STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo — Feb. 17, 2000– This week industry leaders participating in XLSports.com’s “Sports In E-Commerce Summit” presented an overview and shared key observations on the industry landscape.
The event featured presentations by Marc Johnson, vice president of the research firm Jupiter Communications, and Joe Pellegrini, a director with Robertson Stephens, as well as a panel discussion with other e-commerce experts. During the conference, XLSports.com made public its unique business model targeting personal sports participants.
With some of the best snow conditions in Colorado (and the United States) and Lyle Lovett set to perform, the event combines business, sports and entertainment.
The rising expectations of online consumers was one recurring theme of the conference. Commerce Web sites, content Web sites and suppliers alike discussed the need to focus more on the retention of customers by improving in areas such as fulfillment, merchandising and customer service.
Jupiter’s research for instance, found that of more than 70 top e-commerce sites, 41% failed an email customer service test (failed = took more than 5 days to respond, never responded to or had no email customer service option). Jupiter also observes that mainstream consumers have no patience for sites that let them down, and will gravitate to the online and offline businesses that exceed their expectations.
This evolving consumer landscape is cast against the changing media and retail environment in which commerce and content companies, pressed to expand their margins, find themselves increasingly in overlapping businesses. Online sports, with its unique mix of product retailing and themed content, provides perhaps the best example of this convergence.
The XLSports.com Model
Hank Kashiwa, chief executive officer and members of XLSports.com’s executive team presented a detailed outline of the company’s business model. Set to launch later this year, XLSports.com will offer a handpicked collection of personal participation sports at launch, including skiing, snowboarding, cycling, golfing, fitness and fly-fishing.
XLSports.com will be an online gathering place for avid “sports-for-life” participants. The site will provide a personalized, interactive experience and will feature:
— category specific “coaching” on technique as well as
conditioning, motivation and inspiration
— advice on sports medicine and nutrition in cooperation with
Topper Sports Medicine of the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic in Vail,
— recommendations and the opportunity to purchase the best products
for varying abilities
— custom travel packages with spokespersons of key manufacturers
“The XLSports.com model offers a profitable solution to the e-commerce challenge facing many sporting goods manufacturers. Our commerce partners will realize greater margins than current brick and mortar or other Web based retailers,” said Hank Kashiwa, CEO of XLSports.com.
“Our cooperative marketing strategy is based on preserving brand and price integrity. We will also provide specialized customer service with ‘in the culture’ personnel, advanced system technology enabling quick-to-market product integration, and up to the minute sell-through reports and category analysis to aid in forecasting and product development.”
Manufacturing & Strategic Partners
To date XLSports.com has contractual agreements with over 50 manufacturers in the following categories: Bike — Colnago, Bell Sports, Giro, Sidi, Yeti, Shimano; Golf — McHenry Metals, Belding Sports, Dimension Z; Fishing — Peerless Fly Reels, ADG International (Titanium Rods); Ski/Snowboard — Northwave, Da Kine, Volant; and Fitness — Schwinn Fitness.
XLSports.com’s model will be supported by an aggressive marketing campaign. The company has negotiated key alliances that will allow its manufacturing partners to aggregate their collecttive resources to create and sustain a successful online presence.
Current strategic partners include Sprint, Motorola, Penske Logistics, Organic, Inc. and Chevy Tahoe. Sprint will be providing the website architecture and construction as well as the Web hosting and transport for XLSports.com. Most recently, XLSports.com announced a partnership with Chevy Tahoe. The site will feature a facsimile of the Chevy Tahoe as its shopping cart.
“Chevy Tahoe believes that partnering with XLSports.com provides the opportunity to reach its key demographic target,” said Kashiwa. “Natural synergies exist between Chevy Tahoe and XLSports.com that are ideal for building a strong joint marketing program.”
XLSports.com will offer personal sports enthusiasts a combination of compelling content and information, a true community, as well as the opportunity to purchase quality products and travel packages. XLSports.com will specialize in personal participation sports and will offer a handpicked collection of sports at launch, including: skiing, snowboarding, cycling, golfing, fitness and fly-fishing.
The company is partnering with industry experts and top manufacturers to bring customers a comprehensive selection of leading brand-name sports equipment and apparel.