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Looking at new markets with Spejder Sport

Written by: Max Riis Christensen


Starting out life as a uniform depot for Danish Scouts in 1945, today the Spejder Sport brand has simply become synonymous with outdoor life.

From hiking and trail running to mushroom hunting and, yes, scout expeditions the company sells goods from top outdoor brands and also developed its own ranges including Asivik. 

In the latest story in our Succeed Abroad series, Thomas Vangsgaard, CEO of Spejdersport shares his learnings on market expansion tactics and reflections on the company's growth with our learning community.

“There are many roads to Rome but it's also important that we have fuel or power in the car when we drive down them,” - Thomas Vangsgaard, CEO of Spejder Sport. 

Expansion tactics: How to pick your expansion strategy

Today, Thomas tells us around 20% of Spejder Sports sales come from its webshop. Like all brands looking for future growth, potentially in new markets, there are many options to consider. 

The biggest challenge in new markets is of course the competitive landscape and for retailers like Spejder Sport, which sells a lot of inventory from third-party brands that are not unique to its store, winning over local customers is challenging. 

“If you target customers online, well, there are two ways to win them over. One can be through content and service, and the other can be through price. If we enter a market where no one knows our or Spejdersport, it's definitely difficult to avoid the price war,” he says.

As the old adage goes, you often have to spend money to make money when it comes to unlocking growth. The question is: on what?

“Do we actually need to use our resources when we (already) have something to strengthen in Denmark, or should we try to enter that completely blue-red ocean, which is going online in other markets?”  he asks.

In Sweden for example there is Outnorth where Thomas says there is a 90% overlap with the brands they carry. 

“It's important that we are honest with ourselves about the likelihood of success in pursuing these things,” says Thomas.

One thing is whether we should go the route of competing head to head with local competitors with a similar offering or whether they should open more stores in Denmark. 

Or whether they should go all in with their own brands like Asivik, put them on a partner program and find a distributor in Eastern Europe where he sees a big trend around outdoor activity as well.


Competing with the brands you sell 

Another consideration when it comes to a company like Spejder Sport growing its online business is the delicate and symbiotic relationship with brands that also have their own online stores. 

“That's where we sell based on content rather than price,” he says. “We can do that where we have recognition. It's clear that it's an evaluation and conversations we have with the brands we work with.

"Do they actually want our assistance, or do they prefer having their own distribution? That's a question they struggle to answer.”

The outdoor equipment, gear and clothing business looks to be going through the same process fashion retail went through a few years ago. 

While brands ideally want to control the entire customer experience and the context in which their products are presented, many ultimately accept giving up some control because of the valuable upside they get from being distributed through marketplace and department store type shops. 

It is however likely that the market will settle around a few big dominant online retailers, like Zalando in fashion. 

So, the question becomes: do you want to enter new markets and build more of a brand store for yourself or attempt to focus on translating the success of your brand in your home market and ultimately build a brand for your suppliers? 


How to succeed abroad: Distance versus speed 

Each company’s international growth story is unique but the conclusion often seems to be the same: finding success abroad is a process that simply takes time. 

There is always a question about whether it makes more sense to grow volume in the markets where you are active or whether to invest in building relationships with customers in new markets. 

Thank you Thomas for sharing some of your key learnings from Spejder Sport’s story with us and welcome to the community.

This is the latest story in our series where 50+ top e-commerce professionals share their learnings on market expansion tactics, localisation and technology across markets with our learning community. Check out the full collection here for more tips. 


Max Riis Christensen

Max, the CEO at MakesYouLocal, specialises in cross-border e-commerce. His expertise encompasses building business cases, developing rollout strategies, and ensuring successful international launches. With a vast network and a track record with renowned companies, Max is instrumental in helping brands succeed abroad.


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