Today was an interesting day for me with realizing a few things with our economy and the snowboard industry. I’ve decided that I’m going to write a multiple article cataloging my thoughts on the snowboard world and this current economy.
In this day and age it seems that people would rather buy online than go to their local shop. Unfortunately the economy has taken a huge hit and it is you that can help sustain your local shred scene by supporting your local shop.
Why should you support your local shop you ask? I’ll tell you why, unlike a online shop the money you spend with these guys goes back to your local economy. These are the guys that sponsor local events and riders. Lets say its Friday afternoon and you’re going riding but you broke some random part on your gripper grips, do you think you’ll get a replacement part from the online store in time to avoid the crisis of not having your gear for the weekend? I highly doubt that and I bet your local shop can accomodate you.
Now lets be brutally honest do you think some store that is 1,500 miles away from you cares you had a bad day on snow? I doubt it like seriously highly doubt it. Snowboarding is a hands on sport why would you not shop at a store you can physically touch what you want vs having to look at it online then order it and don’t even tell me that you go in a store waste the shop peoples time and still order it online, you are part of the problem. This is especially true when it comes to buying boots as you should be sized and try on as many pairs as you can.
I’ve heard from tons of people that their local shops price gouge them? Highly doubt that since the MSRP is dictated by the vendor and not the retailer. In the length of time I’ve been riding I’ve been in 1 shop yes thats right 1 shop that was selling product above MSRP and I’ve only seen one shop online selling a board above MSRP under the guise of it being a limited colorway. The fact is when you’re a giant snowboarding warehouse you have more inventory and can sell stuff discounted. But any shop worth its weight in gold will try to price match its just the way things have to be.
Now lets talk about something that is entirely important when buying gear, customer service. I’ve heard that online stores offer great customer service, but how is that possible? Are you physically interacting with them? No, you’re pointing and click sure they may have a forum or a chat box but I guarantee if you ask them to compare something they don’t sell to what they do they’ll 99% of the time say what they sell is better. After all they’re in it to make a sale from customer 928384723 not from (insert your name here). I’ve learned one thing in the 11 years of working in a shop if you don’t have what the person needs or wants send them elsewhere, because doing that they will come back 10 more times and tell 10 more people of how great you were at helping them locate what they needed. Customer service is what makes and breaks a shop obviously, I mean look at Tight Boards and how they’ve been doing online business. Here’s a link to an article I wrote about them last week.
You as a consumer have the power to help shape the snowboard industry and save it from becoming a direct sales environment. It is up to you to look at what is presented to you. Do you help your local scene or do you help some wanker that doesn’t ride at all. The choice is yours and you need to do it.
I’m curious to see what peoples thoughts are on this so feel free to leave a comment.