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Unregistered
26th February 2010, 12:18 AM
Dear Svein,

first of all congratulations for your boards and for the Company you have created from scracht. i am a big fan not only of your products, but the company you have raised.

I have always followed your products, reports, interviews, everything about starboard. In many interviews you talk about your quest to make windsurf more popular, I think is a fact that windsurf industry needs more users. You have created specific boards to learn faster, to plane in 6 knots, to have fun without planning (serenity), and lately to have fun with no wind (SUP Starboard). You basically have one board for every level and windrange ...

Never thought about the price issue? Never thought of delivering the best products at the best prices in the market? Is a fact that people associate expensive with good ...

The distribution network used in the windsurf industry is way too long and is one of the factors of high final prices. Factory - Brand - Distributor - Shop - Consumer, everyone taking what? From 30% to 50% increase on their cost? VATīs and duties applied and increasing again prices.

If windsurf wants more users the brands need to deliver the products at more reasonable prices.

Nowadays with logistics and internet direct delivery to consumers is posible, you can easily take one or two operators in the distribution chain.

You are a visionary, so I think you could be the first one to do it be it with Starboard or with a parallel brand ... I bet you

nonopr
26th February 2010, 03:41 AM
Or you can buy second hand.

agrelon
26th February 2010, 05:36 PM
Or you can buy second hand.

There's some wisdom.

Unregistered, did you ever think about the fact that, excluding pro slalom racers, most people will only buy a new board once every couple of years and that maybe in order to be able to sustain itself as an industry windsurfing companies must charge higher prices in order to cover the costs of production?

I too wish that a new board wasn't 1000+ USD but that's the way it is. Nonopr is right about second hand gear, you can get fantastic deals on boards/sails just one or 2 years old which perform very closely to the most recent ones.

insandout
27th February 2010, 04:14 PM
In italy there are two brand (pont7 for sail and DROPS for boards) that have online store . The price is very competitive; point7 this year sell 1 race sail AC1 + mast 850,00 Euro.
I think the market has the power for change the direction of brand. Why starboard do very efficiciently boards but keep a very inefficient store?
I think the market today is mature for online trading and STARBOARD has opportunity to go ahead with this new trading for a good ratio PRICE/QUALITY. I remember that till last year the Starboard was very aggressive price ( 1 board slalom + 2 fins minor price Jp slalom without fin). This year the slalom boards is much expensive (1 isonic wC 1799,00 - 1 jp carbon 1600,00) .I am sure it's time in STARBOARD for 2^ revolution.
bye
Giacomo

Gestalt
28th February 2010, 07:36 PM
I agree with the OP 100%. Why not have online distribution and maybe people will buy new boards more often. I don't really need a 14 year old working part time to give me advice on which board to buy, plenty of information here on the internet. All the windsurfing shop and everyone else in the chain are just making things more expensive for the consumer. I prefer to buy things online and would be very happy to see Starboards sold online.

viking
28th February 2010, 11:22 PM
Everybody complains about too expensive boards but when a brand sells cheaper, nobody wants to buy it. Tiga disapeared with very good shapes at fair price.

Gun Sails tried to sell boards online (Copello shapes, you cannot expect better): a disaster

Starboard has a too good understanding of the windsurf marketing to sell online for sure!

IRL-250
1st March 2010, 01:49 AM
If all manufaturer's sold direct and online then windsurfing shops would become a thing of the past. What would happen if you broke something at the beach and the windsurfing shop that used to be around the corner was no longer there. You would have to wait for it to be delivered by post before you could go sailing again.

In these trying economic times we should be supporting our local windsurfing shops and buy from them rather than going online and buying there and hopefully they will still be there once the recession ends

Gestalt
1st March 2010, 02:02 AM
If all manufaturer's sold direct and online then windsurfing shops would become a thing of the past. What would happen if you broke something at the beach and the windsurfing shop that used to be around the corner was no longer there. You would have to wait for it to be delivered by post before you could go sailing again.

