If there’s one thing the newest generation of people that are getting interested in snowboarding doesn’t know it’s MSRP. Yeah, yeah, say what you want about price gouging and all that fun stuff. But the truth is, the newest generation have grown up with online mega warehouses severely discounting products. Add to that rampant over production and the ability to shop online from your cell phone you have a recipe for ultimate destruction.
Fingers can be pointed at just about anyone when it comes to online shopping, death of local shops, over production, and all that is associated with what’s wrong with the snowboard industry. This is not what its about its about a company that was a huge part of the problem finally doing something right.
As of today Burton has pulled the plug with its agreement with Sierra Snowboards. Sierra broke the contract and Burton finally realized they should use some of that almighty power and leverage to stop posturing and do something. The short of it is that Sierra will no longer be able to carry any products under the Burton umbrella i.e. Red, Anon, Forum, AK, etc. etc.
So begins the tail spin of what’s going on. Sierra has started its damage control spin by posting on their forum and others. What we’re left with here is Sierras side of the story and what ultimately looks like a smear campaign against Burton. I will give credit where credit is due they owned up to breaching a contract. But then proceed to make this out about the riders and “community”. Sorry fellas but when you run a business it’s about the bottom line and that translates to dollar amounts say what you will about customer service and care but don’t even pretend that buying in bulk and discounting wasn’t to line your pockets. Their are responses from them pointing fingers at other shops (The House, Backcountry.com) the fact the CEO used to work for Louis Vitton and is now making the brand a “luxury”, and that Burton is selling direct and only doing this to line their pockets. How much of that is true and how much of that is propagated hate though? I’ll be shooting an email to Clark Gundlach over at Burton to get his side of the story as we’ve been inundated with Sierra’s side.
Now it’s understandable the patrons of Sierra are upset. Who wouldn’t be upset if their favorite store with huge discounts lost the largest snowboard company in the world? But how many of those patrons are only there because Sierra is notorious for giving products away to build up their “community” base and I use the world “community” loosely. If you take away the cookie jar and there’s a lot of hands in it, it’s guaranteed they’ll be highly vocal about it.
So why would Burton now suddenly do this? Lets look at the sad state of affairs the industry is in. The big companies have horribly over produced for the better part of this last decade, big online warehouses have destroyed the pricing models, and we have consumers that feel MSRP is price gouging. Burton is finally cracking the whip on their agreements and doing something that has the potential to help save the snowboard industry. Control your over supply and prices. When a companies board is supposed to sell for 500 bucks but it’s constantly marked down to 300 bucks every season it lessens its perceived value. When a big shop goes off price months before others then those shops now either eat it because they’re living up to the contracts they signed or they match the price and make less money due to the fact they aren’t buying in bulk.
As it stands right now Burton has done something right for the industry. It has the potential to right a lot of what’s wrong if things are done correctly. Sierra got busted and admitted to it but much like a child is now lashing out because they didn’t get their way. We have their side of the story published and for all to see. Where will this end and what do you think of this?