Shame on you

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My son Scott bought a really cool watch online for his girlfriend's birthday. He took it to a watch repair shop to have the band adjusted and got scolded for buying online.

"Shame on you". This admonishment despite the fact the watch repair shop didn't carry the brand bought and had no access to it. The shop owner just hated the idea of online shopping.

I see this sentiment a lot in our industry and while I understand the feelings I don't get the logic.

There was a time when buying online meant getting a deal and undercutting the brick and mortar dealer. Any yahoo with a computer could setup a website and sell gear without any overhead or responsibility for after sales service - worse he might suggest to potential customers they go to the retailer, try out the gear and then buy it from him. Those days are mostly in the past - primarily because we manufacturers wised up and don't support them - but the bitter taste remains.

Purchasing online is here to stay and can be a real benefit to consumers. I routinely purchase products on Amazon - not because they're cheaper but because I don't have to leave the office to shop. It takes less than a minute to search, select and one-click purchase the item. In two days it's here for me to start using. Compare that with having to break into my busy day, drive to a store, shop, deal with waiting in line, parking, credit cards, traffic and so on. Really? There's simply no contest.

I don't think I'd buy a car online without driving it nor would I buy a pair of speakers without listening to them.

We live in a worldwide marketplace where goods from anywhere on the globe can be ours with the click of a mouse - but not all products lend themselves to online sales.

The challenge for those of us in the industry is to support retailers that make our products and services available and accessible to consumers in the way they really want, without stepping on each other's toes - online or through a physical store.

We support a worldwide network of authorized dealers and distributors because they go the extra mile to make our customers happy - some online, some through retail outlets, some actually drive products to the customer's homes.

There's no shame in the way you purchase - only in those that seek to succeed on the backs of others.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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