnership

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© 2018 Diversified Communications


RUNNING INSIGHT

Bold Boulder (continued) a customer base that doesn’t exist in a lot of other places across the country,” confirms Mark Plaatjes, who co-founded the Boulder Running Company in 1995 before selling it in 2013 to Running Specialty Group. As a result, Boulder is arguably – and quite unequivocally to some – the nation’s most competitive run specialty environment. When In Motion Running – Plaatjes’ much ballyhooed return to the running specialty scene – opens this month, the Boulder metro area will host six running stores, or one store for every 50,000 residents. By contrast, metro Chicago, widely considered a competitive run specialty market, features one shop for every 256,000 residents. No Place Like Boulder

GoFar (above) boasts a product assortment aimed at the diverse running community in Boulder. Below, Runner’s Roost has two stores in the area and has been a presence on the regional scene since 1977.

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It’s true: In the running specialty world, there’s no place like Boulder. Despite the recent closure of two running shops, a Fleet Feet Sports outlet and Flatirons Running, Boulder’s running retail scene currently includes: • Boulder Running Company, the 23-year-old store now owned by the California-based CriticalPoint Capital-JackRabbit enterprise • G o Fa r, a one -ye a r- old , 2500-square-foot shop opened by Ken Sung, co-owner of the venerable Gazelle Sports chain in Michigan • Two stores from Runners Roost, a respected presence in the Colorado running scene since 1977 • Shoes & Brews in nearby Longmont, a novel brewery/running store concept that captured headlines upon its 2014 opening and continues generating intrigue • In Motion, the new kid on the block from a man who’s been around the block a time or two Once called an “international mecca for distance runners,” Boulder has become as rich, varied and dynamic a running retail marketplace

as there is in the U.S., says Michael Sandrock, a local journalist who has written extensively about Boulder’s running scene and long been involved with the market’s major retail players. From old-timers to young blood, including collegiate All-Americans and professionals with impressive biomechanical or medical backgrounds, Sandrock says there is no shortage of innovative and accomplished running personnel in Boulder’s running shops. To wit: Plaatjes is a former marathon world champion and noted physical therapist, while RL Smith of Runners Roost Boulder is a former professional duathlete who’s earned a loyal following for his custom insole work. “Boulder has a deep collection of people who know the sport and it seems there’s a greater influx of these people into the area each year,” Sandrock says, reminding that Olympic champ Frank Shorter once owned a running shop in Boulder as well. Going Bold in Boulder

In such a competitive environment, Boulder running shops can’t be middling, ho-hum operations; rather, stores have little choice but to be progressive enterprises with clearly defined points of differentiation. “Being in this environment forces you to be very detail oriented and to really pay close attention to customers,” Plaatjes says. To that end, Sandrock sees each store filling its own niche, intentionally and confidently. Shoes & Brews, co-founded by a few former Boulder Running Company employees, celebrates the energized relationship between running and craft beer-fueled socialization. Runners Roost features a lounge area with plush seating and a bigscreen television, positioning itself as a vibrant, comfortable gathering © 2018 Diversified Communications


RUNNING INSIGHT

Bold Boulder (continued)

Shoes & Brews knows what it takes to be successful in Boulder.

spot for runners. In Motion pairs an expansive retail showroom alongside Plaatjes’ physical therapy and massage clinic, a 5000-square foot arrangement that mirrors what Plaatjes long had at the

