Slowtwitch Goggle Tour

Slowtwitch Goggle Tour

… without the Goggles!

Slowtwitch Goggle Tour … here at Ten-Point until April … minus the Goggles, but proudly supporting Pool-Mate … and all our customers!

Bonkers?  Here’s the story …

Slowtwitch.com is the most widely read magazine worldwide by those who do triathlons.  Dan Empfield is its publisher.  In his words:

We are atypical in our competitive set because we not only speak to roughly 700,000 to 800,000 unique visitors a month, we also speak regularly, and often, to the relevant retail channels:  bike and run mostly, swim to some degree.  Over the last year we have begun to host “tours” and these are virtual tours, where we bring our readers … to a particular retail outlet at a specified time to experience a class of products that require a tactile experience before a proper buying decision can be made …  It’s hard to test saddles over the internet.  It’s hard to know what goggle will seal well by looking at a catalog picture.

Sensible, eh?  Customers visit shops to ‘try before they buy’, shops have conversations with real-life customers and an opportunity to build relationships and help their customers, participating manufacturers get ‘head-lined’ at no marketing cost to themselves.  It’s a win-win-win plan.

You think?

Isn’t the general consensus that we’re ‘a bit’ behind the States over here in the UK?  Customer Service is King in the States.  But in the UK, it doesn’t even seem to make it onto the chess board.  When the UK arm of the US ‘featured partners’ of the Goggle-Tour were approached, I wouldn’t say ‘disinterested’ was an accurate description to their response.  I think my carefully chosen word would need to be ‘ignorant’.

The Evolution of Retail in a Nutshell

IMG_1537[Please note: Photo to right is thankfully NOT Ten-Point!]

Big business is simply a numbers game.  Having driven many retailers – not quick enough on their toes to wake up and smell the coffee, or simply without an ‘evolving’ business strategy – out of business by taking their business, for major on-line players to continue to grow, they need either new revenue streams or to improve their margins, or both.  Driven by the demands of the shareholders, they’ve already found instant gratification by approaching the manufacturers directly.  Now, in addition to watching high streets become ghost towns inhabited only by frontages mascarading as expensive poster locations, charity shops and endless varieties of sandwich and coffee bars, watch small to medium-sized businesses struggle as the ‘middle-man’ distributor gets cut out and discarded too.

The distributor who ‘made good’ with high volume sales at lesser margins to their ‘best customer’ is getting knifed in the back by the very same hand that laid out the feast.

Running parallel is the story of the on-line giants price-matching each other.  Promulgate this into the future, and it doesn’t take the brightest mind to visualise a proportion of the warring giants becoming casualities themselves.  In the end, the customer who started with all the choices … now has very few.

But, luckily, since the dawn of time, humans have survived against the odds through co-operation.  Hunter-gatherers figured out a long time ago that if they shared food, information and other resources, chances of survival – and indeed proliferation – increased.  Our instincts remain in our DNA – safety, survival and sex (in that order!).

So, although UK market leaders in the swim goggle arena were totally disinterested in playing with a shop (despite that shop being an ex-customer of theirs prior to on-line prices forcing stock clearance), UK Pool-Mate saw the collaborative-light and agreed to join in the fun.

Wake-Up UK Goggle People!  Long Live Pool-Mate!  And Thank-You Slowtwitch for your loud voice across the pond 🙂

Slowtwitch Goggle Tour … here at Ten-Point until April … minus the Goggles, but proudly supporting Pool-Mate … and all our customers!