Cabela’s – What can you learn about engaging your audience?

by | Mar 21, 2013

This morning I’m preparing for my day and for the fact that I’m going to be “out of touch” for a few hours this morning. Today is a big day in West Michigan – Cabela’s is opening a new store in Grandville (one of the great suburbs surrounding Grand Rapids, MI) and excitement is in the air. As a Director on the Board of the Chamber of Commerce I’ve been invited to a VIP opening of the store; and I’ve jumped at the chance to see what all the fuss is about.

I’m not your typical guy so to speak; I don’t pay much attention to “typical” sports:

  • my Project Manager may be filling out her March Madness picks although I wouldn’t even know where to begin
  • I know that baseball season is in the summer although that pretty much sums up my interest (excluding a good game each season watching our local Grand Rapids Whitecaps with the family)
  • football is something I can watch although I’m going to be bored if I’m not also surfing the web on my iPad or Macbook Pro
  • hockey can get my attention although, generally I am lucky to watch a single game each year

Although I’m not your typical sports fan, I do enjoy the outdoors and can get much more excited about a new Cabela’s opening than I could a typical sporting goods store. And this brings me to the point of my post.

How has Cabela’s managed to get my attention, and the attention of so many other people like me who typically don’t get overly excited about sports? Yes, I realize that Cabela’s is an outdoor/hunting/fishing store – not your typical sports store, although it’s much more than that. Let’s face it – at a time in our country when you can’t watch the news without hearing about gun control (an entirely different topic – no worries I won’t jump on my soap box here) Cabela’s is opening a store and we are being told that they are expecting THOUSANDS of people to show up for their grand opening today. So many people are expected that the local authorities have actually recommended that those of us on the Board of Directors for the Chamber actually take a taxi to the event (even though we are getting their nearly three hours prior to the opening). How does Cabela’s do it?

I may know more after my VIP tour has ended later this morning, although one thing I know is that Cabela’s has created and continues to create an entirely immersive experience for their customers.  What other store have you ever heard referred to as a vacation destination? And finally – we get to the point of this blog post. Cabela’s has done what you need to do for your business. They have and continue to:

  • identify how to get their customers attention
  • provide information and education
  • create an environment of fun and excitement
  • and most importantly . . . they have become the experts in their field

This is markting 101 being played out superbly. Cabela’s wants to sell outdoors stuff (they are the World’s Largest Outfitter). They do this by carrying great products and fair prices and by providing exceptional customer service; something every business needs to do. What I believe Cabela’s does better than most of us, is understanding their target market (customers) and thinking outside of the box. After all, who ever heard of a retail store where you could go fishing?

What can we, as business owners, entrepreneurs and managers learn from Cabela’s? Simple. Understand what your customer wants and deliver it to them in a way that makes them eager to part with their hard earned dollars. 

I’m off to visit Cabela’s. I’ll share any additional insights after my tour!

Special thanks to ellenm1 of Flickr for use of the featured image on this post.