In these trying economic times we should be supporting our local windsurfing shops and buy from them rather than going online and buying there and hopefully they will still be there once the recession ends

In these trying economic times we should be going online and buying things cheaper, and companies should be trying to get their products to the consumer as cheaply and efficiently as possible.

What would happen if you broke something at the beach? Small items you can always keep spares and shipping doesn't take long anyway.

yankiwi
1st March 2010, 02:05 AM
I agree with IRL-250. I also see many posts online wondering how to get new people involved in the sport. I only took up the sport 18months ago - and without a couple of local shops to visit and talk windsurfing with see lots of nice kit, I am not sure if I'd have gotten into the sport.

If possible I think windsurfing still needs a retail face to help maintain the sport. Even though some of the shops offer bad advice to unload inventory on unsuspecting rookies like I was - topic for different post.....

agrelon
1st March 2010, 06:03 PM
I agree with the OP 100%. Why not have online distribution and maybe people will buy new boards more often. I don't really need a 14 year old working part time to give me advice on which board to buy, plenty of information here on the internet. All the windsurfing shop and everyone else in the chain are just making things more expensive for the consumer. I prefer to buy things online and would be very happy to see Starboards sold online.

Am I the "14 year old working part time" you're referring to? I too agree that one common, and complete, online distributor for Starboard products would be great. There's no question about that.

BelSkorpio
1st March 2010, 06:56 PM
Interesting topic.

I admit that I like to have the local windsurf shops around to have physical contact with the different windsurf products, they offer. It often tells you more about the products than you could ever obtain by looking at hundreds of images on the internet.

On the other hand, I also admit that I like to buy on-line because it is always cheaper.

Remains the thing about after-sales services of course ...
Everyone knows that these services are often much less or sometimes not existing at all with buying on-line.

I think, the way it is right now, is not that bad. Markets tend to stabilize itself automatically. Anyway, it is not only with windsurf equipement like this. My friend buys his cars & trucks on-line, often for almost 50% of the price. Dangerous you think ? Not for him, he says. It's true that he can solve a lot of mechanical problems by himself. And when he can't he always finds someone who can.
Probably, it all depends on if you believe you need the after-sales services or not.

Again, personally I believe I need the services to some extent and I definitely would not like to loose the physical contact with the products in the local shop. That's why I also buy at the local shop.

To attract more people to our beloved windsurfing sport, we need the specialized local shops for sure.

Ken
1st March 2010, 10:40 PM
Having a windsurfing shop in your city offers lots of benefits. While getting the "best price" is always important, being able to try on booties, wet suits, harnesses, vests, gloves, hoods, and helmets has been a big plus. Having a selection of fins numbering about 40 provides lots of options. Checking out the two dozen booms for grip diameters and head designs/function, etc. are all important for the novice and intermediate sailor. If the shop doesn't have what they/I want, they order for prices that are comparable to those on line.

Roll out a new sail and rig it on your mast to see how it rigs - get rigging tips to see that it is done right, or rig your sail on a new mast to see if they are compatible.

Advanced and expert sailors pretty much know what they want without going to a retail outlet, but to keep the sport growing, having a shop to walk into is critical.

The shops are great for getting new sailors on the water with lessons, swap meets and knowledgeable sales people.

In Dallas, TX - Mariner Sails is our shop and they host 2 or 3 "swap meets" a year. All the used gear gets checked in the week prior and tagged for sale by the equipment owners. At the sale, shop employees and knowledgeable volunteers do the selling, doing our best to match equipment with the skills of the sailors. Owners can't push a 95 L board on beginning sailor.

The seller has the option of taking 100% of the sales in store credit or they can take 90% in cash with the store keeping 10%. A win win for everyone.

However, Mariner Sails can't make it with windsurfing alone. They also are a sail loft, a Hobie dealer as well as carrying a big line of kayaks.

