Oct 15, 2005

Nautilus Flexes its Customer Advocacy Muscles

Like most consumer products businesses today, the fitness product marketplace – and specifically the premium product segment - is exposed to a number of discontinuities that could have profound implications for product manufacturers aiming at the consumer/home opportunity:
  • Chain fitness product retailers (e.g., Busy Body/Fitness Warehouse) are gaining strength and trying to leverage their increased power and influence over product manufacturers (e.g., demanding product exclusives, territory protection, merchandising support, etc.).

  • Consumers are increasingly starved for time and are putting greater emphasis on convenience, raising the specter of non-traditional fitness product channels playing a greater role in attracting future shoppers.

  • Premium product manufacturers are under increasing pressure by retailers to offer broader and deeper offerings across core cardiovascular and strength product categories.

  • Retailers are blurring “class of trade” distinctions by moving aggressively into wholesale sales to health clubs and other commercial accounts.

  • Overall channel sophistication in the consumer marketplace is relatively low, with only a small number of large regional or national players.
Here's a winning response from Nautilus, Inc.: give consumers the opportunity to design a treadmill that best suits their personal fitness requirements. Nautilus Sport Series treadmills give individual consumers the ability to choose from three platforms, three electronic displays and three software packages, and create a treadmill specially tailored to their needs.

"Customization is a powerful opportunity because consumers tell us that customization leads to higher levels of motivation in incorporating fitness into their weekly routine," said Tim Hawkins, chief marketing officer for the fitness company. "It also creates greater consumer confidence because consumers can select what they will use for years to come, while components can be updated as family fitness patterns evolve."

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