Altitude Sports, the Canadian Ecom Retail Behemoth, Plans Expansion as it Looks to the Future [Interview]

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Altitude Sports, a Canadian ecommerce retailer, is looking to expand its product selection, ship products globally, and the company as launched its own brand. 

Alexandre Guimond

CEO’s Alexandre Guimond and Maxime Dubois took over the company in 2011, dedicating their time to find and create the best brands and to provide exceptional customer service even without a physical storefront. 

Altitude Sports was founded in 1984 and was under different ownership. The retailer had a physical storefront on St. Denis Street in Montreal and in 1999 it was the first in Canada to have an online sports store. Guimond and Dubois were both employees of the store and they eventually took it over. From there, the goal was to find products that were both functional and stylish. The last storefront of Altitude Sports closed in 2016. 

“Max and I were high school friends and living together during our undergrad and started talking about this online business. We decided to jump into it,” says Guimond. “We needed to place everything into giving the best customer service experience online. Over time we have built a business, and today we are about 400 employees.” 

Long Lasting Products 

Image: Altitude Sports

Altitude Sports carries a variety of products including jackets, footwear, and clothing in Men’s, Women’s, and Children sizes. Guimond said that the retailer has also expanded its equipment gear to include products such as snowboards, skis, and gear for water sports, while working to add bikes in the near future. Their main goal is to be able to provide exceptional products that will look great and will last a long time. 

“We make it our mission to provide the best possible products for our customers,” says Guimond. “Max and I compliment each other as I would investigate the durability of the products, and Max would look at the style. We often would argue about products, but at the end we realized the best way was to offer the best to the customer – selling products that looked as good as they were made.” 

Maxime Dubois

At Altitude Sports, customers can expect to buy a jacket from this store that will last ten years or more. “And these products should still be in good condition as we deal with unique brands that are pushing the limits and finding better textile and durability,” says Guimond.  

Customers can keep in style while enjoying the durability of the products whether the product is made to be lightweight, warm, or waterproof – it will be both functional, fashionable, and long lasting. Brands customers can find at Altitude Sports include Canada Goose, The North Face, Osprey, and Altitude Sports own brand, Vallier

“Maybe a jacket should be a little longer or a little warmer and we are proud of the products we have built.  For me it is amazing. After 30 years we have our own brand, and we are using our creativity to build our own products,” says Guimond. 

Next Steps 

Maxime Dubois and Alexandre Guimond (Image: Altitude Sports)

Right now, Altitude Sports is 100 percent online; however, the retailer is looking to expand to have a storefront within the next few years. Until then, the company is looking at growing its products, providing variety for customers, reducing its carbon footprint, and is working on expanding globally. 

“We have plans to go international within the next two years,” says Guimond. “In recent years, we have really wanted to focus on the Canadian market, but now we have customers reaching out from a lot of different countries. If we open international, we really want to make sure we maintain the level of the experience as in the Canadian market.” 

Guimond says that the retailer is working on changing its systems, which includes having the right delivery system in place to maintain the fast delivery system they already have in place. 

Currently for residents in Montreal the delivery is one day and for everyone else in Canada, it will be next day delivery. Guimond said they are hoping to keep the same expectations when opening in the United States; however, for Europe, customers can expect a two or three-day delivery wait which is still faster than most companies. 

“That was always the dream we had. One of the limitations of ordering online is you won’t leave the store with it. But the same day or next day delivery really brings us close, so when you place your order, we will prioritize and ship it very fast. It brings excitement when you order as you know you will get it soon,” says Guimond. 

Altitude Sports also has a partner site TheLastHunt.com where customers can find products at a discounted price giving another life to exceptional items from well-known brands. 

Altitude Sports donates to several charities such as the Wildlife Preservation, Protect our Winters Canada, and The Trans Canada Trail through the retailer’s semi-annual Alti-Action initiative where they focus on nature conservation and climate awareness. Altitude Sports has raised over $580,000 since the initiative began in 2017. 

“Our goal is to do better and introduce the world to better brands, better products, and to a company who cares about the environment and takes action,” says Guimond. “We are proud to say that we are a Canadian business, and we are very successful. We have significantly grown since we have opened, doubling in size every 2-3 years, and it is exciting and fun for us.” 

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