How retailer Camp is using new brand partners to grow beyond brick-and-mortar
The pandemic has forced countless retailers to get creative and think outside the box. In the case of Camp, the retailer for kids and families, that means thinking outside the store. The two-year-old brand has added new virtual parties and roaming trucks to its roster of offerings as it tries to expand during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Over the last six months, we’ve really broadened the scope of what the brand is,” says Nicole Sander, Camp’s VP of partnerships, on the latest episode of the “Marketer’s Brief” podcast. “So we’ve evolved from a retail store to an experiential business that exists in all of these different new mediums.”
The two-year-old company, which has five retail locations with rotating themes, had originally planned to double its store count this year. Instead, Camp is inking partnerships with big brands including Walmart, Ally Financial and Scotts Miracle-Gro.
Early in the pandemic, Camp was running virtual birthday parties for free. The company was able to monetize the effort, however, by signing Ally as a sponsor. Camp by Walmart, which started in early July, uses an interactive video platform and celebrities including Neil Patrick Harris and LeBron James to keep kids engaged virtually.
“We found brands that were willing to work on the fly and experiment with us,” says Sander.
Now, Camp has new offerings, including an arts and crafts truck in Detroit, for back-to-school. Sander says the company is trying to approach big holidays, including Halloween, by bringing activities and activations to families.
“How do we take the desire and the consumer behavior to be outside and to be experiencing things but do that in a safe way,” she says. “There’s also an advantage for us to look at dormant industries like theater and the arts and think about ways we can leverage that talent in interesting ways.”