3) Sponsor events.
4) If I had a shop that was willing to dig for me to find a certain board, or other piece of gear, I'd likely keep going back.
Start to think of clientele, I know BA has said this before in other threads, but who do you think is going to come in and drop 700 on new gear for their family every other year? Not the "core" 20 year old boarders...itll be the middle class parents and new people curious with the sport. Do demo days at the local hill, hold special sale days and open houses and maybe give deals to instructors at the local hills if they recommend your store. Find out how to get the word out in your area. And as everyone has said...stellar customer service will keep those high paying customers returning and recommending your store to others. Customers, especially older customers, will find and complain about everything and anything if they dont think the customer service is satisfactory, so to compete with online stores for the love of god dont hire the punk kid who can "tear it up", hire the respectable employee who has experience working in a retail store and working on the sales floor where customer service is heavily emphasized.
Just one of those parents who turned into a geezer boarder...Poutine and Idaho Freshies notes are for me what makes a shop work. There is some stiff competition in our little town...8-9 shops in the small area. The following is a mix of things that are imho the best of those shops.
1 sponser a fs/rail jam/dj/beer garden thing in your parking lot...in the fall...sept. and have space in the store to have evening events...talk abt avy, freestyle edu, bc tours in store film fest/music cd release...have a mix of topics/presenters for the beginner to expert
2 find and dig and get parts/items for the core...we are cheap bastards that break things...pm me for a list. Perhaps a list of free repairs if you bought the new gear there...like screws, straps, ratchets. Make sure you have a very legit repair tech.
3. do an annual gear swap event for folks that want to get into the sport but don't have a couple of grand to drop on a kid....its a hassle but can get alot of folks in the store.
4 definitely have a sales/repair staff that are legit and are able to read and cater to your customer....wheather it be a kid stoakage brah thing, the mom milf thing, or the expert/technical thing.
Alot of customer service is good honest education and helpfulness...which is freely given and time consuming but expensive to the owner...But it will get you a good rep and returning customers who will be your ultimate marketing device/plan. I dropped a fair amount of $ this past year...about equally at local shops and online but those shops also referred me to get things on-line....and some stuff I said fuck it, I'll pay more cause I know I can walk right in and you will take of me (i.e., its the relationship in the shop...they know my name, what I generally like/want and even will email/call if something comes in that I might be interested in) and who knows about the web tards...except for a very select few on-line.
edit: Hire to your weakness. A person can't do everything well...so know your deficits and then go and hire the best folks that can do what you can't and then get out of their way.