Selling Sports Equipment
When teenage slackers want to get hooked up with the “dopest” gear, they have quite a selection of catalogs from which to choose.
One newcomer is attracting attention. Monsterskate.com is created with flippant copy, detailed product specifications and hundreds of branded skating products. The mission of Monsterskate.com is to produce stellar Web site editorial, photography and entertainment that is leveraged to create a direct mail piece that has long shelf life and the ability to sell.
Monsterskate is the sister publication of Swell.com and Crossrocket.com, which serve surfing and snowboarding customers, respectively. Swell.com is the company’s flagship publication.
“Swell.com started in January 2000 as an Internet e-zine, but commerce has always been a part of the equation and revenue structure,” says Catalog Manager Kevin Donley. “Basically, the premise is to take the wealth of knowledge that we have in terms of media and parlay it into an Internet commerce component and print catalog.”
While skateboarding’s median age is 16, its customer base ranges from 11 to 40. And the market is vast: An estimated 8 million skaters live in the United States and about 16 million worldwide.
Skateboarders are a fashion-conscious, technically demanding, brand-oriented, impressionable bunch. Their brand-driven buying is largely a function of the skateboarding industry. Typical of most action sports, athletes are sponsored by equipment manufacturers, and fans want to emulate the pros. According to Forrester Research, heavily branded, high-style products, such as action sports apparel, are among the most Web-friendly merchandise categories. Online apparel sales are predicted to grow to $22.5 billion by 2004.
Monsterskate launched its Web site in early 2000 and put out its first catalog near the end of that year. At only 50 pages in a 4˝x8˝ format, the catalog is a mere shadow of the Monsterskate.com Web site in offerings and mission.