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Boulder Running Company. “The easiest thing in the world is to do technical, medically focused gait analysis and then go to the shoe wall and provide appropriate recommendations. Actually one impetus for starting In Motion was to get that synergy back because the clinic and retail store feed one another,” says Plaatjes, whose practice, oddly enough, remained above the Boulder Running Company for the last five years. “We all have similar models on the wall,” Plaatjes continues, “so the only way I can stand out in this environment is to sell solutions to problems, not simply footwear, and to look at the foot from a physical therapist’s point of view with close attention to the small details. You have to create your own niche.” Go Far, meanwhile, is one of nearly 30 U.S. run shops boasting the high-tech Superfeet FitStation experience, while the store also

features a deep relationship with Smartwool that includes a diverse array of products from the Colorado-based apparel company. “I personally feel there’s enough room [for all these running stores to co-exist] because everyone has their own little take on things,” Sung says. He and manager Kate King have also worked to develop a hyper-community focus that fosters trust. From in-store clinics to sourcing products from local vendors like environmental apparel designer Katherine Homes, Go Far aims to show itself as a community-based operation that transcends the commercial transaction. “That’s an ethos Kate and I identified as our point of differentiation,” Sung says. “At the end of the day, people want to have a great experience with people they trust in a place that is authentic.” Though Sandrock says he

“Being in this environment forces you to be very detail oriented and to really pay close attention to customers.” MARK PLAATJES, IN MOTION

feels “the competition between the stores and every one knows what the other is doing,” he also notes a prevailing collaborative spirit. Everyone, he says, comes together for the Bolder Boulder 10K each May, while Revolution Running, among the largest running groups in Boulder, rotates its group runs among different stores. “And things like that are encouraging and positive [amid the competitive environment],” Sandrock says. “I think there’s a collective sense that Boulder benefits from having these different running stores and that they all bring something different to the table.” n

© 2018 Diversified Communications


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RUNNING INSIGHT

Under Armour Extends HOVR Line Brand is banking on running success with HOVR encore shoes. / By Brian Metzler

U

nder Armour will be making a big push to legitimizing itself as a performance running brand in 2019 when the extension of its HOVR line of running shoes drops on Feb. 1. The brand has been involved in running for 10 years, but it is banking on the second-year offerings of its innovative HOVR midsole technology to finally take it to the next level of retail and consumer appeal. Co-developed through a partnership with Dow Chemical, the HOVR technology includes proprietary foam compounds wrapped in a textile web to provide both cushioning and resiliency. The HOVR system debuted in February in the Sonic and Phantom performance-oriented models and has been a huge worldwide success for the brand, according to Josh Rattet, general manager for Under Armour Run. The marquee shoe of the line is the HOVR Infinite ($120), a neutral cushioning model that was designed to go up against the Brooks Ghost, ASICS Nimbus and other popular competing shoes in the marketplace. It’s built on a lightweight platform that includes a full-length HOVR cushioning platform, a lightweight, two-layer mesh upper, a molded PU sockliner and a segmented two-rubber outsole. It features an 8mm heel-toe offset (29mm/21mm) and weighs 10.7 oz. for a men’s size 9 and 8.7 oz. for a women’s size 7. The launch edition has a fade color motif inspired by a sunrise (orange/yellow for men, red/pink for women), but additional colorways will be launched on April 1 and June 1. “We set out to build a leapfrog product that would change the complexion of Under Armour Running and allow us to have a conversation with the modern global runner,” Rattet said on Nov. 6 at Under Armour’s Performance Innovation Center in Portland, OR. “From the offsets to the geometries to the materials, the cushioning and the responsiveness, everything was considered to bring to market a world-class neutral cushioning shoe.” 14

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UA’s five-shoe HOVR suite also includes the HOVR Guardian stability model ($120, 11.7 oz./9.8 oz., 26.5mm/18.5mm offset heights), which has a dual-density medial post and a media-side reinforced upper, and the HOVR Velociti 2 ($120, 8.9 oz.7.5 oz., 23mm/15mm offset) lightweight performance shoe with a thinner HOVR foam package and a profile that’s slightly lower to the ground. Rounding out the line are updates of the original models, the HOVR Sonic 2 ($100) and HOVR Phantom SE ($140). The women’s versions of the new HOVR shoes have been slightly tweaked to meet the differential needs of women runners based on UA’s data collection, including a slightly thicker sockliner with a higher arch, wider collar openings and a shorter vamp length. All of the shoes will feature Under Armour’s Connected chips that link up to the brand’s Map My Run run-tracking app. (The original HOVR shoes offered the Connected version at a $10 premium.) The Connected technology and Map My Run

