How Summit Sports & ACK are using Affirm to encourage an outdoor lifestyle

January 11, 2018 Martin Malloy

There’s no question that the world of big-box retail is evolving. Summit Sports, a multi-brand outdoor action sports retailer, stays ahead of the curve by making the shopping experience feel personal. 

Operating eight e-commerce brands and nine brick and mortar locations, Summit Sports’ mission goes beyond selling high-quality sports gear. Customers who visit any of Summit’s domains or retail outlets are greeted with superior customer service and an unrivaled expertise in the space. All Summit Sports employees share a love for the outdoors, translating into an impressive knowledge of the products they carry.

Not only does the Summit Sports staff love the outdoors themselves—the company has made it a goal to share their passion with others, encouraging more folks to take up an outdoor lifestyle.

Still, whether it’s a kayak, a pair of skis, or camping equipment that the customer covets, taking the plunge on a Summit Sports purchase can add up. Ray Luckadoo, Summit Sports’ VP of Operations, knew his company needed to take action in order to make their sports gear accessible to a wider pool of consumers.

The company introduced financing options to many of its online stores—including, Austin Canoe & Kayak (ACK),,,,,, and Summit Sports, itself—allowing customers to break down their purchases into simple monthly installments. 

A payment option that customers love

A commitment to the customer—and to spreading the love for outdoor sports—was the key reason the company zeroed in on pay-over-time financing.

Given the company’s customer-first philosophy, Summit Sports wasn’t willing to partner with just any financing company. The company prides itself on not only meeting customer’s expectations but exceeding them; finding a partner that customers would love was vital.

Summit Sports landed on Affirm, which offers a commitment to clear, upfront pricing in its payment options. By eliminating the hidden fees and confusing terms associated with traditional credit, Affirm has built its brand on being the honest, gimmick-free alternative in an industry known for deceiving consumers. It was a clear match for Summit Sports’ business.

Luckadoo, whose professional background is in the credit industry, is aware that many credit programs can get a bad rap. By working with an honest company like Affirm, Summit Sports could be proud of its partnership, knowing the customers’ best interests are top-of-mind without exception.

“Honesty in everything we do is important—so our credit program and partners have to have that sort of shared mission,” said Luckadoo. The result has been exclusively positive feedback from customers, who are thrilled to be offered flexibility at checkout through a brand they can trust. “From a customer service standpoint, we’ve had zero issues. It’s rare and a big differentiator,” added Luckadoo.

Happier customers, happier bottom line

Beyond pleasing customers, Summit Sports’ Affirm partnership is positively impacting other areas of business.

On Austin Canoe Kayak—one of Summit’s e-commerce brands—the AOV lift is a robust 23% on boats, with “nearly half of all Affirm purchases likely being incremental,” Luckadoo added. He also expects their other sites to see the same performance as their portfolio grows.

The opportunity to spread out payments over time allows customers to buy more of the products they want and need. For Summit Sports, this means being able to buy a helmet and bindings along with one’s snowboard purchase today, instead of having to do without these necessary accessories until a future date. 


Offering a financing option is also helping Summit Sports attract new customers—and retain current ones. Luckadoo says the company has established a meaningful portfolio of credit borrowers, estimating that 50% of these relationships may not exist without Affirm. And the positive experience that comes hand-in-hand with Affirm’s transparent terms keeps customers coming back. On the backend, Luckadoo emphasized the weight carried by Affirm’s seamless integration. The ability to get set up easily and execute Affirm with minimal effort has been a key factor contributing to the partnership’s success.

The bottom line? Affirm has expanded—and continues to expand—access to the outdoor gear that Summit Sports passionately promotes. Customers are empowered to spread out payments while maintaining control of their finances; Summit Sports is meeting its mission to get more people outside.

About the Author

Martin Malloy

Martin has a passion for connecting with audiences through narrative storytelling and has built a career doing just that. When he's not helping people with financial responsibility, you can find him writing and performing music around the Bay Area.

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