Outward Bound

Just in time for summer adventures, Amazon.com is amplifying its outdoor selection and its reputation as a one-stop shop with an Outdoor Recreation store. The new portal, a department accessible from its main Web site, is the Seattle-based e-tailer’s response to a popularity surge in its camping and hiking categories. In addition to offering an expanded selection of apparel, footwear and gear, Mark McDonald, senior marketing manager for Sport and Outdoors at Amazon.com, expects the site to become a forum for the outdoor community.

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Just in time for summer adventures, Amazon.com is amplifying its outdoor selection and its reputation as a one-stop shop with an Outdoor Recreation store. The new portal, a department accessible from its main Web site, is the Seattle-based e-tailer’s response to a popularity surge in its camping and hiking categories. In addition to offering an expanded selection of apparel, footwear and gear, Mark McDonald, senior marketing manager for Sport and Outdoors at Amazon.com, expects the site to become a forum for the outdoor community. Customers are invited to share their recommendations and post product reviews. “Customer reviews offer unbiased opinions of products, and are just as important to the outdoor community as to other Amazon.com customers,” he explains.            
Outdoor brands such as Columbia, Vasque and Teva are available. McDonald says it is Amazon.com’s intent to offer customers a full selection of outdoor footwear from all the top brands, across styles and sizes. Customers can search for products by gender and activity and use sub-categories to filter down to styles specialized for mountaineering, day-hiking and expedition backpacking. The site also offers children’s items. 
To put products into heavy and immediate use, Amazon is offering a limited number of free National Park passes with a purchase of $299 or more—a major bonus for cost-conscious adventure seekers. Although he can’t speculate, McDonald believes the current socio-economic climate is a major factor in the uptrend of outdoor sales. “Families are viewing camping as a value when compared to the cost of plane tickets and resort reservations,” he explains. 

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