Innovation at Salomon is driven by its close relationship with its athletes and consumers. While athletes' insights help with coming up with advanced and technical gear, not everyone wears the latest S/Lab gear. To develop products, Salomon also makes sure to be close to nature and outdoor customers. Knowing what motivates “normal” customers, what brings them outside or keeps them from adventuring outdoors is very important to get a better understanding of current trends.
This is why Salomon employees from the Apparel and the Footwear department organized an outdoor weekend with outdoor ladies, bringing different profiles in the mountain (Salomon ambassadors, a yoga teacher, and outdoor aficionados) and observing the group while they took part in outdoor activities. Romy MEY, Product Line Manager for Apparel at Salomon, explains: “It’s more impactful to have several people expressing their opinions, especially when you have different profiles”.
Salomon does not take people in the mountains just for fun. Well, we do, but in our spare time. The goal of this weekend was to get to know different types of customers better and understand what they think of the Salomon brand and its products, as well as their overall approach of the outdoors. Salomon products were also being tested, including hiking shoes and hiking apparel, but the main focus was on understanding their perception of the outdoors. To do so, the two days consisted of hikes, focus groups, and workshops. Workshops were organized around the products tested and participants were asked questions linked to their outdoor activities: how do they stay active in the city, what are their go-to products, what are they looking for in the outdoors, etc.
The first day started with a hike so the participants could get to know each other better and be comfortable with talking to each other. It is important to give the participants things to see and talk about. “We need to make sure they have a good time”, Romy says, “so they have nothing that keeps them from speaking”. In the afternoon, the workshops and focus groups consist of a discussion about the products they were just using, and about their hiking/running/climbing/swimming habits.
Talking about the participants, Romy says: “It’s like they’re in a store with their friends, they will speak about what they like and don’t like about the product”. The goal is to pick up those pieces of conversation in order to get a better understanding of what these ladies enjoy the outdoors. “It’s very important to observe because not everything is said out loud”, Romy adds. Bringing this group together allowed us to emulate opinions and encouraged talking and reviewing. The insights from this weekend gives directions for future Salomon products and initiatives. Participants also had a great time, as said by Anna Magdalena, cardiovascular scientist and outdoor enthusiast: "It has been an incredible trip and it was so lovely to connect with other people who have the same passion and to discuss the outdoors, what we love most and to be a part of this and give some opinion on the future generation of Salomon woman's products."