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Over its 14-year history, Eagles Nest Outfitters, Asheville, NC has established a following of loyal outdoor enthusiasts. The company’s brightly colored hammocks offer a unique way to rest after a long day on the trail or a lightweight alternative to a tent for overnight shelter.
Maintaining a relationship with existing customers allows ENO to promote new hammock designs, colors and accessories. In 2012, the company launched a mobile app called ENOpia. The mobile app lets users create a library of hammocking spots, record their adventures and share directions to hammocking locations across the United States.
“We wanted to create a space for our customers to interact, communicate and share their hammock spots while doing the thing they love the best, exploring the great outdoors. So we created ENOpia,”says Natalie DeRat, marketing coordinator, Eagles Nest Outfitters Inc. “Hammocking has grown so much, we felt it was an easy transition to bring the culture mobile and encourage a community where hammockers all over the world could connect and encourage each other to find new outdoors spots, fresh trails, and awesome lookouts that they may not have found otherwise.”
An updated version was launched at 2013 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. The application has undergone a major facelift, improving both its visual design and functionality. Users can explore an updated color map, and pin their own hammock images, ‘liking’ other’s users suggestions and discovering outdoors spots using the integrated GPS coordinates stored with every image. Using their zip code, users can find contact information and directions for the closest retailer.
“We feel very confident in our fans and customers who interact with us on social media. They are so into the outdoors and using our products that we were confident that interest would transfer to the app,” says DeRat.
The primary audience for the ENOpia mobile app is college students and young adults. “Being a mobile app, we felt this would be the most receptive group of individuals as they are the most connected,” says DeRat. “They’re also the age range that will hunt down and document terrific Hammocking spots, and are more likely to share with their friends.”
Since its launch, the app has been updated twice. Feedback from users has been very positive.
“The comments we’ve received say they are happy we are doing something outside of the box. We’ve moved past just product to creating something that people can interact with,” says DeRat. “We feel very confident in our fans and customers who interact with us on social media. Our customers are so into the outdoors and using our products that we were confident that interest would transfer to the ENOpia app.”
Eagle’s Nest Outfitters created the app with the combined talents of a staff graphic designer and a technology consultant. Working on improvements and updates the development process has been enlightening. ‘Building a mobile app is harder than it looks. “Mobile apps evolve quickly and require a lot of attention to detail. Cropping an image for print design is easy but coding that for a mobile app can take hours,” says DeRat. “We have learned that sometimes simple is better, and patience is key when rolling out a new campaign that is outside the box of our regular programs.”
Small companies face decisions about the most effective use of marketing dollars. New technologies like social media platforms and mobile apps are becoming viable options. Eagle’s Nest Outfitter’s has been pleased with results of the ENOpia mobile app. “We have reached the point as a brand that we feel secure in the industry and it is important for us to show the world we don’t just make a nylon travel accessory. The brand represents a lifestyle that you can follow even if you don’t have an ENO branded hammock,” says DeRat. “Creating a mobile app is something we have done that our competitors simply haven’t. We’ve also learned that there definitely is a space in the market for an app such as ours, and receptive people who want to use it. We feel confident creating it was the best move and look forward to it evolving the functions and launching more updates.
Published on May 19, 2014