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I don't really get how it hurts the companies. They are still getting the sales for the boards to the retailer. The retailer is the one taking the hit. A guy buys the board from the retailer, at which point the board company already has the sale for the board and are done with the sales, then they break it and return it for another board that has already been purchased from the board company. The retailer is selling two board for one price. Doesn't seem like it hurts the companies to me.
 

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i bought my boards from local shops - i never even thought to check out the bigger outdoor supply places cause i figured they'd have shit boards... as a skateboarder, it was never an option, so i just carried that mentality to snowboarding i guess. i'd blame the manufacturers for sloppy distro.
 

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I don't really get how it hurts the companies. They are still getting the sales for the boards to the retailer. The retailer is the one taking the hit. A guy buys the board from the retailer, at which point the board company already has the sale for the board and are done with the sales, then they break it and return it for another board that has already been purchased from the board company. The retailer is selling two board for one price. Doesn't seem like it hurts the companies to me.
he explains in the article who it hurts... local shops, local reps for the companies, shop repair dudes etc
 

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he explains in the article who it hurts... local shops, local reps for the companies, shop repair dudes etc
Which doesn't effect snowboard companies at all. Then how is it killing snowboarding?
 

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It is just that companies like Backcountry and REI are getting the lion's share of the business in large part due to their return policies. Or at least that is what the smaller guys are seeing, the ones who can't afford to run their business in this matter.

Is the problem rampant? I don't know. I know if I get the use out of the gear I buy that I expect, I don't take it back to REI for a full refund so I can get the next thing. Some people certainly do and maybe it is a fairly high percentage.

If people are mostly buying from say these two retailers, then the manufacturer is limited to them to survive. There is only so much shelf space, so getting your product in house, can be difficult.
 

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We buy shit from REI. Their flagship store is just a few blocks from our house. Ironically they are right across the street from SnoCon. REI has a great return policy for a growing child. Although we have never asked for full credit, they usually us a decent credit for the stuff our son has grown out of. For instance, he needed new bindings this year and they gave us 20 dollars credit on his smaller / older burton freestyle's. We bought them there a few years ago but didn't ask to get the full refund. I wouldn't feel right about that. But 20 bones seems fair for 2 year old kiddie bindings.

That being said, I am sure that there are a lot of people that would take complete advantage of the return policy. I just couldn't do it myself.
 

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Solid answer to my question man. Way to be productive.
basically, small business drops out of the industry because they can't sustain their costs against the big companies.

Big companies control the demand from the manufacturers, so they then have to meet the demands of the big companies.

niche manufacturing dies, because the big companies want lots of cheap price point boards that they can sell and cover the returns on. they don't want to have to cover a lifetime guarantee on an $800 Lib Tech, when they can cover 4 $200 Lamar boards for the same amount.

manufacturers start losing money, cause no ones buying the expensive gear. they start pumping all of their resources into fulfilling the cheap, disposable end of the market, with no innovation, no features and poor performance.

Because the manufacturers have less disposable funds, they can't afford to sponsor the teams, riders or events. the profile of the sport suffers.

snowboarders get pissed off, cause all that's available at the stores is cheap, price point equipment, so they go and do something else. no-ones buying the cheap boards so the big stores aren't making any money, so they stop ordering even the cheap stuff, so the manufacturers fold.

the sport suffers as a result.
 

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basically, small business drops out of the industry because they can't sustain their costs against the big companies.
While there's nothing wrong with your "cause and effect" predictions, you're ignoring feedback and extrapolating a straight line. There will always be a certain amount of demand for higher-end boards, just to use one ferinstance. As most of the manufacturers get out of that market segment for the reasons you state, the market segment becomes more viable as a niche market. What you end up with is a very differentiated product, with low-end stuff at walmart and high-end stuff available only online, and very little in the middle.
 

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Very interesting read. I just got a new board from dogfunk for next season not knowing anything about the return policy. Simply because it was cheap and my local shop did not have the item in stock to price match. Even with the new knowledge of no questions asked, it would be a little weird to return it while feeling fully satisfied with my purchase. Not saying that I'm confident two years down the road it wouldn't be tempting, but that the numbers they were using seem crazy high. I'm constantly on the forums and without this article would have never known about it, yet they claim 68% (of the 72% not buying from mom/pop) of people buy for that alone. In fact when bought the board I called to make sure they were burton authorized so that big B would hold on their normal warranty.

Again i'm new and don't have a solid this is right/wrong stance on the matter. Just that its see the serious threat when I can't trust the figures in the reports:dunno:
 

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So the author of this article wants to end capitalism? This is capitalism at work, folks.

