In my head the thread wander continues...
So I have been brooding over this today a bit and I don't really have a strong opinion on the cooler situation, but I do have thoughts about retailers, internet shoppers and that whole thing.
It used to be that retailers provided a service. They had a product in stock when you wanted it and spent the cash up front to carry them. They also knew where to get them and had the proper account to do so.
Customers paid for the information imbalance and the convenience of having one on hand.
The information imbalance has shifted and the consumers now know a lot more and have access to pretty much every product imaginable and usually at a discount.
One of my favorite local shops used to carry everything and I could go grab a paddle, drybag or an oar and head out the same day. I paid full retail, or near to it, and was happy to get advice from a knowledgeable sales staff.
The management changed hands and now the only service they offer is to have an NRS account that you can order through for full retail. They even have the audcity to charge shipping + retail on some orders. They stock nothing, the sales people know nothing and they whine to me that everyone now buys off the internet. I would not be surprised to see them close in a year or two.
Retailers of the world: Your mere existance is not sufficient reason for me to shop in your store. You have to offer something. Price, Quality, Advice, Instant gratification (in stock)...something beyone simply maintaing a wholesale account with a supplier and having the catalong in a file cabinet.
If Costco offers the exact same level of customer service (zero) and a $100 discount I need a solid reason to patronize you.
The shop I am thinking of now is also fairly bad at warranty issues. The few times I had a warranty issue with something I have taken it back to them. They have charged shipping, somethimes both ways, or simply said "call cloudveil" or "call NRS". Step it up retailers. I paid $400 for a coat that cost you $180. Use part of that $220 to ship it back for a new zipper.
If you don't offer a demo boat there is no reason for me to pay retail for you to order one when I could get one at a discount with the same risk.
I know there are retailers out there doing it right. Don't take this as a rant against all retail. But if you are going to be in retail please regocnize that you need to add value to the chain, not just another link that marks stuff up.