When U.S. Army Infantry Branch veteran Mike Mayo got tired of the corporate world, he decided to start an online business that catered to those who shared his passion for the outdoors. His brother Chad Hankinson, a triathlete and avid outdoorsman, came on as CEO. In 2012 they launched Outdoor Equipped, a company that sells clothing and footwear with the adventurer in mind.
“We wanted to offer specialty brands and products that encompass a healthy lifestyle,” says Chad’s son, Robert Hankinson, vice president of e-commerce. “Whether it’s going on a casual run, or hiking, or fishing, or walking around the city—our goal was to offer our customers specialty brands and products to get them outdoors, get them active, and keep them moving, while looking good.”
“The online world is competitive. Google helps us deliver the best experience to our customers.”
Robert Hankinson, vice president of e-commerce
Google tools have enabled Outdoor Equipped to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace. They use AdWords, Google’s advertising program, and Google Shopping campaigns to get in front of consumers who are searching for the great brands and products they sell. Google Analytics also helps them make smart, data-driven business decisions.
“Our goal is not to compete with the big guys on price, but rather, deliver a great customer experience,” Robert says. “Google Analytics helps us do that. It tracks our traffic, conversions, and demographics. It lets us measure our data and constantly make improvements to stay ahead of the curve.”
Outdoor Equipped has 100 employees.
The great customer experience is paying off. In 2016, business boomed to the tune of nearly $50 million in online sales. Robert plans to continue growing the company by expanding their AdWords campaigns and driving downloads for their mobile app. Outdoor Equipped is also active in their local community. The family opened a flagship store in downtown Wilmington and gives back to the city through event sponsorships, free concerts, charitable donations and discounts for veterans.
“We want to be seen as a North Carolina family company and a staple of the community,” Robert says. To other small businesses, he offers this advice: “Stay true to who you are and what you’re passionate about. But remain adaptable, as the marketplace is always changing.”
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