I'd love nothing more than to see every retail empire burn to the ground…
I’m a nightmare of a consumer. Buy my clothes at Ross or Costco, bargain shop for hard goods, haggle ruthlessly on big ticket items. I view every dollar I spend above cost as money wasted, and I’ll be damned before I let some middle man swine swindle me with a keystone product.
By and large I fucking loathe the merchant class. No pride, no point, only there to stand between you and the manufacturer, vultures looking to wet their beaks by disrupting the supply chain. A pre-internet necessity, the modern surf shop serves no real point.
Better boards can be had buying straight from the shaper, making sure the most money possible actually lands in the hands of someone of worth. Surf apparel is boring and ill-fitting and overpriced and, apparently, made by actual slaves.
Fuck ’em all, I’d love nothing more than to see every retail empire burn to the ground.
Derek sent me a great interview today, some guy named Anthony Wilson, owner of a chain of shops, whining about online competition. Too funny.
Wilson is very concerned about what he sees as unfair treatment of “core”shops. He likes the word “core,” uses it a few times over the course of the interview. What exactly “core” means is vague. I’d expect it to refer to surfing, since he’s bitching about the business practices of surf brands.
Not so much. He’s knuckle deep in two chains, Stormriders and Saltwater Wine, one of which has nothing to with the grand practice of wave sliding. Zero. Stormriders is about “Skate+Clothing+Scooter+Footwear+Eyewear.”
So it’s a mall shop. No different than PacSun, a gross chain staffed by sullen teens, focusing on high margin garbage. No point to it, if it died tomorrow the world wouldn’t notice.
Oh my, I so hope it will.
Because the self righteous nonsense this bozo spews gets me riled.
You know, brand websites should be a tool for us retailers to use but for the most part, there’s no way. Why would we refer a customer to a brand website when there is a banner ad for 40% off sitewide or a gift with purchase, or a pop up encouraging them to sign up for a newsletter and get a free voucher?
It’s the same with surfboard manufacturers. Their websites hold a wealth of information on the models, volumes and dimensions and should be a selling tool for us in store. But now there’s “buy now” and “build your own” buttons everywhere. Of course we aren’t going to refer anyone to their sites or social media networks.
Which is great, and might be reasonable, if he had anything to back it up. Better to ask, “Why should a consumer spend time and money with us, when there’s a better alternative elsewhere?”
But that won’t happen, merchant-leech mindset is too strong, he wants to have his cake and eat it too.
Don’t compete with us for our customers online, actually, don’t compete with us full stop. Give us tools. Give us segmented product that allows us to differentiate. Give us first release product for 6 or 12 months. Rather than just asking us to repost brand content and linking to brand social media accounts, how about it goes both ways? How about posting some of our content and sharing some of those customers with us?
Too funny. “Support my obsolete business model, please! Capitalism is great when it benefits me, but I shouldn’t have to actually compete!”
The bozo is looking the wrong way. Should be thinking about what he can offer the consumer, rather than what he can snatch from the supplier.
Because as stupid and meaningless as the term “core” is, there are actual shops that fit the definition. I was recently back in Hermosa Beach, swung by ET Surf. So happy to see they’re the same cavernous place they’ve always been, oodles of surfboards and wetsuits, the best selection of skate gear in the South Bay. Actually bought some stuff from them, rather than just shoot the shit with the employees I knew and bounce empty handed. The place has heart and soul and an actual stake in the game.
Unlike Stormriders, a brick and mortar with a me-too mentality, trying desperately to earn a buck from an industry in decline. Or Saltwater Wine, which my online investigations point to being more of the same, albeit with a slightly moister spin.
Wilson’s biggest gripe is with SurfStitch.
SurfStitch keep talking about “online shopping habits are changing and consumers are buying based on content and engagement rather than just on product and price” but I think that’s all bull. The only way they compete is on price.
Right now, they are the single biggest threat to core retail. They have been non-stop promotional since Black Friday/Cyber Monday.
Last week, they had another 50% off sale that has been extended for the fourth or fifth time or take an extra 25% off sale items or something. It’s all churn and burn, there’s no story telling or brand building going on. We see it playing out in-store all the time with customers wanting us to price match or even honor a free voucher SurfStitch has given away.
Ha! Stupid customers, why aren’t they willing to overpay for product? It’s almost as if they have an existence beyond being enriching the entrepreneurial (gag) type.
Fortunately, I can take solace in the knowledge that all his moaning is for naught. His business model only really works when surfing’s riding the crest of the hot fad wave, which, currently, it most definitely is not.
Hopefully we’ll get lucky, the die-off will continue, and everyone can move on to a better and brighter future.
Which consists of driving to the shitty light industrial part of town to order your board from a wild-eyed lunatic who’s spent the last few decades marinating in resin fumes, and ordering your gear online from independent companies that put a premium quality rather than shareholder happiness.