Running Ahead of the Pack
- Yaktrax makes the best selling traction products in the world. Their patented coil traction device propelled them to 80% market share in the growing winter traction category. But they faced aggressive competitors eating into their market, and their coil patent was soon to expire. Yaktrax needed product innovation to stay ahead.
- Slipping in the Snow with the Consumer
To meet the need we outlined an innovation strategy. The effort would include patent research, consumer research, product development, branding, and an introductory campaign. BOLTgroup research and design teams traveled to the streets of Minneapolis and the mountains of Utah to gain a deep understanding of the consumer. We recruited current and potential users for ethnography, observation, and interviews. Participants walked and jogged across icy parking lots and snowy paths. Interesting user scenarios emerged – like walking the dog in the snow and endurance running across frozen lakes. The one-size-fits-all approach to product development was clearly lacking. Runners complained of discomfort and foot fatigue. Aggressive spikes made walking in urban environments awkward. And all traction products were difficult to put on.
- Targeting Innovation to Consumer Segments
We uncovered insights from a range of user experiences - snow shoveling, winter jogging, ice fishing, caribou hunting, and simply walking towork. Targeting a key user segment we designed the first-of-its-kind ergonomic traction product for runners, sculpted for comfort and performance. We also created patent-pending swappable spike pods, allowing walkers and runners to tune their traction for every adventure. And our designs were easier to put on, fit better, and looked cool.
- Professional Runners Put Prototypes Through the Paces
Our product development team worked closely with the factory through rounds of prototypes, fine-tuning fit and performance. We enlisted expert endurance athletes to test prototypes - logging hundreds of miles in snow and ice. And our brand development team created new branding, packaging, trade show exhibit and a roll-out campaign to super-charge the product introduction.
- Product Innovation Keeps Yaktrax Ahead of the Pack
Released in 2012 the new Yaktrax products won immediate placement at major sports retailers like REI, Dick’s, EMS, Bass Pro Shops, and Sports Authority. And, 2 new patents are pending – securing the market dominance that the company sought.