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Relationship Marketing: Skate Boarding Shop November 30, 2007

Posted by David Dirks in Building Foot Traffic, Public Relations Strategies, Retailer Store Strategies, Sales Tactics.
Tags: , , ,

Good grief.  I was at my local ski shop the other day, picking up our ski rentals for the season.  Right next to the ski shop is a skate boarding shop.  While waiting for a few things, I decided to walk over and take a look around the skate shop.  I encountered the owner and we chatted a bit.  I asked him how business was going and things like that. 

Of course, it didn’t take too long for me to ask: do you collect any information on your customers when they come in to shop and buy products?  Simple things like, name, address…and email?  Let’s see, skateboard shop with twentysomethings and tweens who frequent the shop are into email and instant messaging, text messaging…it’s their way of life. 

His answer:  No, we do not collect information.  And he said it as if, well, we hadn’t thought about that.  Me: how about if you host a special event here at the shop…wouldn’t it be easy to email your customers about the event?  How else would  they find out about it?  What if you started a free electronic newsletter and offered that to all who are willing to share their email address?  Wouldn’t that be a great way to maintain contact and build a relationship?  What if you had a special sale…just for those on your email list? 

I could have went on and on with ideas to promote his business but I stopped.  It was clear he wasn’t getting it.  I did offer that you didn’t need to  have some fancy PC database management software to collect customer data…how about a simple 3×5 card that has the name, address, phone, email of your customer?  Just simply ask them at the point of sale.  Most of the time they’ll say ‘yes’, of course.  Especially if you tell them that they will receive a free newsletter on skateboard, ‘invitation-only’ events, special sales, etc.

I look a the expression on his face.  He’s not buying it.  I’m apparently not selling it well, either. 

We grabbed our ski rentals and headed out the door.  Of course, I’m thinking: here’s a guy with a store, hidden off the main street, that needs every bit of promotion and customer relationship building he can get…and he doesn’t see the need to start building a relationship by maintaining contact with people who might drop into his store.  Small thinking.  Too bad.



1. Maximus - December 20, 2007

I would like to see a continuation of the topic

2. Meghan - October 29, 2008

Im a manager at a skate shop in a failing mall where I live. The mall was a hit in its hay-day, but with the building of outlet malls and the ease of a mall closer to our border (I live on the border of Tx and Mexico) It has been difficult to keep people interested in it. I must say that I have been exploring areas of opportunity for the shop, and this was way more than helpful. The owner of the shop you mentioned must not be doing very well! Thanks for the informative post!

3. myMarketingGuide - January 18, 2009

I am glad I found this topic. But concerned at the same time. I will be speaking at a sports retailers show shortly on new interactive marketing methods. Namely text message marketing. A few people I have talked to said this will be a tough group. Few stores are willing to change their traditional marketing efforts: newspaper, TV, direct mail. Any ideas how to go about getting this group’s attention? And convince them to keep an open mind?

David Dirks - January 21, 2009

Sam: I think the best way to dramatically get their attention is to see if you can find some bona-fide examples of some sports retailers who are using interactive marketing methods successfully and with great impact on their revenues and profitability. I didn’t have time to do a quick Google search but I’ll bet there are some excellent examples out there. Personally, I’d be tempted to start off with some stats on the dreary situation in retail right now…number of retailers going bankrupt, decline in sales in the sector, etc. Then hit them in the head with a few examples of retailers who are thriving if not growing using non-traditional methods. I’m not sure just how broad a group ‘sports retailers’ is in relation to the group you’re speaking to, but I’d have to imagine that there are some outstanding examples of sports retailers who have figured out how to make interactive marketing trump any current economic slump.

Let me know what you find and how it goes!



4. myMarketingGuide - January 23, 2009

Thanks David. I appreciate your comments. I do have quite a few case studies and stats. The goal is to not turn the presentation into a snoozefest. After talking to a few shop owners, they said to find a way to deal with “skeptical owners” that are not very tech savvy. I think I may do this by starting the presentation with video interviews of retail employees. We will blank out their faces and title it “Confessions of a shop employee”. They will focus on how most of the marketing their bosses do is “out of touch” or “so last season”. If you are interested, I’d be happy to share a link to the presentation PDF when it is ready.
Thanks again.

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