What does impress Rick is how a website like Daddies Board Shop integrates reviews into the product offering. “Their cart allows easy upselling of products,” he says. “They also concentrate on product description and info. You simply click the product you’re interested in, and up pops a comprehensive review – simple and yet extremely valuable.” As a former retailer, Rick is deeply concerned about the fate of the current crop of shops that are strictly bricks and mortar. He says shops that fail to embrace digital are taking a huge risk. “They must work towards having an-online presence,” he says. Rick feels there are a number of other things that skate retailers can learn from other successful online shops, citing the example of ncix.com, which sells a wide variety of computer products.
they either point us to another store or just say, ‘I don’t know.’” Rick acknowledges that a number of shops sell lots of longboards without a huge amount of product knowledge, but says a day of reckoning is coming soon. “There is a bit of a disconnect between the retailer and many longboard consumers who have little patience for weak product knowledge and limited brand selection,” he says. “A lot of skate shops made decent money selling street skateboards for years and years. Longboarding started to gain a following, and a number of shop owners were puzzled. They were out of their comfort zone and still refuse to adapt to what is happening. The shops who ignore longboarding do so at their own risk.” Rick has seen what happens when a category gets hot. “I remember when BMX suddenly became
FIVE IDEAS THAT WILL IMPROVE YOUR LONGBOARD BUSINESS RUN CLINICS ON LONGBOARDING • Hold intro classes for all who wish to attend. • Make them weekly or monthly, but be consistent. • Teach people how to skate safe, maintain their longboard and learn advanced riding techniques. • Target different clinics to beginners, intermediates and advanced riders. • As you get more comfortable and word spreads, offer private instruction.
RENT OUT YOUR LONGBOARDS • A great way for folks who might want to ride, but are without their board. • A great way to for people to try before they buy. • Make sure the rider signs a waiver, and secure the transaction with a credit card. Keep a piece of ID, too.
BUILD A WALL OF WHEELS
“They have these crazy ‘Blue Light Specials’ promotions that they’ll do at 3:30 a.m.,” he says. “People flock to the site for an item that is 85% off and then wind up purchasing other things.” Website translation is another key thing that Rick has zeroed in on. “It’s more than just getting a plug-in for translation,” he says. “The power to draw more overseas visitors comes from getting Google’s international sites to find you. This can be tricky, but it is worth pursuing.” Rick wouldn’t disclose how he works with Google translation, but if you’re interested, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The one key element that runs throughout this magazine and on the website is education. Rick says he has seen firsthand what happens when the folks behind the counter are out of their depth. “My team and I at AXS have gone out to visit a number of action sports shops. When we ask detailed questions about longboards,
popular in the early 1980s and skateboarding took a dive,” he says. “Thankfully, I had BMX product in my skate shop, but that was only because I kept my finger on the pulse of what customers wanted.” Shops and longboard companies are encouraged to add their information to the database at axsgear.com. There is no charge to do this. If desired, listings can be upgraded for a nominal fee. The site also features a wide variety of news from the longboard community. Like Rick, I truly believe this is just the beginning. For the past 15 or so years, longboarding has grown organically, winding its way through the consciousness of many different demographics. What started within the surf community slowly became absorbed by college kids. Things started to heat up with the advent of sliding and freeriding, and now we have 8-yearolds bombing hills and wearing full-face helmets. AXS is here to inspire, to educate and to ensure that the spirit of longboarding continues for many decades to come. AXS
• A simple but extremely effective way of showcasing the multitudes of wheels on the market. • Customers LOVE to touch the merchandise, and this way, they can actually spin the wheels, squeeze the urethane and compare and contrast different wheels. • Have short explanations next to each wheel (size, durometer, intended use, etc.). • It makes a huge statement when you walk into a shop and see a wall of wheels – it screams, “We are focused!”
USE SOFTRUCKS™ ON YOUR DEMO DECKS • Customers love to take boards and ride them, but this can cause chaos in the store. • Mounting a set of Softrucks™ on your bestselling decks or the ones you wish to promote allows folks to stand, lean and bounce on the deck without rolling. • Softrucks™ are available via garagemfg.com.
PUT EXPLANATORY NOTES ON ALL DECKS • Categories include: Beginner-entry level/sliding/ downhill/long-distance/carving/slalom. • Helps customers make sense of the many different deck styles and types. • Categorizing your product helps consumers be informed, and when they are better informed, they make the right purchasing decisions. WINTER 2011 | AXS LONGBOARD RETAILER
for those who wish to learn about the business of selling and marketing longboards