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Old 22-01-2015, 17:14   #16
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

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Originally Posted by Lodesman View Post
You have to shake your head at the "bottom-line" mentality. Maybe there's more profit in the non-boaty "lifestyle" stuff, but it's the boat supplies that bring the customers through the door. If WM only wants to carry stuff I can find at any sporting goods store, or for that matter Walmart, why would I go there?
no body said they were dropping the boating stuff, we stock 3 to 4 times the boating equeptment that the old store did.
where once you walked into a WM and there were 3 or 4 anchors in stock, they now stock 15 to 20 in various types and sizes.
Just in the zinks alone, you might have sean a few different sizes.. the now stock over a hundred or so and now in complete kit form for power boats.
The epoxy section was about 8 feet long where they now have a complete re-finishing department with every type of epoxy and re-fginishing product avalable. Where once you had to look in the catalog for an Item, you now see it on the shelf.
The engine department in itself is larger than the footprint of the old store.
The hwd dept for sailboat parts sports 3 complete different sections for Harken, shaffer, and winchard, and the rope wall covers the complete back wall of the store with every product WM carries including all the new exocite lines, all on spools ready to rig your boat. We have a complete rigging shop with a two day turn around..
And the clothing section sports the best in weather gear">foul weather gear all the way down to work booats for fishing vessels..
WM has turned into a one stop shop for ALL your boating needs..
The live style boating covers a broad range of items inwhich WM carries.
And the Wake boards and Kayaks we sell, a very large amount of them go to sailboaters ..
I run the fishing department, and I would say that 30% of all the people I sell to own a sailboat. Many are rigging their boats for traveling south to mexico.
So at one time, WM sold only ropes, they now sell everything you need, almost, forom stem to stern for your boat, and for you..
And the electronics section, all major suppliers are on view with the newest units avalable to play with.. once there were only a couple VHF in the store.. they now stock over 20 handhelds and over 30 base units..
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Old 22-01-2015, 17:20   #17
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

I hope some of their competitors that had to close will re-open, otherwise we're all going to be driving farther or waiting for the delivery truck.

I've noticed for a while now that they don't restock stuff that I buy, and most items they only stock 1 or 2 of, so if you need 3 or 4 it's a special order. Some MBA probably thought this was a good idea, but if you've got to wait for a delivery truck you might as well buy it online for a lot less money--at least that's what I do.
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Old 22-01-2015, 17:24   #18
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

I'm not a big fan of WM. That being said, recently we've been surprised not once, but twice with the reasonableness of pricing on some marine items. In particular A/C pumps. Could I get them cheaper elsewhere? Sure, but only about $10 - say 5%. And WM had them in stock.
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Old 22-01-2015, 17:34   #19
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

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Originally Posted by autumnbreeze27 View Post
I hope some of their competitors that had to close will re-open, otherwise we're all going to be driving farther or waiting for the delivery truck.

I've noticed for a while now that they don't restock stuff that I buy, and most items they only stock 1 or 2 of, so if you need 3 or 4 it's a special order. Some MBA probably thought this was a good idea, but if you've got to wait for a delivery truck you might as well buy it online for a lot less money--at least that's what I do.
Not trying to Defend them but there very well could be a reason for what you say.. If its not being restocked, there is an issue, the inventory runs on a computer system and restocks on an auto system on products sold based on a "min-max" system.. if by chance that some low-life has stole the product from the shelf, the computer still thinks its there so wont re-order until a corection is done.. a simple word to an associate will get everything flowing again.. our shipping for special orders is done by our port supply devision and will have your parts normally the next day if placed early in the day.. and if picked up at the store, there is no shipping charge.....
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Old 22-01-2015, 17:58   #20
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

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West Marine may be changing, But its a change for the better for both the customer and the company...
I hope you're right. It's not my experience.
I've seen a lot of stores come and go. The pattern is predictable.

An entrepreneur makes a reputation selling quality stuff at reasonable prices. Stuff he/she knows the customers actually WANT. Success leads to more stores. Eventually the owner is no longer in charge, and strategic planning falls to some ivory tower "expert" in the home office.

Profit is no longer sufficient. To appease stockholders, the corporation needs to post double-digit growth every quarter.

The "expert" starts by re-arranging the stores so the high-margin items are out front. Prices are raised to match or exceed the competition, and expensive advertising campaigns are launched to push the profitable lines.

The highest-margin lines are expanded, at the expense of lower-margin items. Those items that originally brought in the customers are first sent to the back of the store, and one by one, eliminated entirely.

Eventually, some new entrepreneur notices the niche left behind by the big chain, and starts selling quality stuff that people want at reasonable prices. The big chain fails, the little guy expands, and the cycle starts all over again.

By my estimation, WM is three-quarters of the way down this path. Less and less shelf space is dedicated to the stuff boaters actually need. More fashion and fad merchandise. More top-end stuff, less parts. In our local stores, there's been a move to reduce inventory. Often there is only one of each item in stock. With anchors that might be OK. But some things are purchased in pairs, or in larger quantities. I spent months watching to see if a pair of chocks might be in stock. They never were. Only one of each style. I eventually ordered them on line. From another merchant.

I really hope I'm wrong. WM is convenient, it's good to be able to see before you buy, to return or exchange things, and basically to have needed parts handy. There is money to be made in that line of business. But I suspect, not as much money as the current board is demanding.

