Tribesports Kickstarts Its New Business Model For Its Community-Powered Sportswear

“The premise of vertical social networking is a no-brainer: offer a destination and feature-set to connect people around a specific interest or activity, so that they can converse online, and possibly offline, too. However, monetizing social networking isn’t quite so simple, with many sites relying largely on a mixture advertising and affiliate e-commerce, which in return requires scale.”

Tribesports falls in this category. Found in 2010, it has around 200,000 highly engaged users and offers all the common social networking features as well as specific sports-related features, such as the ability to set ‘challenges’ for other users, track workouts,  and share training routines. Currently, its revenue comes only from advertising and an accompanying ‘social commerce’ online store.

However, the company has decided to reboot its business model with the ambition to challenge the $250 billion global sportswear industry with what it’s calling the “world’s first community-powered sports brand”. So how exactly is this going to work? The idea is to leverage the site’s existing loyal community to become co-producers and co-marketers, helping to shape the Tribesports sportswear brand. The company claims that  they  will stand for high quality at up to 40% lower prices than the leading brands, precisely because it will save large marketing budgets compared to traditional players, instead relying on the key part of its new revenue model – its community.

To achieve this ambitious goal, the company started Kickstarter campaign with a goal to raise £30,000 to finance its first run of product. The target was reached less than 40 hours. In fact, the actual amount exceeded this number by 4 times! The company probably doesn’t even need the cash after successfully raising $300mil in investment, but the use of Kickstarter perfectly fitted their “community-powered model” that they are trying to create.

In other words, for the long term planning, this isn’t about converting a percentage of the site’s 200,000 users into customers, it’s about involving those 200,000 users in every stage of the Tribesports sportswear process to help it become a global sportswear player while having enormous cost savings. A big part of this business model is also based on being a lot more 222transparent than other industry players, from the manufacturing process, sharing pre-production designs, and showing where each dollar goes in relation to the final retail price.

Will this challenge succeed? Share your opinion in the comments!

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