Zumiez, Part I

Zumiez Inc. is a retail chain of over 500 stores that markets adventure sport equipment and apparel to teens. Specifically, Zumiez outfits young consumers with “apparel, equipment and accessories for snowboarders, surfers, skateboarders and BMX/motocross riders (Anderson, 2013). After visiting a store location or viewing their website, it is clear that Zumiez’s target audience is consumers in the 12- 24 age range. The caps, jewelry, backpacks, sunglasses, footwear, and other novelties are all designed with youthful appeal. While the retailer sells female clothing and gear, the young male extreme sport enthusiast reigns supreme for Zumiez.

Zumiez communicates their message to customers with youthful displays in their stores. Because the young crowd doesn’t seem to mind lots of product in a small space, Zumiez won’t have the look and feel of an adult retailer. The consumer might see skateboards hanging from the walls, brightly colored shoes on display, TVs with extreme stunts performed, or posters with teenagers in grungy apparel.


In addition to the appeal the physical store offers, Zumiez also reaches their audience digitally. Zumiez.com allows the consumer to buy products online and pick up in the store same day and offers free shipping on orders over $50 and allows free returns to any Zumiez store. They further engage their customer by allowing them to build their own skateboard online by choosing the deck, trucks, wheels, bearings, hardware and grip tape. Once purchased online, the customer goes to the store to retrieve it, possibly taking advantage of the opportunity to purchase more items while at the store.

Furthermore, Zumiez has cultivated a following by sponsoring Zumiez Presents Events, gatherings where their target audience gets to experience the brand in an interactive way. For instance, Zumiez hosted an event called Neff Forever Fun in Park City, UT in December. This was a snowboarding event accompanied by a concert by Action Bronson, a NY-based rapper with large appeal to teenagers. In June of this year, Zumiez’s followers are invited to Atlanta, GA where they can interact with mural and 3D artist L’amour Supreme and Greg Mike, otherwise known as “Mishka”. The type of art they create is in sync with the type of art found on many skateboards. Zumiez is currently enrolling customers for July’s “Tire Slayer University”, a 2-day event in July with private car drifting lessons in Englishtown, NJ. The variety and type of events in key locations is a tool to draw as many prospective customers to their brand.

Zumiez makes use of digital media to connect with their customers. Enrolling in “The Zumiez Stash” (Zumiez loyalty club) is not optional, but required if the teen wants to gain access to their events, which are called “experiences”. Membership also allows teens to enter sweepstakes to win limited edition items by extreme sport idols, apparel or equipment. Zumiez also rewards their digital users with “redeemable points” when a customer adds a phone number, signs up for email updates, clicks a link from an email from Zumiez, builds a profile, connects with Instagram or Facebook or watches Zumiez-sponsored videos. These points can be used toward a number of items ranging from key chains to artist-signed posters. This is a win-win for Zumiez; they get to build a relationship with their consumer while gathering information about who they are and what they like.

This type of marketing must be working for Zumiez. The company ranks in the “Top 20 brands with the most loyal fans on Facebook” (“New Brand Satisfaction”, 2013). They made Forbes’ 2014 Best Small Companies List coming in at #57 (“America’s Best”, 2014). This niche retailer has proven that market segmentation works, particularly as engagement occurs with customers in physical and virtual space.


America’s best mall companies. (2014, October). Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/companies/zumiez/

Anderson, Julia. (2013, June). Retail: Chairman of the boarders. Seattle Business. Retrieved from http://www.seattlebusinessmag.com/article/retail-chairman-boarders

Find a Zumiez store near you. (2015). Retrieved from https://www.zumiez.com/storelocator

New brand satisfaction study reveals the top 20 brands with the most loyal fans on Facebook. (2013, February 6). Retrieved from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/


Zumiez Stash. (2015) Retrieved from http://thestash.zumiez.com/home

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