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Retailers & E-tailers: the good, the bad, and the ugly (Read 3277 times)


Needs more cowbell!

    Seeing as I have had a couple of bad experiences with sporting goods stores in my recent running history I thought it might be useful to have a thread listing both good and not-so-good sellers of running gear (feel free to explain). So here are mine... Good: NBwebexpress.com -- After spending almost $120 on full-priced running apparel I found that all 4 items I had ordered went on clearance for an average of 33% off not even 3 weeks later. I contacted them to see if they might do even a partial price-adjustment and they refunded me the difference on the entire order...a savings of nearly $40. Big grin Bad: Eastbay -- Wouldn't honor discount price on shoes (even on the exact same model in a different color) that were backordered when THEY cancelled the order 4 weeks later. I had been a customer there for nearly 20 years prior to this and keeping me happy wasn't worth $30 to them. Dicks Sporting Goods (website) -- (I think their online site might be completely separate from their stores, as it appears to be the identical set-up and merchandise as several other retailers.) Received a 20% off coupon good towards ONE apparel item at a local 5k event. When I attempted to use it online I was told that the code was expired, yet the date on the coupon is still good into 2007. Website refused to honor it. This is when I placed my order at the NBwebexpress site. How arrogant are these retailers to not realize that savvy shoppers aren't going to put up with their crap in the electronic age? It only takes a few keystrokes and mouseclicks for us to move-on to the next retailer/e-tailer when we have been treated poorly.

    I shoot pretty things! ~

    '14 Goals:

    • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

    • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

      Online shopping is great because of the convenience and the fact that you can save some money... not to mention you can get a pretty good selection of products. However, lately I find myself on the local shop bandwagon more and more. It's kind of like shopping at a mom and pop store versus some giant corporation, you may spend a little more, but you are able to try the stuff on, get personal opinions based on experience and some all around good advice. You can also find out about events, clubs, and meet other people in your area. An online retailer isn't going to remember you even if you do shop with them for years but going to that local shop a bunch of times will give you some recognition, and when in issue like you had comes up, I'm sure they'd be willing to help. An online retailer sells to customers, a local shop sells to people... granted there are good shops and bad shops, but I'm willing to bet every purchase/sale in a local shop means more to them than to an online retailer. The $10-$20 you save is usually lost in shipping anyway. Then again, sometimes saving 30-50% online is hard to pass up.


      Needs more cowbell!

        An online retailer sells to customers, a local shop sells to people... granted there are good shops and bad shops, but I'm willing to bet every purchase/sale in a local shop means more to them than to an online retailer. The $10-$20 you save is usually lost in shipping anyway. Then again, sometimes saving 30-50% online is hard to pass up.
        Very true on all accounts! Though with the price of gas nowadays the free shipping that many e-tailers are offering is pretty nice! We do have a running store not far away that I need to check out. I did shop at their booth when I picked up my race packet for my first 5k and they gave me a few dollars off when I bought a stick of Bodyglide and a bottle of Endurolytes. What's kept me from the store is that they never seem to be open when I can shop by myself (which is another reason it's tough for me to shop at brick-and-mortar stores--when I do go shopping I don't like to do it with kid in tow, so I'm limited to evenings or weekends) and they have a reputation for being high priced. But it might be worth it to pay a bit more for service from a local business. As convenient and money-saving as online shopping is, I have a feeling that the local salespeople would do a lot more to earn and keep my business. k

        I shoot pretty things! ~

        '14 Goals:

        • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

        • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)


        Needs more cowbell!

          Good: onlineshoes.com. They are taking back my troublesome NB 1000s, even though I have been wearing them for 2 weeks. They have a 90 day unconditional satisfaction guarantee on all merchandise. Good deal! I will shop them again, for certain! Smile k

          I shoot pretty things! ~

          '14 Goals:

          • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

          • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

          vicentefrijole


            Mostly Good: roadrunnersports.com-- I'm hesitant to give them the "all good" because I've only just started using them recently, but I have had very good experiences with their customer service reps. On the phone, they are always extremely friendly and helpful. I signed up for their VIP free-shipping status, which allows you to return shoes (even when worn) within 60 days, and they have even allowed me to return the shoes after 65 days, no problem. They seem to have problems (at least lately) with their computer systems, as there have been numerous foul-ups with my orders (delays, cancelled orders, coupons don't EVER work online), but when I call on the phone they always correct it ASAP and are very friendly about it (which really makes all the difference). They do send me a TON of email, but some of those emails have some pretty good deals attached (one time it was 40% off the entire purchase)! That said, I share your thoughts about the benefits of the local running store. This is particularly true for stores that employ experienced runners who have a lot of advice about the products... I'm always impressed when the sales-person is a runner and talks me out of buying the most expensive product, recommending a less expensive but better product instead. Plus, these local stores often serve as the foundation for the local running community, providing free race information, organizing fun-runs, bringing runners closer together... that's a really valuable community service.
              That said, I share your thoughts about the benefits of the local running store. This is particularly true for stores that employ experienced runners who have a lot of advice about the products... I'm always impressed when the sales-person is a runner and talks me out of buying the most expensive product, recommending a less expensive but better product instead. Plus, these local stores often serve as the foundation for the local running community, providing free race information, organizing fun-runs, bringing runners closer together... that's a really valuable community service.
              Couldn't agree more. And in the excellent category: Gazelle Sports - a fantastic retailer about an hour away from me, but very worth the drive. The staff are experienced runners that aren't afraid to tell you exactly what they think of each shoe, sock, shirt, etc. They don't push to sell the expensive shoe, but instead the best shoe. Their return policy is fabulous, they are friendly, knowledgeable & all around great. They also own the aforementioned NB store where zoom-zoom purchased her shoes Wednesday. They also organize and/or sponsor multiple local runs, training groups, Girls on the Run charity, etc. They offer free info, clinics, etc to runners. Another good retailer: The Runnery, in Greenville, MI. Small operation, locally & family owned for many, many years. It is a small store, not near the selection of Gazelle, but they are helpful, friendly & knowledgeable. They are very involved with the local running community, as well as the local school track teams. I haven't had the amount of experience with them as Gazelle, so I can't say for sure how they are with returns, etc, but overall they seem to be good about most things.
              So do not get tired and stop trying. - Hebrews 12:3


