Cris is a man of many talents whether it’s being Bruce Campbells stunt double on Xena lesbian princess or slinging snowboards in the New Zealand retail world. The man loves to shred and keep people stoked on doing it. This is what he has to say about the New Zealand retail climate.
What difficulties are you experiencing with keeping your customers coming back to your store and not hunting around online?
Customers will now use online shopping as a way of getting a great deal on gear, but will also visit stores to get a feel, a size, or some info on the product/s they are looking at, online. How I keep my customers coming back, is by giving them great advice & service, along with strong product knowledge.
How relevant is social media like Facebook, blogging, and twitter for engaging your customers?
Online social networking is a great way to market, localy, and internationaly, as it keeps customers up-to-date, no matter where they may be.
If there was one brand you could bring in to your shop what would that be and why? Why haven’t you brought it in? How hard is it for a new brand to get itself into your shop?
There’s lots of brands I’d like to have in-store. Unfortunately, NZ is such a small country, and is saturated by snow-sports brands/products, so bringing in new products, sometimes isn’t viable, let alone a brand’s complete range of models/products, etc.
Trends come and go, right now which one has the hardest sell? Which one would you say is the easiest?
Freestyle snowboards, and twin-tip skis are the big thing, and will always be easy to sell. I’d say the hard sell is reverse/dual/rocker camber skis and boards, as a lot of people aren’t quite ready to change…yet!
How relevant is “being core” whether its you, your shop, or a brand in the grand scheme of snowboarding? Is it just an over used marketing ploy?
I’d use the word “passion”, instead of “core”. I have “core” brands/products, that I sell, due to my “passion” for snow-sports… Being “core”, is just a hyped-up marketing ploy, used to lure a certain demographic to spend their money. If “certain demographic” are
“passionate” about what they do, they’ll end up spending, no matter what…but, as always, there’s always exceptions to the rules!
Is reverse camber/ rocker the real deal or the greatest marketing ploy in the snowboard world?
It’s the real deal, my friend…!!! I’ve been riding on Inca Snowboards, for a few years now, and unless I have to, I won’t go back to a single camber board. I also tried out some reverse/rocker camber skis, and was really impressed…!
What is the biggest difference in the New Zealand scene compared to the rest of the world?
NZ has a very relaxed snowboard scene/community, and is one where all feel like they are an equal, from beginners to pro, or from instructors to coaches. Everyone is here to have a good time on the snow, and we all seem to encourage each other, in some way.
What’s do you feel is the biggest aspect with getting and keeping people in snowboarding?
Give people, who are new to the sport, good, sound advice, on everything from the hardware (boots, boards, bindings, helmets), the software (outerwear, base layers, goggles, gloves, socks, backpacks, etc…), to explaining snow conditions/weather patterns, etc. That way, they are going to know what to expect, and can be better prepared.
Which companies do you feel are really trying to get new riders to try snowboarding and keep them involved with their message/marketing?
I think the smaller board companies (eg: Signal, Never Summer, Venture, Lib Tec, Endeavour), to me, seem to be hitting that message home, with a more “lo-fi” marketing styles. To quote Keith Richards, “Less is more…!”. Besides, I think an “Anti-corporation” snowboard company will always be a lot more down to earth, & that will attract a lot of new, and/or experienced riders, who are sick of the monopolies that bigger corporate
board companies are using.