Members in the SFRC Strava club
Participants in a typical SFRC group run
Events organized via Strava club
If you’re a runner in the Bay Area, or part of the trail running community at large, chances are you know about the San Francisco Running Company. Stop by SFRC on a Saturday morning and you’ll likely find 50 to 100 runners ready to amble into the Marin Headlands for 13-15 hilly miles. The busiest time of the week at the store, according to owner Brett Rivers, is the two hours after that weekly trail run.
“To be relevant as a retailer, you have to provide an experience, and Strava helps us do that.”
SFRC launched their Strava club in 2016 and has grown their community to over 6,000 members. “Strava has the best captive audience of runners,” explained Rivers. “People are there because they are being active. It’s who we want to reach, and we don’t have to select any filters. We use our Strava club every week.”
The club feature Rivers loves the most is creating events. It ties into a larger strategy around differentiating his stores from the big online retailers. “Have you ever gone to a Zappos or Amazon group run?” he asks rhetorically. “The more things we do to get people excited, the more loyalty we inspire in our customers.”
They started small, first posting the Strava route for Saturday runs. The event page is easy to share, and soon, runners from all over the Bay Area started showing up. Word continued to spread and SFRC now routinely welcomes visitors from across the US and around the world. “Lots of runners seek out local stores when they travel, and more and more people are doing this on Strava,” said Rivers. SFRC even posts non-running events. A recent movie night at the store was standing room only.
SFRC has found success with its Strava club using a simple playbook. They post weekly, mention the club to customers in the store, share club events on other social channels, empower employees to use it, and keep the content authentic and fun. Most importantly, according to Rivers, “Strava is the channel for us to provide a digital log of the experiences people can have with SFRC.”