I don't work for the store, but I appreciate the benefits of having one in town where I can go in and visit my buddies as well as touch and see much of the current gear that is on the market. If I ever have a problem with gear, it's easy to find a resolution with the dealer looking after my interests. They keep me happy and I keep buying from the store.

Unregistered
1st March 2010, 11:06 PM
Would be interesting to see a break down of Starboard`s costs. The hundreds of "sponsored "sailors must increase the cost but it seems to work for Starboard.Shows how fickle / (gullable?) us windsurfers are. ???

A 7kg board costing Ģ1500+ ??? Over Ģ200 per kg ; for a product that is 95% foam.Not a bad return ???

rod_r
2nd March 2010, 05:17 AM
I have 3 windsurf shops within 15 mins drive. One is within 2 mins walk. I also struggle to save any money to buy anything from them, so most of my gear I buy used.

My preference would be to support the local shops if they could make purchasing easier for me. This could be done by them being able to offer interest free time payments, which they could do if the manufactures offered them some way to make paying for stock up front not essential.

At one time, I had an automatic payment going to the shop 2 mins down the road. It wasn't much per month but enough to allow me to buy new gear on a regular basis so that over a period of a few years I had spent a few thousand dollars that I would not have been able to do otherwise....basically an interest free loan.

IRL-250
2nd March 2010, 06:31 AM
In these trying economic times we should be going online and buying things cheaper, and companies should be trying to get their products to the consumer as cheaply and efficiently as possible.

What would happen if you broke something at the beach? Small items you can always keep spares and shipping doesn't take long anyway.

If that's what you want to do, but online and not support your local shop that's fine, everyone loves a bargin and to get something cheap. But if everyone had you attitude and only wanted to shop online our local shop's would become a thing of the past, you wouldn't be able to check out the new kit in the shop or try it out before you buy. You would also not be able to call in to get advice or get them to show how your new rig is meant to be rigged. Also what would happen if your new board had a warranty issue, where would you go to get the warranty issue sorted out.

Windsurfing shop's as mentioned are most peoples first stop when they are starting windsurfing and it is vital that the are around to help attract new people to the sport.

That is why in this world wide recession we should be supporting our local shops with our buisness and not spend that money elsewhere.

Unregistered
2nd March 2010, 04:21 PM
I have 3 windsurf shops within 15 mins drive. One is within 2 mins walk. I also struggle to save any money to buy anything from them, so most of my gear I buy used.

My preference would be to support the local shops if they could make purchasing easier for me. This could be done by them being able to offer interest free time payments, which they could do if the manufactures offered them some way to make paying for stock up front not essential.

At one time, I had an automatic payment going to the shop 2 mins down the road. It wasn't much per month but enough to allow me to buy new gear on a regular basis so that over a period of a few years I had spent a few thousand dollars that I would not have been able to do otherwise....basically an interest free loan.


Very bad idea! What can you provide as a collateral? We should all learn from this current financial mess and spend within your means.

I do wish for cheaper gears too but I also understand that business needs profits to sustain...

Unregistered
3rd March 2010, 06:06 AM
How can boards be good value for money when best selling manufacterer (starboard) employ/sponsor more sailors (in theory on R + D) than Ferrari employ drivers !!!

Its ridiculous !!! Look in any SB brochure !!!! (Another product of board buyers cash !!!)

Unregistered
3rd March 2010, 07:33 AM
Here in Australia many WS shops sell on line as do some producers of WS gear (eg Sails, Helmets) direct to the sailor. Generally I would go to my local WS shop first as they have a good sourcing network, but if their best offering is not quite what is wanted or too expensive an option then I will purchase online. So we actually have a good mix with which to work.

Established suppliers are reputable and buddies who have bought boards and sails online have found the process quite good with turnabouts and packaging pretty well streamlined even with trade-ins. However it seems to depend on a viable retailers to sustain the network as there is a lot of swings and roundabouts with hands-on v. virtual shopping.

