A Web site that ski apparel company Descente North America set up in 2005 to drive business to specialty retailers has been sold to the country’s biggest ski media company in hope of increasing the system’s public exposure – and sales.
Descente North America sold SnowGalleria.com last month to Mountain Sports Media (MSM), owners of Ski and Skiing magazines, Warren Miller’s SnoWorld and the online site, SkiNet.com.
SnowGalleria.com will be meshed into SkiNet.com and emerge in September as SkiNetShop.com. That coincides with the late-August publication of gear guides in Ski and Skiing, and precedes the next national Warren Miller film tour.
In the ski industry, 15-20 percent of all sales are over the Internet. That’s about $250 million of online sales.
Retailers hook into the system for free. Manufacturers such as Descente buy in for a nominal fee and display their products on the site. When consumers go through a typical online purchase process there, Shopatron directs the sale to the affiliated specialty retailer closest to the customer’s residence.
bout 20 ski manufacturers were part of SnowGalleria.com last season.
This type of manufacturer-retailer collective is not distinct to the ski industry. Still, two years of being part of the Shopatron system have benefitted Alpine Sports, an Ogden specialty retailer co-owned by Peggy Chambers. And she expects the additional exposure provided by MSM to help her business even more.