app have been continually improved since its launch in 2016 and has recently been updated to include a wider range of more actionable data (including cadence and stride length) and real-time coaching tips. Under Armour also plans to release a tight collection of performance running apparel in a new Qualifier line that includes a T-shirt, tank top, a half-zip top, packable jacket, a running bra and a variety of shorts silhouettes. Under Armour is known for its big-bang marketing of new shoes and that approach helped make the 2018 HOVR launch a success. But for 2019, it will pay more attention to key running specialty stores in the U.S. and create a HOVR Tour that, combined with its strong digital and social infrastructure, will show-and-tell the new shoes and related products on a smaller-scale basis with retail partners, local elite runners and regional influencers, says Topher Gaylord, Under Armour’s Group GM for Run, Train and Outdoor. n

© 2018 Diversified Communications


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RUNNING INSIGHT

A Fish Story Two retailers discuss how owning a restaurant informs their work in the run channel. / By Daniel P. Smith

A

very Ainsworth isn’t like other running storeowners. Though Ainsworth, the owner Fleet Feet Sports Montgomery since 2013, devotes time to placing footwear orders, analyzing sales figures and leading group runs like most other running retailers, his attention and hands can – and often do – flip in an instant to other tasks such as slicing fresh fish pulled from the Gulf of Mexico, cutting produce or serving customers at High Five Poke Co., his fast casual restaurant in Montgomery, AL. Eager to bring healthy, fresh cuisine to a part of the country long dominated by fast-food chains and meat-and-three barbeque joints, Ainsworth launched High Five alongside former Mizuno rep Patrick Fellows last February. The eatery pairs poke – a raw fish salad popular in Hawaii – with a lively restaurant atmosphere that includes adult beverages and an entertainment-fueled outdoor patio. “With the running store and a healthy restaurant sitting side-by-side, we’re able to preach healthy living all around rather than just one piece of it and that’s very important and exciting to me,” Ainsworth says. Similarities and DIfferences

Among running retailers, Ainsworth isn’t alone in the restaurant game. Ken Sung, co-owner of Grand Rapids, MI-based Gazelle Sports, has owned Terra GR, a farm-to-table restaurant in Grand Rapids, for the past six years. Initially a behind-the-scenes strategic partner, Sung is now the sole owner of the 110-seat, fullservice eatery that sits about five miles away from the nearest Gazelle Sports outpost. Very little, however, ties Sung’s two businesses together. He has, in fact, intentionally kept the two separate and about the only hint of a relationship between the two operations is a popular salad at Terra GR called the Gazelle Salad. “There’s similarity in terms of quality and 16

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Avery Ainsworth’s High Five Poke Co. sits adjacent to his Fleet Feet Montgomery location.

expectations [between the running store and the restaurant], but restaurants are a totally different beast than retail,” Sung says. Which isn’t to suggest owning such wholly distinct concepts is devoid of value and opportunity. For one, Ainsworth says having the restaurant has allowed him to diversify his entrepreneurial portfolio. He studies the numbers from both businesses each day and takes solace that a slow day at one is generally balanced by productive traffic at the other. “That steady traffic helps me feel I’m succeeding in the long run,” Ainsworth admits. But there’s also a synergy that Ainsworth extracts from his adjacent businesses that share a health-conscious focus. Last June, for instance, Ainsworth’s Fleet Feet shop hosted a Global Running Day event. Following the fun run, more than 100 runners gathered on High Five’s patio to enjoy libations and live music. Though Ainsworth has not done any specific cross promotion such as bounce-back offers just yet and has largely limited the businesses’ co-mingling to events, he sees a variety of worthwhile possibilities.