              Finder of good newts

                Dicks Sporting Goods - you're right zoom-zoom. Their online store is run through gsi-commerce - an e-commerce solution that can also work as a drop shipper from what I understand. They also do some other online sporting stores like Sports Authority and Dunham's Sports. I think there is some slight variety between stores in what they carry and their pricing - but they are mostly the same. If you do find exactly what you want through them at a good price, they're generally pretty good at the processing and shipping of orders. Me - I try to support the local guy. For me, that means Fleet Feet. I do like BOA's online store when I can't find their stuff locally.

                It's hard to look down if you don't go up

                Jeffrey


                  Good: RoadRunnerSports.com We have a retail outlet here in Seattle. The people who work there tend to be enthusiastic runner types who are helpful. You can join their VIP club for $60 (I think) and you get discounts on purchase price and you get free shipping on all your website purchases. This is handy if you know what you like/fit and catalog shop. They send a post-paid return label with shipments if you need to do an exchange.


                  Needs more cowbell!

                    Good: NBwebexpress.com -- After spending almost $120 on full-priced running apparel I found that all 4 items I had ordered went on clearance for an average of 33% off not even 3 weeks later. I contacted them to see if they might do even a partial price-adjustment and they refunded me the difference on the entire order...a savings of nearly $40. Big grin
                    I just had another great experience shopping with this retailer. I have been looking for the NB 921 winter running shoe. Our local NB store would have to special order it and they want $110 for it. Most stores are selling it for $100. NB Web Express has the men's (for $100), but not the women's, so I contacted them to see if it will be available. They are special ordering it for me and the gal I talked to was SO nice--we chatted a bit about our kids (after I apologized for my son's noise in the background), our dorky cats, and I complimented her company on their fantastic service. She said they really pride themselves on making it right for the customer, even if it means taking back a worn pair of shoes, just as any reputable brick-and-mortar running store would. k

                    I shoot pretty things! ~

                    '14 Goals:

                    • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

                    • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)


                    Imminent Catastrophe

                      Mostly Good: roadrunnersports.com ... They seem to have problems (at least lately) with their computer systems, as there have been numerous foul-ups with my orders (delays, cancelled orders, coupons don't EVER work online), but when I call on the phone they always correct it ASAP and are very friendly about it (which really makes all the difference). They do send me a TON of email, but some of those emails have some pretty good deals attached (one time it was 40% off the entire purchase)!
                      HMMM, that's why I stopped doing business with roadrunner. They made a LOT of errors, always in their favor. Always! What are the odds? They were always very courteous about correcting the mistake once I called them but the cynic in me thinks that they do this deliberately and count on the majority of buyers either not noticing the error or not wanting to bother correcting it. That, plus the spam and the hard-sell on the VIP membership and "special offers". I don't need the aggravation. It seems I am not the only one.

                      "Able to function despite imminent catastrophe"

                       "To obtain the air that angels breathe you must come to Tahoe"--Mark Twain

                      "The most common question from potential entrants is 'I do not know if I can do this' to which I usually answer, 'that's the whole point'.--Paul Charteris, Tarawera Ultramarathon RD.

                       

                      √ Tahoe Rim Trail 100M 20/21 July 2013

                      Boston Marathon 21 April 2014

                      Tahoe Rim Trail 100M 19/20 July 2014


                      Needs more cowbell!

                        That, plus the spam and the hard-sell on the VIP membership and "special offers". I don't need the aggravation. It seems I am not the only one.
                        That's the main reason I don't really shop there...I shouldn't have to buy a VIP membership to get good prices. There are a lot of other places on the web that offer competitive pricing from the get-go. k

                        I shoot pretty things! ~

                        '14 Goals:

                        • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

                        • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

                          I've had several good experiences with Running Warehouse. Free 2 Day shipping and no problems after 3-4 orders.
                          "If I control myself, I control my destiny."


                          Needs more cowbell!

                            I've had several good experiences with Running Warehouse. Free 2 Day shipping and no problems after 3-4 orders.
                            Ditto that...I've ordered 2-3 times from them. runbargains.com is also very good. k

                            I shoot pretty things! ~

                            '14 Goals:

                            • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

                            • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

                              Great thread... I have used www.holabirdsports.com a lot for running shoes... they are almost always the cheapest for shoes, have always delivered quickly, and I never had any problems with them. In fact, I have always been impressed that they are a Brick-and-Mortar store in Baltimore, yet they have such a good website to deliver anywhere.


                              Needs more cowbell!

                                I've ordered a couple of times from Holabird, too...they are FAST and cheap! I don't like their site, though. It's not the easiest to navigate. k

                                I shoot pretty things! ~

                                '14 Goals:

                                • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

                                • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

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