There’s nothing casual about the way our Hot 100 retailers of toys, hobbies and sporting goods go about their business. They sell fun and games, to be sure, but in a way that builds on the passion consumers have for their products and in many cases explains the science behind them.
When Monkey Sports Inc. decided to launch online, it realized it was in a tough league led by the sites of professional sports leagues. So it made sure its e-commerce presence supported the quality image of its brands. “We’re top-tier in the hockey niche and wanted to look like top-tier sites,” says e-commerce manager Tom Barr.
Its sites, including HockeyMonkey.com, fit the bill with high-end graphics and demonstration videos that cater to its customers’ passion about hockey and drill down into the details of its products.
Likewise at the other retailers in this category. Nike.com lets shoppers choose the outsoles on running shoes that best suit their running style, and explains why certain ones are best for particular running surfaces; Orvis.com offers more than 100 instructional podcasts that help shoppers better understand the intricacies of fly fishing and other outdoor sports; Shop.CallawayGolf.com shows customers not only how to find the right style of golf club, but why particular construction materials and other specifications would support their golf game.
At Shop.Mattel.com, toy maker Mattel Inc. presents video interviews with toy designers who explain how they were inspired to create particular dolls or toy cars; shoppers can click any video to buy a featured product. For the older kids among us, RevZilla.com sells high-tech equipment for motorcycles with plenty of video and text content that explain how its gear works. “Since we are selling a technical product that has lots of science behind it, customers appreciate that we take a deeper dive,” says co-founder Anthony Bucci.
Mountain Equipment Co-op’s MEC.ca provides both sporting images—like skiers blasting through deep, fluffy snow—and well-organized, practical information about equipment, to give visitors all the motivation they need to enjoy the outdoors.
“We exist to get people to be active, and the mission is to help people enjoy the benefits of outdoor recreation,” says chief information officer Georgette Parsons.
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