“There’s opportunity to drive traffic to both locations, and that’s something we’ll explore more and more,” Ainsworth says. Informing Operations

In addition to providing a more diversified business portfolio, both Ainsworth and Sung say owning a restaurant has provided a different lens into business ownership that has strengthened their operational edge at the running store. At Terra GR, for example, Sung has learned to be “really good at what you want to be good at” by collaborating with chefs and consistently analyzing the restaurant’s menu and resources. That mindset has seeped into how Sung thinks about inventory at Gazelle’s five Michigan-based units. “Are we executing on what we do best time and again? Do we have the right product mix for our customers?” Sung says. “It’s not necessarily the right thing to try to be everything to everybody.” Much as Terra GR has its staple menu items that people turn to time and again, Sung wants Gazelle stores well stocked with in-demand items first and foremost. “That way, you build a following and trust © 2018 Diversified Communications


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RUNNING INSIGHT

Fish Story (continued) that enables you to offer customers different things,” he says. Owning a restaurant has also further sharpened Sung’s view of the core elements Gazelle needs to be successful. “At Gazelle, it’s about people, product and a high level of service,” he says. “If we can do that consistently and be of value to the community, then we can be successful.” At h is F leet Feet shop, Ainsworth says he has long worked to have the best customer-facing employees possible, earnestly reflecting on how individuals represent his running store. When hiring at High Five, he retained that same practice, and his experience with diner

Avery Ainsworth certainly knows his sneakers ... and fish.

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expectations at High Five has only cemented his resolve to hire first-class customer-facing employees at both operations. “And I believe that’s happening because we get positive comments on the service all the time at both places,” he says. There is, however, one restaurant industry practice Ainsworth would like to bring to his running store: quicker turns. In the restaurant, Ainsworth reminds, inventory turn is essential given the perishable nature of food and he’s endured an intensive, handson course in how weak inventory turns, waste and sunken costs hamper profitability. “In the restaurant, you’re always focusing on how to turn

product quickly,” Ainsworth says. “You’re doing this in the running store, too, but it’s not nearly with the same urgency.” That reality has compelled Ainsworth to consider more expeditious inventory turns at his Fleet Feet store and ways he might develop an even more strategic inventory plan, perhaps exploring limited-edition products or one-time purchases the running shop can swiftly enter and exit. “My mission now is to figure out how to bring the restaurant’s quick-turn principles to run specialty,” Ainsworth says. It’s a conundrum he’ll work to solve in between ordering footwear and slicing fish. n

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RUNNING INSIGHT

Race Directors Welcome at TRE Two days of education and events are aimed at race directors and retailers.

O

ne of the primary attractions for both exhibitors and attendees at The Running Event is the presence of race directors from around the country, who take advantage of the opportunities at TRE to see and learn about the latest and greatest new running products. The Running Event includes two days of education developed especially for those in the race and events business. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2018 Opening Night Reception, presented by Balega and Implus Brands 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Hilton Austin, Grand Ballroom 6th Floor WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2018 • Creating the Perfect Athlete Experience A special two-part session designed for race directors of medium and smaller events and retailers who want to break into the events business. It will cover basic race planning, including budgeting, timeline and logistics concerns.

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ALL ATTENDEES ARE ALSO INVITED TO PARTICIPATE IN TRE’S TWO MAJOR RUNS • The North Face High Visibility Night Run Wednesday, November 28, 7:30 p.m. • The Indie 5K Thursday, November 29, 7:00 a.m. at Hancock Golf Course.

• How to Green Your Race Presented by Recover Brands Make your race environmentally sound. Learn from races that have done it. Featuring: Tim Rhodes of the Charlotte Marathon, Big Sur Marathon Foundation’s Doug Thurston and Kary McKenna, of Cotopaxi. Moderated by Bill Johnson, Recover Brands 10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Modern Marketing for Races Presented by BibRave Learn from top races how they are cutting through the clutter and spending money in the most efficient ways. Moderated by Tim and Jessica Murphy BibRave 1:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

The BibRave 100 Awards Lunch Honor the Best Races in America at the Second Annual BibRave 100 Awards Lunch 12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.

