How some businesses are hurting rollerblading…the longest post you will ever read

9 01 2009

The Christmas rush of products has come and gone, and to be honest, other than DVD releases I was rather disappointed. It seems like every product I wanted was unavailable, not only in Canada, but in the United States as well. This usually is not a problem because products seem to get released in the rolling industry in trickles rather than bursts, and I know this is largely attributed to the relatively small number of rollers in the world, which adversely effects the amount of products that get released at certain times, this is a fact I have come to understand and accept. However, I stress the phrase “usually is not a problem,” the fact of the matter is many of the products I was looking forward to had either been announced or had official images on the internet a month or months ahead of time, with the assumption that these products would be released for the Christmas buying rush. Products were even featured on shop’s websites for pre-order, with many release dates being published for December or early January. I do not know who allows these images and information to be available on the internet and really cannot understand the benefit of releasing them. There are a few main downfalls that I see by doing this, both for the consumers and the businesses.

By releasing pictures of products on the internet months before the release, then pushing the products release date even further makes both shops and businesses lose money. I know when I am waiting for a product to be released the chances of me buying a previous model of the same brand is reduced exponentially, and I know this to be true for many other rollers out there. Thus, I cannot see the financial gain of having images of a product on the internet, or acknowledging a new product is coming, then pushing back its release date. This makes shops sell far less of the previous models of a certain product because everyone is waiting for the “new and improved” version, and consequently, they have a large back stock unsold products that they will have to sell at reduced prices. Ergo, shops are making less money to put into the next order from that very same company that posted up the image or acknowledged a new products existence. This creates a lose, lose, situation. The longer a release date is pushed back the more products a business will not sell because no shop is going to invest in a product that will fail to net them a financial gain because consumers are waiting. On the other side of the spectrum, shops find it hard to sell the “old” product they already have, which makes them lose money and makes them disillusioned about placing large orders from the business in question. Lastly, when a product takes too long to release, I usually just move on to another brand. This is especially true during certain times of the year when I find myself with a little extra money, such as Christmas. I want to spend the money on rollerblading because it is my passion, but I feel if a business cannot make the concerted effort to meet their Christmas deadlines, a time of year when I believe they would make their most money, then I have no interest in buying from them.

If a business fails to meet their deadlines enough times they begin to lose legitimacy and frustrate their customers, which is never a good business plan. This statement is compounded if products are hyped months in advance and then pushed back. What good is a product if no one can get their hands on them? And what good is a release date if they are never met? Lets face it, rolling is plagued with poor planning and communication. A lot of consumers in this industry know when a company says a product will be released in December what they are really saying is February…maybe March…maybe later. The fact that this is so common and so understood makes rollerblading as an industry look unprofessional. Businesses, shops, and distribution seem to lack the communication to set firm dates, or agree not to release any information at all. Instead what we have are shops all posting different dates on when something is released; businesses saying that all the shops are wrong and no date they post is correct; distribution companies not knowing what is going on even though they are supposed to have a direct link to the creators of the product; and finally, consumer becoming frustrated because no one knows what is happening so they are not informed and cannot buy something that was supposed to be available last month. It seems like some companies in our industry rely on this anarchic model to properly promote their “new and improved” items and do nothing to change it. This is not only frustrating for the consumer, but also self-destructive for the businesses. People lose their sense of hype when an item is not in front of them and the longer it is not available the more consumers do not care. If this happens enough times consumers lose all interest in what a business says because they automatically believe it to be false. I doubt this is how any business wants to be perceived, especially in rolling, a market so small that everyone knows what is happening, which allows stereotypes (especially negative ones) to follow businesses for long periods of time and spread throughout the entire rolling community.

Lastly, I would like to clarify a few things. I am not attacking all businesses in rollerblading that create products. I feel certain companies handle themselves extremely well. Valo is a perfect example, from my knowledge, their release dates are solid, images or official announcements have never been made without the product being available shortly after, and they always keep their customers up to date with what is going on. Nimh is another example, as soon as the company was made public skates were in shops, no excuses, no delays. Also, when their limited edition white Shima V.2 was delayed because of postal errors they made sure to let their customers know what was going on, and even with the delay the skates were available to be bought shortly afterward. I could mention other companies, but these two stand out in my mind as the pinnacle of how things should be done. What should be taken into consideration is that these two companies are largely controlled by rollers. I know Nimh is fully skater owned, and I know Valo is largely, if not completely, ran by Jon Julio. Up until this point I have kept names out of this write up in order to maintain professionalism, but I had to make it clear that I feel that not all companies are handling their advertising and deadlines poorly, and that some companies are actually doing an amazing job. It just so happens the companies that are doing this the best have people who are passionate about rolling controlling them. Another point I would like to make is that these are just my opinions, and I realize that some people will disagree with me, and I encourage that. This is a topic I feel has not been touched upon enough, and is something that is constantly occurring, so the more feedback / debate I can get on this topic the better. Lastly, these are not the opinions of all members of CanadianRoll, these are just my opinions. Thus, do not take this write up to be a representation of CanadianRoll’s beliefs just my own.

If you made it through this wall of text I congratulate you.

-Nick D’Amico

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14 responses

9 01 2009
whatthechuck

Wow! Great piece of writing! It’s cool to see that someone with enough leverage has stood up to raise awareness of this issue. Clearly, this affects all of us and some kind of measures must be taken.

