The market for skate footwear is full of brands all trying to attract a very similar customer base. However, if and when this is achieved, the rewards can be monumental. Buyers of Skate Shoes can be very loyal to a brand and also very social. Once they’ve made their purchase, many of their peers are also likely to do so too.
The majority of consumers who buy a pair of skate shoes, are probably not skaters, and a large number have probably never owned a skateboard in their life. However, it’s the dream and brand that many of them are buying into.
Once a brand becomes aspirational, ‘hip’, consumers will purchase and endorse it, whether it’s used for the purpose it was originally intended for, or not. Skaters are generally seen as cool. This adds further to the attraction of skate footwear, and is an integral reason that the leading skate brands spend a great deal sponsoring both individual skaters and skate events and exhibitions.
Famous skaters such as Ryan Sheckler and Rob Dyrdek are huge in the world of skate and leading ambassadors of specific brands of skatewear. As well as appearing in product literature and at publicity events, famous skaters such as these can also release collaboration collections of their own footwear and clothing.
In the society of today, stars from minority sports that in the past have only had limited media coverage, can become hugely famous thanks to social networking and streaming video. In the case of Rob Dyrdek, some of his online videos have had well in excess of 1,000,000 views. With his close links to a skate brand, this is great news for the retailer.
One thing that skate brands are usually careful to avoid is saturating the market. While they want to sell shoes, much of their attraction is the fact that they appear to be exclusive and have a cult following. Once you become over-distributed, this exclusivity is lost and, in many cases, can devalue your brand beyond repair.
A possible solution to this, and one that a large number of skate distributors implement is tiered accounts – mainstream retailers can stock many of their lines, but some key pieces are not on general release each season for selected skate-stores only. This helps to keep the diehard skaters with the latest, yet limited-edition releases, but also }has the benefit that|means} you can expose your brand to a much bigger market. Skate shoes are now more popular than ever. Whilst it’s difficult for a new brand to break through, if it can be done, the benefits can be huge. The skate shoe purchaser can also be very fickle, so the brand needs to ensure they keep up to speed with trends in the industry to ensure their brand. Once the profile of your brand declines to a particular degree, it can be almost impossible for it to recover.
Carl Fraser is Managing Director of Totally Commerce Ltd, owners of http://www.TotallyShoes.co.uk – Retailers of leading brand footwear in the UK. Totally Commerce Ltd also operate several other websites in different business areas.