For more information: • Mark Sullivan msullivan@Divcom.com • Troy Leonard tleonard@Divcom.com

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RUNNING INSIGHT

Education Runs The Running Event A series of seminars aims to make running shops better retailers.

Tuesday, November 27

The Last Numbers Presentation You’ll Ever Have to Sit Through Presented by SportsOneSource Neil Schwartz Patty Kelly Neil Schwartz a nd Pat t y Kel ly of SportsOneSource share data and insights on the running business. What’s going on in all retail channels and what it means for the future of the run specialty store. Wednesday, November 28 Run Safer Presented by ASICS RunSafer is a program created by Olympic distance runner and Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Todd Williams. This one-hour session will teach safety techniques and tips to help protect yourself in a dangerous situation. Todd Williams Understanding Customers Better to Personalize Messaging and Marketing Dean Gill, Upper Quandrant Dean enjoys helping running stores grow their businesses and he has always kept his philosophy simple: Listen to the client. While Dean Gill that may sound simplistic, Dean knows there is nothing more important than getting a feel for the cause of a specific challenge or issue. Dean helps companies combine their data to use it in new ways do drive business forward.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media Advertising Presented by Johanna Fiedler, Promoboxx Johanna Fiedler is the director of support and communities at Promoboxx, the only retail marketing platform, powered by brands, that connects and aligns national manufacturing Johanna Fiedler brands with independent, specialty retailers to increase local awareness and sales.

SPECIAL TRAILHEAD PRESENTATION Thursday, November 29, 4:30 p.m.

Topo ambassador and ultramarathoner Kyle Robidoux will speak about his personal experiences as an athlete with visual impairment and demonstrate how retailers can create physical and emotional connections by partnering with organizations that connect runners with disabilities with support networks. Retailers will learn about organizations and have an opportunity to connect directly United in Stride, Achilles International and Team Red, White, and Blue. Kyle Robidoux is an ultramarthoner, ski racer and community organizer who is also legally blind. He has been a Topo Athletic athlete since 2014 and when he’s not running he spends time with his wife and daughter at their home in Boston, MA.

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RUNNING INSIGHT

Affirmation Confirmation A primer on how a little affirmation affects returns at run specialty. / By Tom Griffen

I

got a call one day from a freaked-out store owner. Not an uncommon occurrence, but his problem was one I had never addressed specifically — his quarterly percentage of returns exceeded the industry norm by more than five points. And since the store was otherwise a healthy, high-volume business, this was a big red flag. Or, “a red flag on fire,” in his words. With a quickness I got myself to his location. I spoke to his managers about the problem. I inquired about staffers.

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Any new hires? How’s the on-boarding? What’s training look like? Is it consistent? I asked about various departmental processes. But when all was said and done, I left with my arms in the air. I knew I needed to get in the trenches myself. And just as well, because I love working the floor. So I disguised myself as a staffer – name badge and all – and worked with customers (and yes, I sold the heck out of the store, but that’s beside the point). Mostly I earhustled to ascertain the store’s face-to-face

THE STAFF WAS INADVERTENTLY ELIMINATING THE AFFIRMATION. THAT MOMENT IN TIME WHEN THEY TELL THE CUSTOMER, “WOW, YOU’VE MADE A GREAT CHOICE!” customer experience. I hoped the problem would identify itself. After three days, it did. Turns out the staff’s overall engagement story was stellar. They impressed me with their ability to ask good questions and truly listen to customers’ answers. I loved seeing employees connect customers’ stories to a laundry list of applicable products, then allow the customer to decide what they’re buying. It was a breath of fresh air to see the entire team dedicated to concluding the interaction on a high note — always walking the bag around the counter or offering to lug the purchase to the customer’s car. Good stuff. All of it. But there was one gaping hole in their process. One that, in my experience, directly correlates to an influx in product returns. The staff was inadvertently eliminating the affirmation. That moment in time when they tell the customer, “Wow, you’ve made a great choice!” This simple detail was absent. So, customers got home and wondered if they had, in fact, chosen wisely — which sets the stage for retail regret. Less than three months after they reinstated the affirmation, the percentage of returns was back to normal. Just. Like. That. Next time you’re working with a customer, make sure you let them know they’re going home with amazing things. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a product, information, a service, or whatever, remind them that they’ll be super happy with it. And don’t limit your comments to your customers alone. Affirm your colleague’s customers’ purchases, too. Everyone needs reassurance, so offer it up in your own way. Sweat the small stuff. It will, undoubtedly, have a tremendous effect on the health of your business. n © 2018 Diversified Communications


