By: Chris Russello, Worldwide Master Instructor Trainer.
ALOHA DIVE-Director of Training
I recently read an article where in 2017 over 7000 retail stores closed across the United States. I thought to myself, “In my opinion, technology has made the consumer a couch potato!” Don’t get me wrong, I love technology. I think it is great that you can press a button on your phone, lap top, tablet, or computer and get information on consumer products and prices; but as you know, the e-commerce giants like Amazon have put many stores out of business, including a lot of brick and mortar dive stores.
I believe competition is the essence of good business. However, when it comes to e-commerce, Scuba Diving Retail stores are at a disadvantage. E-commerce does not have the overhead costs associated with retail brick and mortar stores, therefore e-commerce can offer lower prices on equipment. Is that good or bad?
It’s good for consumers who may, or may not, receive better prices and it’s bad for brick and mortar stores where they may have to lower their prices to compete with e-commerce, which in turn lowers their margins and profit. If customers do not visit the retail store and the store does not make a profit, guess what happens? You’re right they close their doors.
Here is why brick and mortar Scuba Diving Stores are so important!
· Dealer protection: When you purchase from “on line” the vendor may not be an authorized dealer for that product. If it is defective or recalled you are out of luck.
· Expert knowledge: You get more from a live person who has expert knowledge on the equipment you are buying not just some random scuba blog.
· Equipment is assembled and tested by a professional: When you buy on e-commence it comes in boxes. Who will assemble and test your gear?
· Professional fitting: With e-commence, if it doesn’t fit then you have to ship it back
Those are just some of the reasons why brick and mortar store are so important. I am of the opinion, if this trend continues, more and more brick and mortar Scuba stores will close or will downsize dramatically becoming maybe a place where you can receive an air fill, maybe rent gear, maybe get training or repairs. Dive Stores, in my opinion, cannot survive just by certification training, air fills, etc. They need to sell you the right Scuba Equipment and turn you into a diver.
GET OFF THE COUCH, VISIT AND SUPPORT YOUR DIVE SHOP BEFORE IT’S TO LATE!!
ALOHA DIVE IS YOUR FULL SERVICE SCUBA DIVING STORE