For me it was like being kid in the candy store, that was ISPO for me this year. One of the biggest expos for Sports, Fitness and Outdoor gear. With green apples and bananas you could pick up for free instead of chocolates and cheap sweets; studying the European Outdoor Industry was a treat – quite literally. Here are highlights from the expo.
This was an expo showcasing not just the latest outdoor and adventure clothes and gear but also insights, industry trends, consumer behaviour relevant to the most relevant issues of our times. ISPO 2014 focused on sustainability and ISPO 2015 focused on health and fitness – inspiring people to get fit.
This extended well from the products showcased to the trend analysis shared with the audience about where the world is going with regards moving towards sustainable practices. It was refreshing to see speakers at the forums propagate the story about sustainability to retail, people who have more interests in ecoconcepts should propagate it via, ask manufacturers to be more sensitive towards the environment by ensuring best practices – asking what companies they procure the products from, and check for best/ sustainable practices there.
The new trend topics “Health & Fitness” as well as “Wearable Technologies” reflect the spirit of the times and set new standards for the world of sports. Klaus Dittrich, Chairman of the Management of Messe München GmbH, explains: “Health & Fitness is an important growth market. Since last year we have dedicated an entire exhibit hall to this trend to take into account the growing health consciousness in our society. This creates new potential for the sports industry. The extremely positive feedback from exhibitors and visitors shows that we have made the right decision.”
The ISPO Academy Retail Tour was a significant learning experience too. Both on account of studying retail strength of outdoor brands in Germany and understanding the nuances display – what with the variety of sporting options available and therefore detailed visual merchandising, marketing and consumer engagement for the same.
The Three Retail Stores we visited:
Globetrotter: On a 6500 sq mtr sales floor, the outdoor equipment company Globetrotter is like Disneyland for outdoorsy people. Everything about the store is experiential – literally. You can walk into a sub zero chamber to test how warm the winter wear clothing is; step into the rain chamber to experience how a rain wear jacket functions. A canoe basin, a climbing wall, elevation and altitude controlled chambers to train for high altitude sports and once you are done with all that a travel store complete with posters, calendars, maps, itineraries and booking agents to book your trips!
Patagonia: Under the mission statement: “Build the best product and cause no unnecessary harm to the environment”, I truly saw Patagonia transferring this brand statement to the store and it was beautiful to hear their story of the evolution of the brand from the store manager. It created an almost informal, living room like atmosphere.
The Stories We Wear is a beautiful collection of love notes from clients for whom clothing bought from Patagonia has passed from father to daughter and through generations of adventures in the outdoors. Garments being passed on as legacy truly is a beautiful thought, isn’t it?
Bogner Headquarter: The World of Bogner – 80 years of sport and style, we got to see what goes on behind the scene of this sexy outdoorsy ski brand. Bogner stands out like no other brand for the way it combines sportiness, functionality and fashion – all combined with the highest standards of exclusivity and quality. We saw it first and it was quite an exclusive experience.
Another fabulous experience was being a part of the ISPO Academy, where we focused on engineering and developing new products in the outdoor garments and gear segment. The process includes developing a new design on the basis of client feed back and trending scientific technology, newly developed lighter fabrics and creating a new product for testing. More than being behind the scenes of the outdoor shopping experience, it adds a vital understanding to what goes into the quality, longevity and therefore sustainability of the products we use in our day to day life.
Beyond the first day, connecting with brand ambassadors, product developers, the outdoor media and environmentalists; witnessing the community of the european outdoors was a fabulous experience. Praise for best practices, exchanging notes on immersive marketing methods as well as fears expressed about the lack of snowfall and its impact on the ski industry; a vital exchange and interaction with the outdoor community is what I experienced.
I chanced upon this creative that sums up the true spirit of the outdoors; believing anything is possible. Hope it leaves you (as it did me) with a smile and an itch to go out there; and be outdoorsy.