9 01 2009
Leon

Nick,

Thank you for writing it. I fully agree with it.
As Shop-Task owner I must say that this is a huge issue and it must be fixed. Due to this situation, Shop-Task does not have pre-orders because we don’t want to disappoint our costumers. We only show the products on our site when they are “IN TRANSIT” which means, they were shipped from the distribution and we have the exact date of arrival.
Sorry, I am not trying to make this an advertisement for Shop-Task but it is a very difficult issue that I always have to explain to my costumers. Now I can just direct them to the longest post in the industry.
Thanks Nick.

9 01 2009
ali

I couldn’t have said it better, great piece and I totally agree!
Maybe it needs more blogging activism to show the big manufacturers that they make things worse when they show pictures 6 months or longer before they can provide the actual product.
On the other side I have to say that even the big companies in the sporting goods world like adidas and Nike sometimes fail to provide product on the announced release date.

9 01 2009
banquetblog

Right on, I have been rollerblading since about 1994 and I stopped about 3 years ago for several reasons. Recently there was a park that opened up here, so i ordered some skates and started reading magazines, visit websites again. What became alarmingly obvious was a combination of the points you raise above. Rollerblading is in a mess, and there really is no need for it. We are a small minority and we need shops and distribution. I could totally understand a shop not wanting to place big orders for skates. People need to spend wisely and support the right companies.

9 01 2009
Dale Travers

Amazing , Great piece of writing, intelligent and precise. You pretty much covered all the angles about this issue in a mature and objective point of view. I agree with this 100%. It was long but well worth the read. Hopefully people over the msg boards get to read this and then shop owners won’t have to explain why their pre-ordered skates haven’t arrived yet.

Dale

9 01 2009
Brendan

Very well written Nick, personally I’m not really affected since I’ve never gotten Conference stuff really . (What reallly grinded my gears was Empire’s extreeeeemely delayed release of Cirque duh Sol Eh). If I were dead-set on Xsjados or USDs or something, I’d be really pissed off…for years… It’s sillines, they make prototypes too big for their riders??? Bottom line is, it realllly hurts their cause when their products are not readily available, not even close. It’s funny though, that the rollerblader-run companies (Nimh, Valo, Vibralux) are pretty much the most dependable ones. As lazy as a lot of skaters are, those dudes clearly have their shit together. Another thing that messes with everything is the products being made in Asia. This is probably why Eulogy (made in USA) has the best reputation, quality-wise. As well,they don’t have marketing schemes, with big dates when their new, revolutionary shit will drop- they’re fucking wheels, they don’t need that. Sorry this is getting kinda long too eh? Alright Happy New Year,try to stay sane in this haggard weather, peace

9 01 2009
marcos

totally agree nick, great writing to BTW

9 01 2009
Justin Hertel

I completely 100% agree. Some shops take the pre-order thing way over the top. I think no one should be pre-ordering anything except for MAYBE skates…It just sets everyone up for a big disappointment in the end.

9 01 2009
Preorders - Yay or Nay?

[…] two AFTER they claim the product is to be released).  So this is a really nice article taken from Canadian roll blog about companies not living up to their release dates and why it hurts the industry. This is […]

9 01 2009
greg kieffer

im really glad you wrote this…you could be any more correct….sunshine distribution is also a company that is doing this the right way…i know razors is not owned by a rollerblader, but andy cares about it and knows what he is doing…and also their 3 person staff is all rollerbladers….smart rollerbladers that know what they are doing….razors/remz have never, or at least that i can remeber, set release dates, released pictures months and months and mnonths before the skate is released, blah blah blah i can go forever so im going to just stop now in the middle of my…

9 01 2009
AJ

Well written Nick. I’m very glad you wrote this piece. It’s very important that people realize what needs to change in our industry if rollerblading is ever going to be taken seriously in the real world. We need to support the people and companies that are doing things right and encourage other companies to follow their lead. Imagine how different it would be if all companies/distributors/stores worked together so that when new products are announced they are available to buy that day or at least in transit to the stores. People would be buying up all the new gear right away, putting more money back into this rollerblading thing we all love.

It’d be awesome. Keep up the good work.

9 01 2009
J. Gentillon

Great Blog you have here. Keep up the good work.

Oh, this Guy made $2.6 mil in 2008 alone, on the net. No recession for him. Check the link below to see the video of how he did it.
http://BeAmoneyMakerToday.com

Thanks and God Bless

10 01 2009
15 01 2009
klasojohan

Hell yeah! Great piece Nick! Oh so true…

But, can’t really agree with you about VALO being correct when it comes to dates and stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I love VALO ever since I started rocking them EB’s a year ago. VALO is a great company but what they are doing is wrong in a way. We have all seen pictures of the TV.2’s in various colorways. Black, white, black-orange and blue-orange. These pictures were posted more than over a year ago for the first time and the only one hitting the market is the black one (the very same I got this Monday). I, along with many others (at least I think many others from reading ThemGoods message board) would kill for the blue-orange TV2. From what I heard it will most likely not even be available. The AB.1 came through though and it came through pretty quick which is nice…but why do they keep posting pictures and let their Pro’s rock the skates that the kids will never ever get a chance to buy? In my oppinion they are shooting themselfs in the foot when they are doing that.
Same with after market products from VALO (I’m using VALO since they are the perfect example), nowadays every kid out there want to customize their skates. With VALO it’s kinda difficult since their soul plates only come in black or white. Same deal with the inserts, black or white. They have run a poll now for I don’t know how long but nothing is happening.
All in all, VALO is a great company and they do have the best skates available right now. A strong and very solid team and a daily updated website BUT they have some issues that needs to be fixed. Please don’t advert a skate if it’s not coming out…

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