Independent retailers are vital to the footwear industry, especially when it comes to the athletic and outdoor markets.
In an effort to keep traffic and sales going to these small businesses, some brands such as Brooks, Chaco and Vans have implemented programs and shop-local initiatives on social media.
Below, check out the ways brands are ensuring their small, independent retail partners remain a priority in uncertain economic times.
To get its customers shopping at local running stores, Brooks revealed three ways to support them on March 20 via Instagram. The suggestions include finding a store nearby for curbside pickup or same-day delivery, give five-star reviews to these businesses and buy gift certificates to use at a later date. “Even when we can’t run together, we can still stick together. Support your local running store with these three ideas,” the brand wrote in the image caption. “Visit the link in our bio to find a local store where Brooks will cover fees for same-day delivery or curbside pickup.”
In an interview with FN on March 30, Brooks CEO Jim Weber explained why it’s more important than ever to support specialty run retailers. “We’re firm believers that the local running shop is not going away,” Weber said. “They’re community stores that are engaged and connected and create their own traffic, but right now they’re struggling to do commerce with their stores closed.”
The outdoor lifestyle footwear brand launched on April 29 its “Stay Home. Shop Local” dropship program to encourage consumers to spend money with small retailers during this period of isolation. According to Chaco, the program will give participating retailers the chance to offer the brand’s products online via Chacos.com, and the retailers will earn a percentage on every sale with Chaco handling the delivery and returns. “For over 30 years, independent retailers have been the backbone of Chaco’s business and the foundation of our community — it’s critical we support them in these challenging times,” Chaco interim GM and VP of sales Todd Gordon said in a statement. “Now more than ever, brands need to think creatively about how we support independent retail, and we believe this program will provide immediate opportunities for our retailer partners.”
On April 3, Vans announced that it would help 80 small, independent businesses with its “Foot The Bill” initiative, which will sell the custom-made designs of those retailers on the Vans Customs section of its website via the Vans.com/footthebill landing page. The net proceeds, according to Vans, will go directly to these businesses. “My father, Paul Van Doren, always said that we were a people company that made shoes. Now more than ever, it’s important to support the people that provide spaces for communities around the world to be creative and come together,” Vans VP of events and promotions Steve Van Doren said in a statement. “We were once a small business and wouldn’t be where we are today without the support of these partners. We hope to rally together with our consumers to lend a helping hand to those that are in need.”