Join Date: Jul 2002
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Rep Power: 15
SailNet- A good place to do business
BG, Thor & the group:
Here''s my take on this tread. I used to buy retail goods from JSI in St. