New Sales Methods, New Markets

New Sales Methods, New Markets

  • By: Kirk Deeter
Angling Trade fade

We’re hearing a lot about the new products fly companies will unveil in 2012 (and rest assured, FR&R and Angling Trade will detail the hot newcomers before they even hit the racks of your favorite fly shop). Here are a few hints: Patagonia is coming out with a wading boot that uses mountaineering technology to dramatically improve traction. Sage shelved its Z-Axis in favor of a rod line called “One”; by early accounts, it is indeed something special. Orvis, Hardy and others are introducing new products across wide price ranges that should have consumers chomping at the bit to try (and buy). Overall, I expect 2012 to be a solid new product year—one of the best in a decade.

But product news is only half the story. The buzz largely revolves around the ways products are being sold (or will be sold), and to whom they will be targeted. For example, Redington (part of Far Bank Enterprises, along with Sage and Rio), just announced it will sell product direct to consumers via its Web site.

That might not seem like a big deal to the average consumer. After all, you can buy Patagonia, Orvis and many other lines with a click of your mouse. And as far as e-bay bidding and direct sales from shops are concerned, the sky is the limit. But the fact that Redington will sell tackle directly online (Sage and Rio are not going there… for now), is a sign that the company feels pressed to launch an E-commerce sales strategy.

Question is, will fly anglers still feel compelled to walk into a shop, ask for advice and take a “test drive” via a few casts out back before buying? Or will anglers who know what they want choose the convenience of the computer click, and maybe save some money (state taxes) in the process?

Another major player in the fly world, Simms Fishing Products, just made a big splash by launching a line of rain gear—jacket, bibs, etc.—that targets Bass Nation. To show they’re dead serious about it, Simms signed a team of high-profile professional B.A.S.S. anglers, including Gary Klein, Aaron Martens and Ish Monroe, to wear their gear on the competitive bass fishing circuit.

The point is, fly companies are getting aggressive in expanding their reach by making products easier to buy for “the base,” and also by reaching out to new markets. Whether or not that pays dividends is going to play out in 2012. But the sales paradigm has changed, and there’s no telling where this might go in the months and years ahead. —Kirk Deeter

Angling Trade covers the business of fly-fishing; go to www.anglingtrade.com.