RUNNING INSIGHT

The Q Factor New Balance expands Q Speed Collection. / By Judy Leand

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he newest pieces in the Q Speed performance running a pp a re l l i ne a re slated to launch in Spring 2019 and feature New Balance’s premium NB Dry X technology. The assortment encompasses men’s and women’s tops and bottoms and combines technical performance with on-trend style touches such as muted colors, lots of ’80s influence, and camo prints. Retail pricing ranges from $45 to $90. The first pieces of the Q Speed collection recently launched and the line has been expanded for

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April 2019. NB says it will potentially keep growing the offering beyond 2019. On the footwear side, New Balance will introduce three models in January to complement the Q Speed collection. As its name implies, the Fresh Foam

More (MSRP $164) is a lightweight shoe that has more cushioning than before and is designed for core runners. The Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit ( MSR P $109.95) is a lightweight shoe targeting younger, novice runners. The Roav (MSRP $79.95) is suitable for running and day-to-day wear and is intended for younger, urban consumers. n

© 2018 Diversified Communications


RUNNING INSIGHT

running shorts Grab your BibBoards at TRE

Attendees participating in the Indie 5K at The Running Event 2018 in Austin, TX, later this month should make sure to stop by the registration area to pick up their BibBoards. What are BibBoards?, you ask? Basically, BibBoards provide a safer alternative to fasten a race bib to your shirt. They are a two-piece, lightweight race bib fastener with space for either stock or custom imagery and are safer and easier to use than safety pins and don’t feel heavy or cling like magnets do. So ask for Brian Founder of BibBoards at the Indie 5K registration and grab your free set after you register for the race. #SAVETHESHIRT”.

OS1st® socks are designed with strategically placed medical grade support along with unique features to provide relief and to help prevent recurring symptoms from your everyday foot and leg pain. The FS4+ targets Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles Tendonitis, ankle swelling, heel/arch pain and shin splints. The FS4+ can also be used for recovery after long runs or any activity.

4+ ™

Compression Bracing Socks REFLECTIVE LOGO (on front) CALF STABILIZER ZONE

+ ZONE

+

FIRM // Medical grade compression to increase blood flow

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FIRM // Supports the Achilles & boosts venous system

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ZONE #1 LIGHT // Boosts venous flow & provides stabilization

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ZONE #2 FIRM // Lifts the Plantar Fascia & boosts venous system

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RUNNING COMPANIES MAY LIE. RUNNING DOESN’T.

So many shoe companies. Dishing out so many marketing claims. It’s exhausting. But we don’t

make promises, we make shoes. For runners. And runners need shoes that actually perform. Which is where our foam comes in. Don’t believe us? Try on a pair, and let the running do the selling.

361usa.com


RUNNING INSIGHT

running shorts EnMotive to Showcase Photo Technology at Indie 5K

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nMotive, which is known for integrated timing and registration systems, has added a new component to its event services portfolio that it will demonstrate at The Indie 5K at The Running Event. The company has developed photo recognition software that allows it to quickly capture information on what brand footwear, apparel, accessories and wearable technology runners wear during races. At the Indie 5K the company’s on-course photographers will take pictures during the race and within minutes of the final runner crossing the finish line EnMotive will be able to deliver in-depth reports on exactly what footwear, apparel and accessory brands the competitors were wearing. In fact, when the trade show opens later that morning, EnMotive will present TRENDY awards to the three most worn brands in footwear, apparel and wearable technology. And then that evening EnMotive will share the results and all photos from the Indie 5K at a cocktail party preceding The Best Stores Awards Dinner. For more: www.enmotive. com/photography; Patrick McInerney, pmcinerney@enmotive.com n

