Camping retailer Tentworld sees sales soar as Queenslanders embrace the ‘staycation’


Tentworld might be one of Australia’s largest camping retailers, but the past few weeks have seen the retailer pay special attention to the Sunshine State, as swathes of Queenslanders opt to get outdoorsy.

Tentworld director Jon Burrell tells SmartCompany that ongoing international travel restrictions have spurred the rise of the ‘staycation’, where people opt to holiday in their home country, or more specifically these days, their home states.

The online and in-store camping equipment retailer has seen its sales rise over the last 60 days in spite of the pandemic — and Burrell says the majority of these sales have been coming from customers based in Queensland.

Tentworld’s increased volume of sales matches 2018 data from Tourism Research Australia showing Australia’s caravan and camping visitor economy reached record numbers as of March 31, 2018.

These same figures reveal national overnight domestic caravan and camping trips have reached 11.84 million (rolling annual) in a 3.5% increase from March 2017.

Founded in 1968, Tentworld is one of the largest independent retailers of camping equipment in Australia.

However, despite boasting 52 years of business experience, Burrell says there has been “no average day” at Tentworld since COVID-19 hit.

“Every day is different … particularly during the most active part of COVID in April.”

Tentworld has 14 retail outlets throughout Australia and launched its online retail experience in 2003.

And it’s this online presence that Burrell says has been a key ingredient to the retailer’s continued success throughout the pandemic.

“Our website is the main tool for communicating with customers,” Burrell says.

Today, customers check the website to see what is available … [before] coming to the store organised.

“That knowledge, and pre-built trust, helps increase conversion rates.”

instant asset write-off

Tentworld co-founders Alex Burrell and Jon Burrell. Source: supplied.

When it comes to getting ahead of competitors, Burrell says expertise, a streamlined user journey and knowledgable staff are key.

“A larger range, more brand choices and knowledgeable sales teams both in-store and online put us apart from other retailers,” Burrell says.

“Try to always think like your customer, and usually, the right answer will be provided.”

Retailers, whether they are online, bricks-and-mortar or both, will need to prioritise engaging with customers as lockdown restrictions continue to ease, Burrell says.

In Tentworld’s case, increased communication with potential and current customers will come in the form of more videos, increased email frequency, and the launch of click-and-collect by the end of the year.

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