What type of products do you sell and which market do you target?
Viking was founded in 1920 and is a company that has been around for over 100 years and initially offered rubber boots and goloshes. Today, Viking sells footwear for outdoor use and outdoor life and has shoes for many different occasions and for the whole family. We mainly cater to sports and shoe stores. Viking is basically a Norwegian company and the products are made for the Scandinavian climate and are adapted for, among other things, a lot of rain and snow.
What does the industry look like today and how do you see the development going forward?
The industry has undergone major changes since I started, and I am referring largely to e-commerce. It is growing bigger and bigger and the physical trade has become a little more pressured. E-commerce has changed the way of working and you have to adapt, and I believe that e-commerce will continue to be big and grow even more in the future. At the same time, I believe that physical trade will not disappear, only be modernized and developed and more towards the digital and I think live shopping will grow bigger and bigger. Products sold via e-commerce today are displayed in more advanced ways using technology and I believe that in the future they will be displayed in a similar way by sellers in physical showrooms. For the future, I think two things are important – accessibility and sustainability. It is important to be available to the customer and adapt to those who are in demand, and regarding sustainability, it is constantly becoming a more current topic in the industry. Higher demands are placed both on product development and transparency in the entire chain. We all also work hard to tackle challenges such as inflation and increased interest rates.
What would you say is your biggest asset and your biggest challenge?
A great asset for us at Viking is the breadth of our range, we offer many products and we have something to suit everyone. As we offer something for the whole family, our customers do not have to turn to anyone else to fulfil the needs of the whole family. Something that is also very fun is that we are expanding our range and will launch children’s clothing in the autumn. It will be outerwear that matches the quality of the children’s shoes we have. In the same way that our wide range is a great asset, it can also be challenging. It is important that you are relevant in all areas and with a wide range you may have to work harder with that.
What are your best tips for succeeding as a salesperson in your industry?
My best advice, regardless of industry, is that as a salesperson you should have two ears and one mouth, i.e. that you should listen more than talk. It is important to listen to the customer and fulfil the need that the customer is asking for. It is also important to be well prepared and know what you want with the customer, how to work together with the customer forward and how we can develop the collaboration in the best way. We have many items that change from season to season, which makes it important to pay attention to the customer’s needs and what will sell again. The last tip I have is to always be honest and give straight messages, it adds trust and is important in more anxious times when it can affect deliveries and the like.
The issue of sustainability is high on the agenda these days, how is it in your industry and how do you work with sustainability?
Viking has always worked to develop quality shoes that can withstand activity in the schoolyard and out in nature. When we produce shoes, we always have sustainability in mind and we want to make sure that our products can handle active play, long days in the mountains or in the forest and that last a long time. We have a close collaboration with GORE-TEX, which places strict demands on the testing and material selection of its partners. Viking was also one of the first producers of GORE-TEX in Europe. We also work a lot with various certifications on our shoes and packaging. As a seller regarding the sustainability aspect, it is important to know what it is that you are selling, I notice that the interest and demands from my customers and their customers is increasing. I think sustainability should start with the producers and us so that the end consumer does not have to think about where the product comes from.