Unregistered
4th March 2010, 03:59 AM
Distributors increase their cost by minimum 30% to resell to shops, who again increase their cost price by minimum 70% ... basically double the landed cost price at anty country minimum ....

Distributor main risks, is financially advance money or garantees to the brand, import process, delivery to shops, collect money back from the shops.

...

nonopr
4th March 2010, 04:47 AM
I wish I could add to the products i sell over 70% of mark up.
Thi is not the reality.

Farlo
5th March 2010, 01:07 AM
Selling on-line or through retail is ultimately a brand decision. Both channels coexist in many business fields. Some customers prefer buying on-line, others like the proximity and services of their local shop. And in some places there is no shop, thus no choice. Being lucky enough to live half mile from a lake, I see the benefits of having a shop nearby. It plays a significant role in creating and sustaining an active windsurf community. I would imagine margin levels around 30% of new products price, which gives some space for bargain. You can also resell, try and buy a lot of used gear. It took me some time (and €€) to realize that these guys give a real service for money. I'm not sure windsurf would survive very long without shops.

Unregistered
5th March 2010, 01:12 PM
There should and will always need to be beachfront windsurfing concessions to rent gear, give lessons, demo boards, and sell accessories. These establishments are vital to the growth and visibility of the sport. They can also be vital to the visibility of brands that support a rental / demo center.

However, most industries are moving beyond the age of JIT (just in time) production to an era of nearly infinite customization. With CAD CAM construction technologies I see no reason why I shouldn't be able to order the specially configured board of my choice at a competitive price. As consumers get more and more used to being able to customize their big ticket item purchases (think dell computer, any car manufacturer, and high end road bikes like serrota) we will also expect to be able to configure our windsurfing gear as well. Hot sails already has a version of this with their superfreak graphics. I'm sure some of the smaller brands are doing similar things with boards already. Its pretty standard stuff.

In other words we are moving back to an era of "custom" boards. But rather than custom in the traditional sense where you purchase a really intimate experience with a shaper who intuits the shape of your board. Your "custom" board is really a sum of how you configure various color, fin, and shape combinations. In this sense what you are customizing is the style. But that is OK.

xander
5th March 2010, 01:14 PM
There should and will always need to be beachfront windsurfing concessions to rent gear, give lessons, demo boards, and sell accessories. These establishments are vital to the growth and visibility of the sport. They can also be vital to the visibility of brands that support a rental / demo center.

However, most industries are moving beyond the age of JIT (just in time) production to an era of nearly infinite customization. With CAD CAM construction technologies I see no reason why I shouldn't be able to order the specially configured board of my choice at a competitive price. As consumers get more and more used to being able to customize their big ticket item purchases (think dell computer, any car manufacturer, and high end road bikes like serrota) we will also expect to be able to configure our windsurfing gear as well. Hot sails already has a version of this with their superfreak graphics. I'm sure some of the smaller brands are doing similar things with boards already. Its pretty standard stuff.

In other words we are moving back to an era of "custom" boards. But rather than custom in the traditional sense where you purchase a really intimate experience with a shaper who intuits the shape of your board. Your "custom" board is really a sum of how you configure various color, fin, and shape combinations. In this sense what you are customizing is the style. But that is OK.

Unregistered
6th March 2010, 08:36 AM
Dear Svein,
Francesco here from Maui/ Italy....
I have been looking to get in touch with you, write me @ Francesco@ malikobay.com
some business ideas.
All the best .
Francesco

Del Carpenter
9th March 2010, 05:17 AM
The original post suggested changing the distribution system to get lower prices. I think that distribution change would dramatically hurt windsurfing sales (even if the prices went down) and that would hurt windsurfing. The value of a sales person whose job is to get the sale done is quite important to the seller. The sales person is equally important to the buyer in getting the purchase done. Yes, without a sales person involved windsurfing items would be cheaper. But, with fewer workers in windsurf jobs, fewer windsurf items will be sold and then there will be fewer windsurfers.