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Brooks Partners With Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, together with Brooks Running, hosted a new professional one-mile invitational race – the Brooks Beasts Desert Throwdown – on the the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday, November 11, 2018. As part of the Toyota Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon weekend, 21 professional male and female runners raced down the Las Vegas Strip with a $20,000 total prize purse on the line. “At Brooks, we always look for new ways to engage runners and fans of our sport,” explains

© 2018 Diversified Communications


RUNNING INSIGHT

running shorts Matthew Weiss, director of marketing, retail, events and sports marketing. “ T he i naug u r a l Bro ok s Beasts Desert Throwdown [is] a unique, high-energy race that we hope will captivate runners everywhere.” Merrell Launches ‘One Trail’

Merrell has launched the One Trail project, a campaign celebrating diversity on the trail and seeking to contemporize attitudes about outdoor participation. The first element of the campaign is a mural of portraits taken on

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RUNNING INSIGHT

running shorts trails across the country on Sept. 1, 2018, commemorated in an online gallery at Merrell.com/ OneTrail. “The idea of this project is simple: celebrate the diversity of the trail by capturing a moment in time,” explains Strick Walker, CMO at Merrell. “The outdoors are enjoyed by everyone. Hopefully the project will become an inspirational reflection of that reality.” On Sept. 1, Merrell dispatched 50 photographers (one in each of the states) to their favorite local trails and together they created an unscripted portrait of America — on a single day. The individuals included in the campaign are not paid models, athletes or social media influencers. The photographers included Jeff Johnson (who photographed California’s Half Dome), Ryan Redcorn (a citizen of the Osage Nation who lives on the Osage Reservation in Pawhuska, OK) and a variety of other talented photographers with different backgrounds and passions. Dallas Running Co. Partners With Dallas Marathon

The BMW Dallas Marathon is partnering with the Dallas Running Co. As a supporterlevel partner of the Marathon, the Dallas Running Co. will be taking part in Dallas Marathon’s portfolio of events leading up to and throughout race weekend. The company will have a presence at the full marathon, 5K and 10K courses, including its own official hydration station. The company will also have a branded space at the Marathon’s Health and Fitness Expo, postrace parties and several of the 32

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BMW 5K Social Runs, where participants can explore fitness products and community training groups. “We have great respect for the BMW Dallas Marathon and we believe sponsoring the event will provide an opportunity to educate participants while providing the best quality athletic products on the market, something we take pride in every day,” says C. Tyler Harrison, owner and president of the Dallas Running Company. “As a company rooted in character, family and community, brought together by fitness, we are excited to align ourselves with the Marathon and introduce our brand to the Dallas market.”

Addaday Goes Electric

Oofos And Beyond Type 1

Recovery footwear maker Oofos has partnered with Beyond Type 1 as the official recovery shoe for the Beyond Type Run marathon team. The Beyond Type Run team is made up of 21 runners from six countries, each living with Type 1 diabetes, all running to raise awareness and funds for education, advocacy and a cure for the disease. After learning about the organization and its quest to help those living with Type 1 diabetes, Oofos recognized the synergies between Beyond Type 1 and its own mission to make people feel better. Oofos allows runners to recover faster with its proprietary OOfoam technology, absorbing 37 percent more impact than traditional athletic shoes. To help reduce stress on the runners’ ankles, lower back and knees, Oofos has gifted a pair of its OOmg Fibre and a pair of its New York Marathon slides. n

