Who hasn’t had a bad shopping experience in a snowboard store? I have, you probably have, and chances are someone you know has. It’s something that we probably all have in common as both snowboarders and consumers. Whether it’s the too cool “core” shop kid attitude or the cluelessness of the staff at a big box store. On the other side how many of you have had great experiences in shops? Now think about that experience long and hard, did the individual really interact with you and genuinely care? That’s what snowboarding needs more of. This is why you as readers end up on blogs like this one and other snowboarding sites looking for advice and reviews.
Here we are in a state of online shopping between box warehouses and O.D.A.T sites dominating the landscape, local shops that haven’t joined the 21st century and rely on business models that are 20 plus years old, companies selling directly, and a time when consumers want instant information and gratification at their finger tips. It’s not anything new but some people like to play the part of the Ostrich and shove their head in the sand and not see what’s happening to our snowboarding scene.
It’s nothing new or something that I haven’t covered before. But it is something that I constantly have to give thought to because every day I hear about shops closing or friends losing their jobs. In the midst of these thoughts sits The Open Sky Project. A new look at E-Commerce.
As cliche as it sounds times are changing and perhaps their style of E-commerce is something that the snowboard world needs. With the influx of emails, questions, and advice I give I still never know where you guys end up getting your gear or if you’re getting that personalized touch that you’d get if you were dealing directly with me in the shop, but I do know that I’ve helped influence your purchasing. This is what they’re trying to do, with putting consumers in touch with bloggers that are passionate about what they write about and with the products they recommend.
Here’s there mission statement:
Our mission is to connect consumers to experts and the products they love and use.
We Believe …
One individuals expertise can create a more compelling consumer experience than any huge retailer.
A network of individuals can launch a revolution in retail.
Real people isn’t just nostalgic, it’s the future.
Everyone should live their passion.
There is someone who cares more than you do about what you care most about. Connecting to them is a joyful experience.
Shopping with them is fulfilling.
The computer should make my real life more enjoyable and shopping more human, not less.
Great products deserve expert distribution.
They reached out and contacted me as one of these “experts” that has a passion for what they’re doing. So here I sit contemplating this chance to be what they call a shop keeper and all I have to do is keep on doing what I’ve been doing. This morning I spent an hour on the phone with Josh from them and we talked about what they’re doing, how it came about, and their goals.
Yes, it is a chance for me to make some money doing what I’ve been doing for free. As you can plainly see there’s a lack of advertising on the site, which I know a lot of you guys like. Definitely I would advertise but I’m not about to slap up Pro Boardshop, Backcountry, and whatever other affiliate program advertising I can for the sake of maybe turning a profit. I tried it with the Ally video player and it didn’t do shit but give them some free advertising. Money is great don’t get me wrong and while I need it to survive it’s never been a driving force in my life and probably never will be.
In the phone call he went over my concerns of being edited, which as it seemed on the phone I would continue with my path of being honest and not giving a shit about who I offended. So for those of you thinking I’d be giving up that rest assured I won’t. Would there be other snowboarding experts and shop keepers? Yes that is something they want to venture further into down the road, but they are selective with who they choose.
So this is where you come in as the readers that influence this site daily. What do you think about this opportunity, is it something that would turn you off from reading the site and what I’m doing? Or would it give you a place to buy online and know that you’re dealing with someone that genuinely cares? What are your thoughts and concerns?