The outdoor industry has experienced a boom in 2020, as consumers flock outside to enjoy the warmer weather, exercise and socialize in a pandemic-friendly way. This is a great opportunity for independent and specialty retailers, but only if they are able to merchandize effectively. A new partnership between NuOrder and Grassroots Outdoor Alliance aims to help outdoor retailers turn this opportunity into a revenue stream.
Through the partnership, Grassroots Outdoor Alliance member retailers will be able to access NuOrder’s B2B digital wholesale platform from the fall. Vendors will be given free access to sell to these retailers, resulting in a larger assortment of goods for Grassroots members to review and purchase.
“The speciality retailer is trying to juggle a million jobs and roles,” said Heath Wells, co-founder and co-CEO at NuOrder. “They could be an owner-operator or have only a few buyers for the store. As such, the [wholesale] offering needs to be easy to use and create major efficiencies by allowing the retailer to easily pick products, order and finally export data so it can be set up in the point of sale system.”
Specialty retail makes up the bulk of NuOrder’s user base, although the platform is also known for its relationships with department store powerhouses like Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Ave. With 500,000 retailers currently using NuOrder, the platform is part of a growing movement across the footwear industry to embrace digitization.
The implementation of technology and digital tools is less common in traditional brick-and-mortar businesses than in DTC brands or national retail chains. They don’t have access to the same cash flow as larger corporations and also don’t usually rely on e-commerce to the same degree. Previously, there has been less pressure to embrace digitization, as so much of their business is conducted in-person.
However, broad industry evolution, combined with the disruption of the pandemic, has caused many to see the benefits of a technology-supported business. A more efficient order management system is especially valuable right now to help retailers react quickly and organize their assortments, as consumer preferences change and supply chains continue to be impacted.
“The goal here is to directly improve the bottom-line financial health of retailers by improving their ability to visualize, budget, plan and buy from multiple brands at the same time,” said Rich Hill, president of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance. “The traditional assortment selection and merchandise buying process will be vastly improved on this platform.”
The relationship with NuOrder is the latest in a series of investments made by the Grassroots alliance to strengthen the digital power of their members. Grassroots ConnectHub, a free online resource center, was launched after the cancellation of the spring ’20 trade shows, as a means to equip retailers with necessary guidance and tools. The organization has also made a commitment to replace paper workbooks with digital formats, which it began in 2019.
For NuOrder, this new group of retail users has been described as a “win-win.” Not only does the wholesale platform provide a transparent and centralized location to manage orders and assortments, Wells believes that the partnership will result in smarter decision making — and thus greater sales and future purchase volumes.