The primary target customer of Burly will be the skateboarding, snow boarding, and surfing teen/young adult of Suburb and the greater Salem area. As we are situated in the epi-center of their residental community we believe they will make up the largest percentage of our customer base.
Another target customer of Burly will be, due to the popularity of the store, curiosity seekers. We expect to see an assortment of local residents from the community as well as seasonal purchasers during all boarding seasons.
Skateboarding, snow boarding, and surfing are popular pastimes for Northwest youth. We estimate a target population of 2,500 junior high and high school-aged students in Suburb, most of whom will visit Burly at least once, as the new cultural experience and the one and only skate shop in Suburb.
Our secondary target market consists of Salem youth, who represent a growing population of skateboarders, snow boarders, and surfers who will shop outside of the Salem area. The store is located in Suburb, a suburb of Salem, but accessible to Salem customers by car or bus.
The last area of potential customers is adults. There are hundreds of avid skateboarders who travel all the skate parks throughout the northwest, thus the importance of locating Burly just 3 blocks from the Suburb skate park. Other adults will bring their kids in to buy the most trendy school clothes, shoes, boards, accessories, and gifts, and may fund something for themselves while browsing. Our ambience and customer service will make them repeat customers.
Skateboarding, snow boarding and surfing have become new and fast growing industries in the Northwest today. Boarding is no longer a fad or a pastime but is here to stay. Movies, magazines, X-Games, Olympics, television, and video games all feature boarding sports. Burly is a part of this growing industry.
While our marketing efforts will differ slightly for Suburb and Salem youth, our sales strategies rely on a further differentiation in our target markets. Our younger customers can be generally classified as either trendsetters or trend followers:
Our older customers choose merchandise based on more personal needs - preferred styles and manufacturers generally outweigh "trendiness." Although we do not have the expertise to serve older customers as a font of skateboarding experience, we hope that our convenient location will draw them in, and our selection and flexibility, with custom-ordering, will generate repeat business.
The skateboarding industry is expanding faster than ever. Although skateboarding merchandise is priced at a premium, people buy it because it provides them with fashionable yet durable products. In the last five years, skateboarding supplies from most manufacturers have become available online. With a click of the mouse, customers can see and compare prices on hundreds of items, from boards and accessories, to clothing and protective gear. This shift has served to stabilize prices, and to increase the accessibility of new skateboarding products in rural and outlying areas.
However, online shopping happens alone, in one's home; it is not a social experience. Skateboarding is about seeing and being seen in the latest, coolest clothes, with a killer board, doing amazing, highly-skilled tricks, and sharing them with friends. Skateboarding is not a solitary sport, and solitary skateboard shopping goes against the grain for this sport.
The retail side of boarding (skateboarding and snow boarding) is highly fragmented, although the strength of the biggest manufacturers, in terms of advertising and sheer mass of product on the market, homogenizes the standard retailer's inventory. Some smaller, home-grown operations both manufacturer and sell boards, doing especially well in urban areas on the West Coast.
Burly will combine the advantages of both models by offering a wide selection of boards, gear, and accessories from the major manufacturers, with custom-ordering capabilities for more unusual items. We will maintain an up-to-date catalogue of all the most recent products from smaller manufacturers on the West Coast, for customers to browse through while in the store.
Skateboarders are looking for two things: trendiness and high quality (often in that order). These customers are young, and easily influenced by peer pressure. They want to buy an item unique enough to express their individuality and sophistication about the technical sides of skateboarding, but not so avant-garde that it is difficult to use or confusing to their cohort.
Burly is competing on two fronts - against local, custom manufacturers, and larger retail stores and chains. The following are two examples:
Competitor #1 is a custom board carver in Suburb who works exclusively with Baltic Birch. He has a strong online presence, and his unique styles are popular with trendsetters, since their custom design puts them outside the reach of customer buying only existing boards.
Competitor #2 is a retail skate and snowboarding shop in Salem. They also have stores in Mt. Hood and Portland. Competitor #2 has experienced, knowledgeable staff, and a great reputation among local skaters. We will be modeling much of our business on their success, while differentiating ourselves with custom-ordering capabilities and our suburban location.