Worst Case:
If Walmart decides to start selling snowboards and is demanding price reductions from NS, lib-tech, burton, and other manufactures then that would decrease the profits that the manufactures make. Then if NS can't afford to sell their boards so cheap to Walmart but Burton does, then we will have a situation where bigger companies like burton will live but smaller companies like NS will go out of business.

However, Walmart isn't selling snowboards! The Manufactures are safe because according to their books they still sold the boards to dogfunk.com. Dogfunk isn't going to Libtech and asking for money back. Dogfunk takes the used gear and resells the used boards, gears on a different site.

I think it's brilliant of dogfunk because they have created a smaller eco-system for buying used snowboarding gear.

Who gets hurt from the unlimited return policy? It's mom and pop snowboard & ski shops in your local areas.
 

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While there's nothing wrong with your "cause and effect" predictions, you're ignoring feedback and extrapolating a straight line. There will always be a certain amount of demand for higher-end boards, just to use one ferinstance. As most of the manufacturers get out of that market segment for the reasons you state, the market segment becomes more viable as a niche market. What you end up with is a very differentiated product, with low-end stuff at walmart and high-end stuff available only online, and very little in the middle.
oh absolutely, i get that, i was drawing the simplistic straight line that the author was implying in a roundabout sort of way. (and i realise the irony of that last sentence :))

there'll always be a market for higher end gear, the worry as you say is that that gear becomes very difficult to get hold of, and you lose that middle ground of more affordable, decent spec gear because no-one carries it and there's no profit to be had on it.

it can be misleading to apply broad economic principles to non mainstream industries, because you get kinks in the trends when brand loyalty, regional preferences or requirements, target demographics and knowledge distribution among participants (ie the number of participants overall against how many of those would have a higher sophistication of knowledge and experience) are taken into account.

i think the authors main point is that allowing the smaller more diversified end of the market to be consumed by the big box retailers as an effect of pure capitalism is ultimately to the detriment of the sport as a whole, not just to those directly affected by job losses etc...
 

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then we will have a situation where bigger companies like burton will live but smaller companies like NS will go out of business.
or smaller names like NS are bought by Burton, or Adidas, or Salomon, and become just another brand slapped onto a mass produced board, designed with more focus on profit than quality, with nothing to diversify them from the parent company's other offerings.

However, Walmart isn't selling snowboards!
not yet!!!

I think it's brilliant of dogfunk because they have created a smaller eco-system for buying used snowboarding gear.
this is good while it lasts, but when profit becomes the driver over product quality and innovation, slowly the smaller eco-system becomes choked with the same lower standard gear that the macro eco-system is full of, and dies off.

Who gets hurt from the unlimited return policy? It's mom and pop snowboard & ski shops in your local areas.
plus their suppliers, their customers, the local community that they are a part of etc. pure capitalism and bottom line thinking don't really give a damn about that, unfortunately.
 

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I personally don't think snowboarding is a big enough market for walmart. It's still considered a niche market so retailers like walmart will not be interested.

Eventually, like all other businesses, there will be a few market players in snowboarding. (It's already started) Bigger companies like Burton will buy out smaller companies just to kill them off, like Four Square.

I think there will still be enough competition even if it's just a few players.
 

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this is good while it lasts, but when profit becomes the driver over product quality and innovation, slowly the smaller eco-system becomes choked with the same lower standard gear that the macro eco-system is full of, and dies off.
Because profit isn't currently the driver of quality and innovation? Manufacturers, whether is an NS/Lib or Ride/K2, don't innovate because it puts a smile on our faces when we ride...

plus their suppliers, their customers, the local community that they are a part of etc. pure capitalism and bottom line thinking don't really give a damn about that, unfortunately.
Unfortunately it isn't capitalism that doesn't give a damn about small shops, it's people. People have made the choice that they prefer cheaper gear to the warm fuzzy of helping the (for many people) fairly abstract concept of "the snowboarding community."
 

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Because profit isn't currently the driver of quality and innovation? Manufacturers, whether is an NS/Lib or Ride/K2, don't innovate because it puts a smile on our faces when we ride...
fair point, of course they are in it for the money, but there is a difference between people with an affinity for the sport making money from it by trying to create something people will want to buy, than a corporate entity creating mass produced unit shifters with the sole purpose of being an entry on a balance sheet.


Unfortunately it isn't capitalism that doesn't give a damn about small shops, it's people. People have made the choice that they prefer cheaper gear to the warm fuzzy of helping the (for many people) fairly abstract concept of "the snowboarding community."
in many ways you're right. community starts at home, i guess, and it's difficult to justify spending the extra cash when money is tight. that's where the smaller elements of the snowboarding community need to engage consumers and make it more compelling to buy from them, be it through service, support, knowledge, creating that competitive edge that means people will pay that little bit more, because they feel they are getting more in the long run (which is exactly what people feel they are getting with a lifetime returns guarantee, i suppose :dunno:)
 
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