I know it sounds a little simplistic. But we did go through this process already when we switched from having most windsurfing items sold in local stores (which also organized lessons) to having most windsurfing items sold long distance (mail order, telephone order or online). And some of the results we got from that process were fewer windsurf workers and fewer windsurfers.

Unregistered
18th May 2010, 04:07 AM
"The original post suggested changing the distribution system to get lower prices. I think that distribution change would dramatically hurt windsurfing sales (even if the prices went down) and that would hurt windsurfing."
Could not agree more with someone, the sale person role is so big and important that from what I read here I doubt many of you understands it. Here in Sofia, Bulgaria there are no more than 3 surfshops but only one of them have relaiable sale persons in our case also and owner. They are great and helped many to start windsurfing. They've got online shop also but always are ready to go to them to show you how to rig your sail how to tune up your rig and so on and so on. Here where the montly salary is way beyoud 1000 $ it is important someone to point you to the raight gear to show you that there is ways and ways to find the right items for you to see the person behind the shyny prices so in the recend years we've got steadily growing windsurf comunity. And this is only because of the shops and sales persons there.

viking
18th May 2010, 05:24 AM
How can boards be good value for money when best selling manufacterer (starboard) employ/sponsor more sailors (in theory on R + D) than Ferrari employ drivers !!!



Hummm... I guess that with one month salary of Alonso, you can employ all the Starboard team for 10 years!

I don't think the team has a very significant impact on the price and anyway, brands with nearly no team sells at the same price...

morten.g
19th May 2010, 03:00 AM
Yeah ! I realy wisch that I could buy Starboard online direct from the "factory", like I do from Gunsails. I have ordered from Gunsails the last 8 years, and I havn't bought a single sail from any other brand. It usually takes around 5 days to get the sails, and nobody can compete with their prices. They have super "internet" help and you can always send things to Gun to get it repaired.

Unregistered
19th May 2010, 05:56 AM
pls consider this:
1. nobody is buying for list prices (at least in germany), 20-30 % is always possible
2. windsurf shops are very rare already, the next for me is more than 100 km away. so usaully you order online anyway
3. the initial post is right, margins due to the distribution chain are excessive, if you would know what the ex-factory prices are , all of you would cry ....
4. SB as any other brand shall really offer both distribution, so the customer can decide. All of other comapnies in other sports are very succesful with this (e.g. Biking.)


I am convinced that wind surfing will attract a lot more people if the stuff will be availabel for more reasonable price. I know a lot of windsurfers from the early times, which stopped because of exploding costs.....

TOWC

RonnieS
19th May 2010, 06:47 AM
Dell pioneered online build and sell and prospered initially.

Look what has happened to them....

The real visionaries , Apple, the ones who came up with the new ideas and products, opened their own retail stores selling nothing but Apple.....

Ho hum!


ps Apple could now buy Dell lock stock and barrel from their spare cash.

Unregistered
19th May 2010, 03:31 PM
Dell pioneered online build and sell and prospered initially.

Look what has happened to them....

The real visionaries , Apple, the ones who came up with the new ideas and products, opened their own retail stores selling nothing but Apple.....

Ho hum!


ps Apple could now buy Dell lock stock and barrel from their spare cash.

Apple is not such a good example in their case they count mostly on WOW factor and very good innovation. Their stores btw are not a bit successful somewhere I read reports about that you can google them . Many manufacturers have retail stores but this bring excessive cost in logistic and management on the company in time of crisis as of now such a big investment can bring very strong company down. In an extreme sport like windsurfing were the product is more toward luxury recreational goods than regular all companies are struggling to keep heads above the water. So I admire more the Starboard politic of recruiting more team riders as I see it these is the best practice to advertise their products and develop growth and visibility for the sport.