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Chaco Pushes ‘Shop Local’ to Give Indie Gear Shops a Boost

Chaco Footwear is helping retailer partners drive business during the coronavirus emergency.

The “Stay Home. Shop Local” initiative enables members of Chaco’s retail network to dropship its footwear to customers. The program offers a “unique digital experience” for customers, according to the Wolverine World Wide-owned outdoor lifestyle brand, while enabling retailers to earn a percentage of every sale without the burden of handling delivery and returns.

Chaco is “managing the logistics of deliveries and returns through its already established e-commerce systems,” marketing manager Lyndi Bell told Sourcing Journal, to make the process as “seamless as possible” for both retailers and consumers.

“It is a huge benefit to the retailer because we take care of everything while they can receive credit for the sale,” she added.

And it’s an immediate way to support retailers through widespread store shutdowns.

“For over 30 years, independent retailers have been the backbone of Chaco’s business and the foundation of our community–it’s critical we support them in these challenging times,” Chaco Footwear interim general manager and vice president of sales Todd Gordon said in a statement. “Now more than ever, brands need to think creatively about how we support independent retail, and we believe this program will provide immediate opportunities for our retailer partners.”

The program will also promote the message of social distancing, encouraging consumers to stay home and use digital channels to purchase their products while patronizing local retailers in their communities.
Chaco Footwear launched its "Stay Home. Shop Local" initiative on April 24 to help support retailers affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Each participating retailer will receive a full suite of marketing materials to distribute across their social media and digital channels.

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“Knowing that time and resources are limited during this crisis, we wanted to make sure participating is as easy as possible,” Bell said. “By providing a turnkey solution with all the assets, retailers should be able to get started right away.”

The program will be expanded in the coming weeks to 27 retail partners, up from a select group at launch, said Chaco, whose first-quarter e-commerce sales grew by double digits.

Though Chaco launched drop shipping “in the moment” to meet an urgent need, this fulfillment method could become a permanent solution going forward, Bell suggested. “It may be something that consumers and retailers still want even after doors re-open, which is the ability for consumers to support their local gear shop while still having access to the entire Chaco product line,” she added.

“Most importantly, we want to continue to meet consumers where they are and eliminate barriers to connection, specifically using digital channels,” Bell said. “This program is an important step in connecting those dots between consumer, retailer and brand.”

Chaco has made a point of contributing to the coronavirus cause. Like many other players in the apparel and footwear space, Chaco quickly switched over its factory production lines to produce personal protective equipment like face masks and hospital gowns for front-line personnel amid a critical nationwide shortage.