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Why are ski manufacturer websites so limitted? - Page 2

post #31 of 50
whiteroom, you will be a good example as to why a person should go to a real ski shop get informed and possibly demo from them....
post #32 of 50
As pretty much everyone else pointed out, Whiteroom is spot on. This is really another case of skiers like us being the fringe maniacs for whom it's not really worth catering to - while we may buy a lot of skis per capita, our numbers are still so small as a group that it's not a great proposition, especially given that we know how to find the deals, buy online and/or often have access to pro discounts or direct from manufacturer deals.

I realise that websites are just another marketing tool, and they serve that purpose quite well, but I don't think that should stop companies from putting up information for those of us who can actually understand and make use of it. All that would really be needed is a single page listing of skis, dimensions for each length and maybe a basic description of the construction. Just tuck it away under a downloads or "technical info" section, where most people won't bother looking, but those of us who care can find it. I think that's the ideal way to serve both the majority, as well as the minority, without excess effort or cost.
We're going rarely going to buy skis through retailers, and denying us information won't change that, so why why not try and help us out - who knows, providing some good raw info on the skis could swing someone towards that company. It's not hard to do, so why not is my basic question.
post #33 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by CanuckInstructor View Post
As pretty much everyone else pointed out, Whiteroom is spot on. This is really another case of skiers like us being the fringe maniacs for whom it's not really worth catering to - while we may buy a lot of skis per capita, our numbers are still so small as a group that it's not a great proposition, especially given that we know how to find the deals, buy online and/or often have access to pro discounts or direct from manufacturer deals.

I realise that websites are just another marketing tool, and they serve that purpose quite well, but I don't think that should stop companies from putting up information for those of us who can actually understand and make use of it. All that would really be needed is a single page listing of skis, dimensions for each length and maybe a basic description of the construction. Just tuck it away under a downloads or "technical info" section, where most people won't bother looking, but those of us who care can find it. I think that's the ideal way to serve both the majority, as well as the minority, without excess effort or cost.
We're going rarely going to buy skis through retailers, and denying us information won't change that, so why why not try and help us out - who knows, providing some good raw info on the skis could swing someone towards that company. It's not hard to do, so why not is my basic question.
Before I got into ski racing I was going to buy some park skis, I treid to find info then I came upon Line's website, it was very informative, so much so that I was determined to get a pair of their skis simply because I had a very good idea what their skis were made for and how they were made and how they compared to one another. Other companies should get a clue.
post #34 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by CanuckInstructor View Post
As pretty much everyone else pointed out, Whiteroom is spot on. This is really another case of skiers like us being the fringe maniacs for whom it's not really worth catering to - while we may buy a lot of skis per capita, our numbers are still so small as a group that it's not a great proposition, especially given that we know how to find the deals, buy online and/or often have access to pro discounts or direct from manufacturer deals.

I realise that websites are just another marketing tool, and they serve that purpose quite well, but I don't think that should stop companies from putting up information for those of us who can actually understand and make use of it. All that would really be needed is a single page listing of skis, dimensions for each length and maybe a basic description of the construction. Just tuck it away under a downloads or "technical info" section, where most people won't bother looking, but those of us who care can find it. I think that's the ideal way to serve both the majority, as well as the minority, without excess effort or cost.
We're going rarely going to buy skis through retailers, and denying us information won't change that, so why why not try and help us out - who knows, providing some good raw info on the skis could swing someone towards that company. It's not hard to do, so why not is my basic question.
You've pretty much answered your own question.

Having been a product manager for various companies (not skiing), catering to "fringe business" is not how high volume manufacturers think - regardless of industry. Not including running length, side cut info, and other tech specs for all lengths is probably not a conspiracy to keep the info secret, but one of trying to keep the literature/web site simple and easy to read. (Marketing 101)

Your question - "couldn't they just add a spec page?" ... yes, but how much is it really worth to them. More than likely an overworked product manager is going to say "I want my literature clean and easy to read. Customers who want that can get it from a dealer- gives them a reason to visit one". Basic construction info is already available on most sites and literature I've reviewed - not very well organized in some cases.

If the bulk of the market starts buying Line skis (for example), then the volume guys are going to start trying to figure out why. Maybe it will be too late by then... maybe it won't.

