Months ago I said a heavy-hitting online outdoor gear retailer was about to enter the fly fishing market, and today, it happened.
Backcountry.com may be offering a limited line of gear and they might ultimately have trouble gaining much traction in the famously insular fly fishing market, but keep in mind Backcountry.com is the largest online-only retailer of outdoor gear.
They didn’t get that way by mucking about pointlessly.
Their “The Goat” blog is among the best outdoor news/gear blogs in existence (snarky when they should be, funny the rest of the time).
There are plenty of existing online fly fishing outlets, but adding another heavy hitter to the mix can’t help but pressurize the rest of the industry.
Especially when companies like the “Picked by the Underground Five Years Ago to One Day Rule The Fly Fishing Universe” Orvis gets better on the marketing and product fronts (those who think Orvis is hidebound by tweed might want to ask why they’re the first major in the Tenkara market).
And let’s not forget online juggernaut Leland’s, who seems to be doing everything right (including adding some interesting private-label goodies).
In simple terms, one of the promises of the Internet was that it offered small players equal access to the marketplace, and while that remains true, it’s also true that in most markets — after a flurry of small players appeared — consolidation has again became the norm.
I know some of you are saying Backcountry.com doesn’t have prior fly fishing experience so they’re doomed as a player. It’s possible, but they found their way into other markets (road cycling, mountain biking, etc). I expect this will prove interesting.
See you online, Tom Chandler.