How To Run A Successful Brick and Mortar and E-Commerce Business with Osprey Packs


Kami York-Feirn, Social Media Specialist. VP of Product Design and Marketing and Rob Bon Durant are part of the marketing team behind Osprey Packs. Osprey Packs is one of the largest outdoor backpack brands in the USA, found in REI and other major outdoor brick and mortar stores. Recently, they have launched their e-commerce store and in 2019 they will officially launch their ambassador program.

Osprey packs was started in 1974 as a personally customized backpack company. Customers could come in, have their measurements taken and purchase a backpack completely designed for them. Osprey now has 50+ backpack designs for commuters, mountain bikers, snowboarders and more.


Today’s guests are Kami York-Feirn, Social Media Specialist, and Rob Bon Durant, VP of Design and Marketing at Osprey Packs. Osprey Packs is a leading backpack brand in the outdoor space, with products ranging from weekend warrior backpacks to 80L backpacks for long term travelers. Kami and Rob have geared up for 2019 and are going to share with us what to expect from Osprey in the coming year.

In this episode, they explain how to tackle educating the market on how to find the right backpack, the difference in their brick and mortar marketing strategy versus their e-commerce strategy, and the 2019 trends they foresee in e-commerce.

This is the Lean Commerce Podcast.


Who is Osprey?

Osprey packs has been around since 1974, originally started as customized backpacks for every customer. Now, we offer bags for hikers, car campers, long term backpackers, etc. As a social media specialist, my job is to target those individuals on social media platforms. Our target audience is anybody who enjoys being outdoors and shares our love of nature.

Osprey exists and provides solutions to people living a life close to nature and who want to travel for the adventure.

How do you tackle educating a market on how to wear a backpack?

We put a tremendous amount of effort into training, and I think that’s where we start. From REI to a Mom and Pop shop selling Osprey, employees have been fully trained by us to ask the right questions to find the right backpack for the customer. We also have a Pack Finder online that will show you a range of products to choose from depending on what you need your backpack for.

How do you balance brick and mortar marketing versus online marketing?

We are fairly new to e-commerce, we just started selling from our website in February. It’s been a learning experience. We market products on the website very differently than they are marketed in store. We try to be localized with all of our marketing efforts, so marketing online in Arizona is much different from marketing in New York.

The e-commerce store has been an amazing tool to show us what is working with our customers and what isn’t, there is so much data that we are able to learn from and become granular with. We can find customers, retarget and then get them to convert onsite, which is something we didn’t have access to prior.

In two weeks, we are launching our 2019 ambassador program. It’s been a long time coming. Our athletes are influencers and in 2019 we’ll tap more into those influencers to gather more data, photos, blog posts and understand how we can motivate people to buy the products.

With ambassadors, we’re utilizing their tremendous talents to improve our sales tactics. We also free up there time so they can push their sport forward. We have a strategic way of going about who we want to work with and why we want to work with them. We want customers to see somebody promoting our product and believe the message that the influencer is relaying.

What is the conversion you are looking for from social media?

The beauty of social media is that, if done right, it’s not a conversion tool. It’s high and middle funnel. We utilize our athletes and influencers for brand awareness and engagement. We want to get the product out in front of the audience and educate them about each product through influencer’s customers trust.

Our role is not to create the experience, it’s to document it.

How do past results factor into current marketing strategies?

Every department of every retail organization should be collecting as much data as possible. That being said, we have industrial designers with a passion for the outdoors-yes we look at the best and worst reviews-but at the end of the day we are looking for a user to put the backpack on and know it has the right features. We begin with ourselves, overlay with customer data, test and refine, remain humble and constantly move forward.

As a SMS, I take feedback to product development and tell them, “Take this review at face value”. Yes, customer feedback has to be taken seriously and at the same time with a grain of salt.

What kinds of trends do you see developing in e-commerce for 2019?

Facebook and Instagram are becoming bigger players in the space. There are going to be a lot more purchases made from mobile devices and social in general. With Instagram’s feature to tag a product’s buy now page, there’s going to be a different interaction. I’m excited to see where that goes next year.

If we can understand how a customer chooses to go through the different touch points of Osprey, I believe we’ll be successful. We also have a two way street now, we can just post an image and have instant feedback from thousands of voices that wasn’t available before.

We look at e-commerce as a sales tool but also a learning vehicle.

How are you tracking your customer journey?

We’re trying to figure out how to capture add to cart consumers and convert them as an end goal. It’s about understanding top, middle and bottom funnel relationships and the difference between the three.

We have to target adds to the right customer in the right place of the customer journey.

How do you tackle different outdoor verticals?

We’ve created personas and we also have employees who do a lot of everything. For example, I’m a hiker, mountain biker, snowboarder, and backpacker-so I understand who those people are and what their personas are.

The development is a methodology of looking at the individual trades and then apply those to how we develop our products and marketing messages.

Resources mentioned in the Podcast:

Osprey’s Pack Finder

Osprey on Facebook

Osprey on Instagram

Osprey’s Website

Contact Kami and Rob at:

Kami on LinkedIN

Rob on LinkedIN