Good question. In the past, you would simply walk on down to ye olde surf shop and have a look through their rack to pick a stand up paddleboard (SUP). But then came the invention of the inflatable SUP. It changed the game. It took something that had been done for over 2000 years and made it more practical and convenient, without sacrificing performance and fun. The proliferation of the ISUP has also changed the way people can make their purchase decision. You can buy your vessel for a lifetime of adventure, online. But should you? Is it better to buy an inflatable SUP in-store or by tapping a few buttons on your laptop, smartphone, or tablet? Before you make your decision you may want to consider everything below.
4 Reasons Why Outdoor Adventurers Are Choosing to Buy Inflatable Stand-Up Paddleboards Online Over Brick and Mortar Stores
1. Zero Pressure
You're making a big purchase. A premium ISUP is an investment in your health and wellness, but it is indeed an investment. As such, you want to be able to take your time to weigh your options. You want to carefully inspect the specs and design of a paddle board without a part-time staffer hovering over your shoulder. The brick and mortar experience simply does not allow that. As a result, you may end up leaving with a board that you're not really satisfied with or leaving with no board at all.
2. Greater Inventory
Unless you're smack dab in the middle of the spring to summer seasonal transition period in Canada, ISUP inventory is typically low at most brick and mortar retailers. Walk-in during the late summer, autumn, winter, and early spring and you'll find just a few boards leaning up against the wall. Many retailers abide by the rule of "sell before restocking". Online brands, however, typically have greater inventory and/or quicker turnaround time on restocking. They know that they have to meet the needs of buyers from all over Canada and the USA. A half-dozen SUPs in the supply closet won't cut it if they want to stay in business.
3. Post-Purchase Support and Fostering of Customer Relationships
The digital world we live in has opened up the doors of communication. When you purchase an ISUP from a premium online brand, you typically become a part of their family. The brand knows that in order to keep you satisfied and coming back with referrals and other purchases, they must continue to foster the relationship online. They encourage you to keep in touch and share your SUPing adventures through their social profiles on Facebook and Instagram. In doing so you also connect with others who also enjoy their SUPs. You really do feel as if you're part of a community.
More importantly, an online ISUP brand does one thing - sells ISUPs. As a result, the best among them will provide customers with access to a bevy of post-purchase resources. These resources may include instructional videos, graphics, and articles that will support enhanced ownership of the SUP - and more fun! Need examples? We're talking ongoing tips about how to safely store your SUP, how to care for fins, which cleaning products to use, best places to SUP in your community, and may even offer advice on how to paddle with your dog or the other pups in your family. An outdoor adventure store may share one article on their website's blog every few months, but they have other fish to fry. As a result, your access to helpful resources is significantly limited.
4. Room to be More Price Competitive (even for premium brands)
First a disclaimer. When we state "price competitive" we're not talking about the $500 ISUPs you may see in Canadian Tire, Costco, London Drugs, Walmart, or posted up against a pillar at Winners HomeSense. With those, you get what you pay for. Instead, we're referring to top-of-the-line standup paddle boards that will be with you on your outdoor adventures for a lifetime.
While price tags on premium SUPs in-store and online are often comparable, savvy prospective buyers will really see a difference when it comes to wiggle room as seasonal sales roll around. When you step into an outdoor adventure store to check out sales on ISUPs, say on Black Friday, what do you see? 10% off. At best, 20% off. Not exactly something to write your fellow bargain hunters about.
Why is this the case? All paddle boards (and surfboards, snowboards, etc.) are known as "hard goods" to outdoor adventure stores. Hard goods of this nature have a low-profit margin to brick and mortar shops. The shops make most of their money on soft goods such as clothing and accessories (wetsuits, etc.) unless they are the ones to manufacture the boards themselves (unlikely). As a result, their hands are tied when it comes to price reductions for seasonal sales. On the flip side, an online brand that is responsible for the manufacturing of their boards (directly or indirectly) are less beholden to others in the supply chain and can therefore offer far better sales. Let's return to our Black Friday example, using SeaGods recent sale as evidence.
For Black Friday 2021, SeaGods best selling ISUPs are/were (depending on when you find this) listed at up to 45% OFF (w/$300 already marked off). When you factor in FREE shipping to anywhere in Canada and the continental US you can't get more price-competitive than that.
If you have any questions about how to buy a SeaGods inflatable SUP online please do contact SeaGods anytime.