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ddaday, best known for its massage rollers, is introducing a line of electronic massage products for feet, arms, back, neck and legs. An ideal tool for plantar fasciitis and feet issues. Bliss (in photo) has two portals for the feet and can be used for forearm and triceps massages as well. Dual direction massagers create kneading and rotating motions. There is a heating option and it weighs less than five pounds. Suggested retail is $135. Turn any seat into a massage chair with the new Magic, a versatile massager that can be used on the back, neck, calves and quads. Magic has eight kneading nodules that rotate in two directions and has a soft mesh detachable fabric cover for easy cleaning and maintenance. Magic shuts off automatically after 20 minutes and retails for $95. Looking for the perfect tool for a full body self-massage. Torch, a handheld massager, has interchangeable massage heads that deliver up to 3150 percussions per minute. The ergonomic design is easy to grip and intuitive to use. The eight modes of vibration and percussion offer a variety of massages. Suggested retail is $79. The company debuted the product line at the recent New York Marathon Expo and has already begun shipping to retailers. The line will be showcased and available for demonstration at The Running Event in the Addaday Booth #325 and in the SportStyle Select Pavilion. n

© 2018 Diversified Communications


RUNNING INSIGHT

Competitor Maps Its Runners or five miles per run on average. They run 239 days of the year and log 1206 yearly miles. • While typical Competitor runners are devoted to the sport, they are also committed, dedicated, and well-rounded athletes who regularly cross-train and participate in other fitness activities. • 97 percent of respondents participate in races each year. Their favorite race distances by participation are the 5K (3.6 raced per year), halfmarathon (2.6 raced per year), and the 10K (2.6 raced per year); 54 percent run one marathon each year. • The audience heavily uses running and fitness technology. 95 percent own fitness training technology products, including sports watches, GPS-enabled sports watches and heart-rate monitors; 96 percent use technology on their runs and a 61.5 percent use technology on every run, while 92 percent use fitness-related mobile apps such as Garmin Connect, Strava and MapMyRun.

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unners are increasingly supplementing their road running by hitting the trails, according to a recently released reader survey from Competitor. According to Competitor’s 2018 Running Audience report, 97 percent of its audience runs mostly on road, averaging 3.5 days a week, but 70 percent also run on trail, averaging about 1.3 days a week. Runners are running less frequently on tracks and treadmills, according to the study; about half run on a

track one day a week, while 66 percent run on a treadmill one day a week. Among other hightlights of the research: • The Competitor audience will spend an average of $2200 on running apparel, shoes, and related travel this year. • 98 percent of respondents purchased r unning-related apparel in the past 12 months (not including shoes) and 91 percent plan to buy running apparel in the next 12 months; 65 percent spent between $100-$500 on apparel,

© 2018 Diversified Communications

and on average, spent $328 on running apparel. • 97 percent bought running shoes in the past 12 months and 91 percent plan to buy new running shoes in the next 12 months; 76 percent spent between $100$500 on shoes. On average, they spent $328 on shoes within the last 12 months, or about two or three pairs a year, putting in 400600 miles of running per pair on average. • The typical Competitor audience runs 4.6 days per week for a weekly mileage of 23.2 miles,

About the survey The 2018 Competitor Running Audience Study was conducted by Attlesey Consulting of Santa Fe, NM. The study commenced on July 17, 2018 and was promoted on the Competitor Running home page during the fieldwork. The readers were asked to participate in the survey via a supplied URL. By the closing date of August 15, 2018, 6116 returns had been received. Respondents were filtered so that only Competitor Running readers aged 18 and over were included. The filtering yielded a net survey respondent count of 5333. n runninginsight.com 33


THE RUNNING EVENT

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NOVEMBER 27-30, 2018 • AUSTIN, TX

An interactive, educational area on the exhibit hall floor devoted to the growing trail running category. Featuring presentations from top athletes, brands and retailers who will highlight opportunities around this evolving business. Presenting Sponsors:

Content Partner: Supporting Sponsors:

Visit www.therunningevent.com/trailhead for more details and a daily presentation schedule.

Special Seating Sponsor:

Media Partner:

Research Partner:

Profile for Running Insight

Running Insight 11.15.18  

Running Insight 11.15.18  

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