Selling kayaks can be a great addition to any sporting goods store within short driving distance of an ocean, lake, or river. In the right vacation or outdoors activity market, it can even be the basis for a specialty retail and/or rental shop.
When considering getting into kayak retail or rental, it's important to:
- Assess your inventory space limitations.
- Know your local kayaking destinations.
- Learn about different types of kayaks.
Even when space limits your inventory, bringing in a few kayaks that suit your area and market can be a smart move. The graceful lines of a colorful kayak catch the eye and can be a draw for customers passing by your store. Who hasn't been lured by the solitude of a glassy lake or the adrenaline of rushing whitewater?
Learn about kayaks and kayaking in generalA quick review of the sport in general will be time well spent. Understanding the activity, products, and kayaking community will get your creativity flowing. Before long you'll find your direction as a kayak distributor.
Research different kinds of kayaks and their usesDecide which would sell best to your customers. For example, if there are no rivers for 100 miles, river kayaks may only appeal to the more adventurous customer who'd like to experiment with a play boat in the ocean. Contact a respected kayak manufacturer, or a few, to learn about different types of kayaks.
Decide whether you want to sell and/or rent kayaksIf you're in a beachside tourist destination, you may generate more revenue with a rental business.
Stock accessories for kayaksKeep an inventory of paddles, personal floatation devices (PFDs or life vests), dry bags, and other accessories needed for your shop's kayaks. Accessories can be a good revenue source.
Encourage safety first when using kayaksWhether you sell or rent kayaks, your customers' personal safety is the highest priority. Encourage or offer kayak safety courses, lectures, pamphlets, and/or books. Stock all necessary kayak safety equipment and accessories: PFDs, maps, mirrors, floats, ropes, waterproof lights, dry cases for cell phones or radio accessories, sunblock, first-aid kits, and other essential products.
Research liability issues, especially related to the rental of kayaksThis is very important if you plan to get into the kayak rental business or offer courses and tours. Consult with an attorney about reducing your liability, appropriate insurance coverage, drafting and using liability waiver contracts, and other related steps.
- A cool looking kayak in a window display will draw customers into your store, often with questions that will help get you talking about kayaks, in addition to other products and services you can offer.
- Don't forget advertising! A "kayaks for sale" sign with your window display or in your regular Ad campaign will help get the word out.