So could they - yes. Will they - only if they see it as being worth their time. If Whiteroom says to them - "I can't move my $70,000 worth of stock because of your frickin web site", things will change.
post #35 of 50
I think the big thing is not to un-sell a ski by giving the consumer a piece of information that may turn them off.

A web site says "This ski is great in the bumps". Well maybe it's also a great all-around ski but Joe Not-a-bump-skier see that on a web site and crosses it off his list of possible purchases. If only the sketches of information is provided, Joe Anyskiers walks into a shop thinking any of a number of models by brand X might be suitable.
post #36 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by XJguy View Post
Before I got into ski racing I was going to buy some park skis, I treid to find info then I came upon Line's website, it was very informative, so much so that I was determined to get a pair of their skis simply because I had a very good idea what their skis were made for and how they were made and how they compared to one another. Other companies should get a clue.
Well that's because Line is one of the aforementioned smaller companies (along with PM Gear, Prior, 4FRNT, etc.) that can benefit from providing as much info as possible on their website.
post #37 of 50
Tyrone, looked at your site; well done enough that I'd add Bros to the list of skis I might buy in the future. Text is thorough, easy to read. However, given that most small web-driven companies aren't easy to demo, you could benefit from a few touches that address performance. Check out Prior for the general feel.

1) Include links to ski tests, reviews, or testimonials by well-known skiers

2) Have some diagrams of ski construction. Everybody makes skis about the same way. So the diagram helps a customer visualize where the differences are. How the rubber is located, or what the glass looks like. So in his/her mind, these things differentiate your from another small manufacturer.

3) Figures or graphs that address performance rather than text. Is the flex progressive, balanced, what? How different are the two flexes offered? Or taking an idea from Stockli, can you create a grid that locates each of the four combinations of length and flex?

Like the cover shot.
post #38 of 50
That's funny about LINE.

While I found their website pretty good, I similarly found their Customer Service severly lacking. Especially compared to like-minded small companies like 4Frnt, Armada, PMGear, Prior, High Society, Liberty, and Ninth Ward.

I emailed LINE's CS department about a half dozen times and never got a response.

Conversely the other companies responded to my email queries right away.

Toss in the fact that when it comes to skis I'm a bit of a xenophobe and LINEs are made in China (in my mind's eye they really aren't a "small", "Boutique" or "indie" company anymore despite the image they portray) and I crossed them off my list pretty quick.

Basically, I feel if you're going to have a website and list a contact email, then you need to have a dedicated person who responds to queries during the week.

Heck, one of the reasons I got "sold" on Blizzard skis is that I emailed them. A month went by and I got a phone call from Blizzard's N.A. office. Seems that my email had gone to Germany. They were puzzled by it and forwarded it to their N.A. rep, who called me. They pointed me in the right direction in regards to demoing skis and even helped me track down a pair for cheap. Granted, if their website had been up-to-date/easy-to-use, my email wouldn't have bounced all over Europe before landing in New England, but still, they followed through.
post #39 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by medmarkco View Post
You've pretty much answered your own question.

Having been a product manager for various companies (not skiing), catering to "fringe business" is not how high volume manufacturers think - regardless of industry. Not including running length, side cut info, and other tech specs for all lengths is probably not a conspiracy to keep the info secret, but one of trying to keep the literature/web site simple and easy to read. (Marketing 101)
My point was that while they may not gain much, it really doesn't cost them anything to put it up anyways. I'm not saying redesign their site completely, but they obviously have the information somewhere, so why not put it up in a pdf that's available for those that are interested. It costs them virtually no time or money, and can only bring benefits.
post #40 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by CanuckInstructor View Post
My point was that while they may not gain much, it really doesn't cost them anything to put it up anyways. I'm not saying redesign their site completely, but they obviously have the information somewhere, so why not put it up in a pdf that's available for those that are interested. It costs them virtually no time or money, and can only bring benefits.
Not sure about ski industry product management jobs, but mine were always 10-14 hour crazy days of meetings, technical sessions, trade show planning, production problems, inventory problems, technical problem solving, key customer visits with reps, taking heat for sales not meeting expectations, yada, yada, ... The last thing I wanted to worry about was another stupid e-document/piece of paper that had to go through document control, lit inventory control, and remember to keep it updated every time a spec changed. In the scheme of things - I couldn't give a $#&%.

