After working with several outdoor brands for months TheClymb.com, a Portland, OR startup, officially launched. The site essentially offers brands an online channel where they can liquidate excess goods at up to 70% below retail prices in a way that does not undermine brand equity, explained Cec Annett, co-founder and president of Retail Innovation Group, which launched the concept.
The site will be managed behind a firewall so it cant be trolled by search engines and it will complete sales in three days. Both of these features were designed with the idea of protecting brand integrity. TheClymb will feature multiple SKUs and company collateral materials to ensure a complete presentation of the brands story. It enables the brands to move excess inventory in a way that is very discreet, very quiet and very respectful of their brand, said Annett.
In one recent private sale, the website featured a branded altimeter tracking the progress of one of the brands sponsored athletes as he scales a crag in an adjoining video. Weve had some brands who said it looks better on your website than ours, Annett said.
Annett came up with the idea while working at adidas when he was asked to liquidate a $25 million return from a major athletic shoe chain.
My job was to make it go away, he said. That was a difficult thing to do. For years, brand managers just would say make it go away and hope it would not come back and bite them. Often it would.
Since The Clymb’s first online sale in November 2009, the site has steadily added thousands of members each week. Membership is free, but is by invitation only; whether through opting in at the web site or being invited by The Clymb or an existing member. Upon joining, members are offered incentives to invite like-minded friends, family and colleagues and are rewarded with a $10 credit for each referral’s first purchase.
Our goal is to establish strong relationships with brands, said Annett. The way we close out product is much better than if they were to close it out with someone who transships it and it ends up in Costco. Weve been offered gray market product and refused it.
The company hopes to be featuring up to three sales per week from outdoor, snow sports and cycling brands in coming months.