Wakeboarding enthusiasts spend a decent amount of money on their equipment and frequently want to update, upgrade or replace their gear. In today’s article, we’re going to go through the options that you have as a wakepark owner when it comes to wakeboarding gear and merchandise.
Riding your cable park as a guest should be an affordable experience. Once hooked on the sports, enthusiasts and professionals alike spend well over 1000 US-Dollar on their gear. The boards themselves, but also the neoprene suits and bindings don’t come cheap. Assuming that you did a good job of making your wakepark known in the wakeboarding scene, you already have potential customers on site – so why not make use of this opportunity and become a seller for wakeboarding gear yourself!
A well-stocked store requires investment upfront
Compared to the other options you have to generate additional revenue and create new revenue sources, setting up an equipment shop for wakeboarding gear requires a decent investment upfront. You’ll need that money not only to stock the shelves, but also to build and decorate your store. If this is something you’re interested in, it’s important to get in touch with the big sellers and manufacturers for wakeboarding gear early to negotiate a good deal and possibly receive some help to get started.
If your guests enjoy themselves on the cable and in your park, buying a tacky souvenir, some trendy sports fashion, toys for kids or branded merch in general is often typical customer behavior. In some cases, it is even expected to be able to do a little shopping as part of the overall experience. Sourcing, testing, producing and shipping custom or branded products can take quite a while which is why we also recommend getting the ball rolling early.
The biggest challenge are the running costs
In order to make your shop a successful and financially viable addition to your business, you need to think long and hard about staff. Is your shop only going to open during certain times or on-demand and is basically run and managed on the side by you and your existing employees? Or do you expect a larger customer volume and need to hire dedicated staff? The latter comes with quite a financial gamble so we advise to move with caution.
Your income is most likely fluctuating based on season and weather conditions throughout the year – the salary for your employees usually isn’t. Only hiring staff for peak wakeboarding season might seem like an option as well – and it is – but it usually is a bad one. Wakeboarding is still a niche sport and enthusiasts and professionals alike usually know each other very well. Now imagine this type of customer being served by a part-time employee, who’s only there for the summer.
Not only will your shop lack credibility, there’s also going to be very little customer retention, because it’s rather unlikely that your customers will form a lasting bond with your staff and vice versa. With such a niche sport and word of mouth being the most powerful sales driver, you absolutely cannot risk your reputation like that.
How to get started
The very first question you need to ask yourself is: Does it really make sense? Because ‘No’ is a totally valid answer for a multitude of reasons. Give us a call or send us an email if you’re not sure. We want to see you thrive and expanding wakepark businesses is something we have plenty of experience with.
If you want to commit to the plan, you of course need space for your shop – which ideally is accessible from both your park, as well as from the parking lot while still situated prominently within your property.
The store architecture and design should reflect how your customers view themselves: modern, sportive and in close relation with water and nature. Make sure to include changing rooms and enough space to showcase the wide array of brands and gear types.
If you do not want or cannot have a store, it is a great opportunity to be signed up for a stop of a test tour by major wakeboard brands. The respective wakeboard brands come on a predetermined tour to new cable parks and it is usually advertised beforehand. Your customers can test new material free of charge on site. Usually the tours are accompanied by wake pros and your customers can talk to them and pick up a trick or two. This is another way to draw new clients to your cable park, even if they might not be regulars yet.
Finally, do not forget to advertise your store. Offer deals for wakepark guests in combination with memberships, for example, and reach an audience beyond your existing customers by maintaining a good online and social media presence.
We hope this brief introduction to on-site Wakeboard stores as a revenue source proves helpful to you! Do not hesitate to send us an email if you have further or more in-depth questions.
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