I've got a budget of $100 million in sales and some rep is on my arse for a $500 sale to a small time customer. ...just doesn't fit into my equation.

So if you see it from the other side, you understand why the simple piece of paper isn't there. Life could be different at a ski co., but probably not all that much.

I would rather go skiing!!
post #41 of 50
I do agree that it's a drop in the pan compared to most of the stuff, but inevitably they do have a webmaster, and probably some low level marketing drone to deal with it too. Given that such a list already exists I'm sure, whats the big deal with putting it up there. Yes it doesn't generate much (or any) revenue, but the cost is so insignificant, why not?
post #42 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by CanuckInstructor View Post
...why not?
There really isn't a good reason.

Just all of the things mentioned. People are busy running around trying to address daily issues and focus on driving sales through retailers. More than likely the activities of low-level marketing grunts are being directed by the product manager/marketing director. So, unless either of the two of them are interested - just won't happen. If the company is ISO inspected, then even something a simple as a spec page on the web site has to have an ECO (engineering change order) completed and a procedure typed up and included in the SOP manual for how the document/web page will be controlled. Fail to do that and the company gets dinged the next time the ISO inspectors are in. It just never ends.

Like I said, you'll have to find someone who gives a damn and get them to take action. If it's worth money they will. If not... (repeat loop).
post #43 of 50
I aggree with learn2turn about the realskiers paid review site being a dissapointment - at least for me. I was expecting serious and in-depth qualiatitve and quantitative information. At least thats what the ads say. What I got was pretty much the usual - a brief paragraph, a few numbers, and ski stats. I thought I would see breakdowns by how the ski works in various east/west hills ect. Some of the info is conflicting as well as I noticed prior years models get different scores even though it happens to be the same ski with a new graphic. I also wonder if they favor HEAD skis as their seems to be some bias with Head models.
post #44 of 50
Medmarkco is my new hero. I think a lot of skiers assume that ski companies (and the reality is it's not the manufacturer but the US distributor we interact with) are HUGE companies. They aren't.

If you were to walk into Fischer USA's distribution center in Auburn, NH. you would see about six cubicles and four offices, then the warehouse. thats it.

Rossi/Dynastar? like two offices and a warehouse (before the move to UT).

These are not giant companies. There aren't hundreds of interns running around to do worker drone tasks. It's a small sport that is regional, seasonal and weather dependent. Stay away if you want to make money. Far, far away.
post #45 of 50
What whiterom said, It is just marketing 101. Give just a taste get the customer into the shop or dealer. Let the sales people earn thier pay check.
post #46 of 50
Interesting discussion.
One point that hasn't really been touched on is the fact that there are a lot of ski brands/manufacturers out there, and a lot of skis (within general categories and across different brands) are VERY similar.

The fact that most manufacturers are vague about their techy info is that its mostly just smoke and mirrors. This leads back to the whole marketing aspect/brand reputation issue.

Look at it this way: If you want a burly race/carving ski you dump a wood core and a couple of sheets of titanium in. You also go with a relatively drastic sdecut. Then, for marketing sake you add a fancy gimmick (and this is where my comments are sure to catch all kinds of die hard hell) like the former Salomon Pilot system to make it sound especially fancy. What exactly does the Pilot system do- how does it really work? The rep. might give you a flowery explanation, but in the end, does it REALLY do anything? The real selling factor is the brand, the general quality of construction(and this is not always guaranteed), as well as a few other variant possibilities, e.g. Armada - the biggest name in new school backs a brand. The kids love that Tanner Hall.

You can deconstruct just about any type of ski in the same way. Why aren't manufacturers extremely forthcoming about 'features'? Because other than the basics of shape, core, topsheet, radius, etc. there isn't much else that differentiates a ski. So you find all the ski companies calling their wood laminate core something special, like Volkl's magical 'Sensorwood' core or Salomon's mystical 'Isocell complex/Monocoque construction' because even though its so very similar to the next brand, you need to set yourself apart. And people love techy-sounding 'features'.