Final prediction: There are already plenty of fashion clothing stores out there. WM will not succeed in that arena, no matter how large the margins are on any given item. Once the boaters are banished from the stores, and the the hipster fad turns to some other fashion, WM will have no-one to sell to.
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Old 22-01-2015, 18:21   #21
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

Might want to reread #16. Sure seems like they're changing the direction many of us saw them going over the past decade. I'll have to try the Sausalito Superstore. However, since I live in the east bay it may take some time. Oakland is now a small store, although Alameda is quite nice.
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Old 22-01-2015, 18:47   #22
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

The internet has made it very tough for retailers to drive profits, its no surprise you can buy the same item online for less than at a Retail location many even from the same company. You can find Walmart items for 15 plus% cheaper online than at their store. The reasoning is they are trying to drive customers to buy online so their profits are higher. West marine is no different. They offer discounts online that aren't offered in store. Funny thing is I have shopped at maybe 6 different stores in Fl, Have a port supply accnt, and have found their online customer service to be light years better than at their retail locations. Sad but true...

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Old 22-01-2015, 18:56   #23
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

Its impossible for We$t to compete with on-line stores when thy charge 85 for a quart of 45 dollar paint. I stopped shopping there as my preferred source when they stopped matching the net prices. This, after they forced out Boat US, Boater's World and many other competitors.
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Old 22-01-2015, 18:59   #24
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

We don't want the brick stores to go but we look and touch in them and then rush to the computer and buy it. We want the help from the pros but don't want to pay for that. Same reason all the electronic stores are closing.

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Old 22-01-2015, 19:01   #25
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

This move may open up an opportunity for a mixed online and bricks and mortar store. But this time a real boater's store. Less emphasis on "lifestyle" crap and more things like marine hardware at online prices.

A while ago a flagship store opened nearby but in a really non-marine location in a shopping mall away from the coast. I thought this was odd since in the middle of recession there were plenty of near the water/near marinas locations they could have used. But now it makes sense.
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Old 22-01-2015, 19:08   #26
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

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We don't want the brick stores to go but we look and touch in them and then rush to the computer and buy it. We want the help from the pros but don't want to pay for that. Same reason all the electronic stores are closing.

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I think it's more of a case of the industry shooting itself in the foot. I'd pay a 10% premium for shopping at a physical location. But not a 50%+ premium.

WM listed a folding ladder I was looking to buy for $239 and they did not have one in stock and it would be a few weeks at best for them to get it in. I got identical one online for $130 and it was delivered free in 2 business days. I would have gladly paid $150 to WM if they had one in stock as time was of essence for me. But not twice the price online. And not with a 2 week wait.

It's a classic case of really stupid top management killing a once successful brand. And blaming anyone but themselves.
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Old 22-01-2015, 19:14   #27
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

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Originally Posted by Island Time O25 View Post
I think it's more of a case of the industry shooting itself in the foot. I'd pay a 10% premium for shopping at a physical location. But not a 50%+ premium.

WM listed a folding ladder I was looking to buy for $239 and they did not have one in stock and it would be a few weeks at best for them to get it in. I got identical one online for $130 and it was delivered free in 2 business days. I would have gladly paid $150 to WM if they had one in stock as time was of essence for me. But not twice the price online. And not with a 2 week wait.

It's a classic case of really stupid top management killing a once successful brand. And blaming anyone but themselves.
My thoughts exactly.
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Old 22-01-2015, 19:33   #28
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

Am I correct to say that West Marine is not the most affordable marine shops around? At least during the recent years?
But on the other hand returns and exchanges policy is good and customer friendly compared to competition?
(I haven't been to their shops during the last few years)
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Old 22-01-2015, 19:35   #29
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

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Does anyone know what the relative markups are on clothing, etc vs hardware?

I've been a customer since the days of West Coast Ropes and buying stuff from Randy in Palo Alto. I remember being in their first big store in Alameda before the shelves were stocked... it seemed huge! Seems to me that their persona began changing rapidly when they went public and started their huge expansion efforts. From my point of view, it has all been downhill, changing a great store into a typical profit above all giant.

If they quietly went into the yuppie clothing biz entirely I'd not miss them much. I too hope that there will be a few more smaller chandlers about, but on line buying is gonna be hard for them to fight as well.

Changing times...

Jim
I go to a trade show that offers some of the same brands as west marine. The general markup for clothing is 100%, 200% for small "gadgets" and 10-20% on electronics. Everything else is in-between. Stores get another 10% off by ordering preseason, and I'm sure a large dealer like WM negotiates at least 10% off these prices. On stuff that have manufactured under their own name brand I'm sure the markup is much higher.
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Old 22-01-2015, 19:54   #30
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Re: West Marine changing strategies: likely de-emphasising sailing related support

Being in Amerikan Samoa (with no local Bricks & Mortar marine store catering to the "cruiser market") I've found that shopping online with WM is problematic. Example: shackles pictorially displayed online show the obverse and not the part embossed "CHINA".

Well. Since returns from AmSamoa are at MY expense for shipping, I'll eat the cost and move on. Lesson learned. Defender now gets the corresponding portion of my parts budget; plus I also purchase from other online outlets including our CF participant vendor Hopkin's-Carter Marine.

Yes, yes, yes.... Buyer beware and all that. Still..... Sometimes you just need to talk/email somebody who knows sailing boats and understands what you mean when you say "that twisted thing-a-ma-jingy that attaches to the what-cho-may-call-it at the top of sail on the roller-reef genoa". We are not all blessed with comprehensive nautical terminology, and (money in hand) sometimes just need a little help. You remember?

I'll always treasure the 2012 WM catalog now in hand - since WM apparently decided I need not receive another, new, catalog despite repeated requests. Mailing costs being what they are, t'is understandable, no?

Goodbye, WM, and thanks for the memories.

James
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