I really do believe the Skate Park of Tampa guys are smarter than everybody else. The latest example comes form the bare bones "Hey look what our website is doing for traffic " graphics the posted with the following message.
"All the ads on skateparkoftampa.com are free if we carry your products in our Shop. Send your ads to email@example.com. Here are the sizes: 375x200, 750x250, and 150x70. We only use jpg files. Sorry no obnoxious animated gifs and Flash is allowed. Save that for Myspace. Below is traffic stats for the year so far and for the last 30 days ."
Yeah, first look at the graphic closely and then look at the message. That's a shit-ton of impressions to be giving away. OK, take it in context that this is when Tampa Am has occur ed but you can't deny that SPoT isn't more and more in the public eye. With an online store that kicks the crap out of most everybody else ... they aren't just in the game...they are starting to lead it. Those page view per unique visitor metric are better than most days on some major media sights.
If you run the quick math via a standard niche category $12 CPM (cost per thousand) SPoT could be giving up over $35K in ad revenue. Now, surrendering close to $10-15K is more likely but it's still an amazing thing to turn your back on over $100K in ad revenue annually. But, I believe this contributes to their larger success and their innate smarty pants-ness
Why do I think these guys are so smart? Simple they managed to blend the right amount of commerce and content. This shouldn't be rocket science but nobody can latch onto it. CCS has a little news feed. All of the core shops may have a blog but no online shopping component. Factor in the SPoT skater profiles and other assorted content rich nuggets buried across the site against their shopping experience ... the reasons for the numbers become apparent. They've managed to grow but concentrate in the few key areas that will help drive sales and awareness. This, as we all know, are critical for a shops is survival.
Their message and transparency with traffic is the perfect example. Let me translate it for you: "We get great traffic and we'll give you free advertising if we carry your product." One would assume this is first come first serve but if I was a marketing director I would have a full run of their ad sizes ready to go first thing Monday morning. This does an amazing job of strengthening the manufacturer and retailer relationship. What's even more amazing is that it's evolving from the retailer side and not the manufacturing side.
How will SPoT's traffic fare over the summer months? We'll have to wait and see. But, I believe their model will continue to thrive. Now, one has to wonder what their online conversions rates from browsing to sales are. I know I haven't made a purchase yet. I'm busy supporting my local skate shops and you should as well.