I agree that it can be terribly difficult to get even the most basic info about a certain ski - like last year's Salomon Gun LAB ski - but I believe what causes that is the nature of the market. How do you know that one of this year's upcoming skis is going to be your ski? You haven't skiied it, and most likely you don't know anyone who has. You go off of opinions of those you respect and appreciate - whether that's your local ski shop burn out(and who knows where he's getting his info from) or the completely subjective ski magazine review articles, you really have no idea what the ski is really going to feel like beyond the general categorization I mentioned earlier. In that vein demo-ing is definitely the way to go. Too bad most of the diamonds (like the 06/07 Gotama, or last year's Mantra) out there are already scarce before there's enough snow up in the mountains to go up and try them out.

In regard to finding helpful, thorough (yet still unfortunately marketed) info, i've found tramdock.com to be pretty satisfactory.

What say?
post #47 of 50
Atomic has run into problems with being too direct with customers in recent years- direct mailings for pro deals, poor reps, allowing box stores and online outlets (which provide zero customer service) to undercut specialty shops. Its exactly what all the other manufacturers are trying to avoid.
post #48 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
Tyrone, looked at your site; well done enough that I'd add Bros to the list of skis I might buy in the future. Text is thorough, easy to read. However, given that most small web-driven companies aren't easy to demo, you could benefit from a few touches that address performance. Check out Prior for the general feel.

1) Include links to ski tests, reviews, or testimonials by well-known skiers

2) Have some diagrams of ski construction. Everybody makes skis about the same way. So the diagram helps a customer visualize where the differences are. How the rubber is located, or what the glass looks like. So in his/her mind, these things differentiate your from another small manufacturer.

3) Figures or graphs that address performance rather than text. Is the flex progressive, balanced, what? How different are the two flexes offered? Or taking an idea from Stockli, can you create a grid that locates each of the four combinations of length and flex?

Like the cover shot.
Thank you beyond for your insight.

Some of that stuff we had thought of, but just didn't have time to include it during site launch, but some of your ideas (like the flex graphs) I hadn't considered, so thanks for the input.

And yes, I like Prior's site too. I think they did a really good job.

Oh and the cover shot rotates...hit refresh on your browser or there's a small arrow you can sometimes barely see in the upper right corner you can click on to make the image change. We also added a photo gallery for customers to submit photos of themselves. Photo gallery link is in upper right corner of site.

Won't be checking in here for awhile. Now off for a week of mountain biking in Moab before the snow really starts flyin
post #49 of 50
I think K2 has taken many of the complaints of the old site to heart and made the new site much better for getting info on the skis.
post #50 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
Or..
Me: I'm looking for a ski for my daughter. She likes to ski faster than most people on the hill.

Young Lad: We've got a good deal on these Head XRC300s or if she's really fast she might need the XRC500s.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjohansson View Post
Hey Whiteroom. I see your point and agree that it works in an area where you have decent competition among shops and a wide base to hire knowledgeable employees from (like Stowe). If you live in Syracuse you get this:
ME: I'm a former racer looking for a GS race carver.
MULTI-PIERCED EMPLOYEE: Uhhh. What color ski are you looking for?
ME: Never mind. How much for the Fischer RC4 WC RC's?
M-P E: I'll have to check.
10 minutes later.....
M-P E: They're a smokin' hot deal right now. $895 without bindings, but maybe I can get them for you for $850
ME: A Fischer shop in Maine has them for $425.
M-P E: No way, dude. We can't go less than $850.
ME: See ya later. Then again, I won't.

I've got nothing against piercings...I've got 3 teenagers and 1 20-something. For a large number of posters on this forum, this example is more the norm than what you and your shop can provide.
This is exactly the problem.

A young friend of mine recently walked into the local shop. Last year was his first year skiing, Level 4-5 is my guesstimate. He apparently advised the clerk of his experience and ability. The highly informed clerk at the shop then proceeded to sell him a pair of rossi scratch BC!!

After telling me of his grand new purchase, of which he was so excited to and proud. I told him to get the yellow pages out and start finding a lawyer.

"Huh" he says.

"So when you are in the hospital it will be less effort when you sue the nickompoops who sold you gear totally incompatible with your skill level"
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