Along with the women’s and kids’ markets, many retailers are experiencing an increase in business from customers over the age of 25. Interest in snowboarding has branched out to include a broader segment of consumers, and the mature snowboard customer should be considered an important target market because they are flocking to the sport of snowboarding, have a larger disposable income, and often purchase entire snowboard packages for more than one family member at one time.
Although the mature snowboarder is an attractive prospect, not every snowboard shop is prepared to do business with them. Older customers have specific expectations of how salespeople should act, what a shop needs to look like, and the type of product they are interested in.
The shop must be organized, well merchandised, and clean. The sales staff needs to be knowledgeable about the products in the store, as well as understand the needs of the mature customer. A lot of mature snowboarders are crossovers from skiing and mountain biking who tend to be well-educated about their sport, desire technical products, and want the latest bells and whistles. These customers want salespeople to back up their claims by showing them technical literature. It’s not uncommon for them to bring in magazine clippings describing a product.
To the mature market, image is less important than function, quality, warranty, and service. The reputation of a brand is key, and many older snowboard customers feel more comfortable buying from familiar companies such as K2, Rossignol, Burton, and The North Face. Their clothing is usually less trendy and more technical, consisting of name-brand fabrics and waterproofing such as Gore-Tex or Entrant.
Marketing the more mature snowboard market requires advertising in other media. They read different magazines, listen to other music stations, and take different kinds of vacations. By meeting their needs, the mature snowboarder will become an important and profitable market with tremendous potential for growth.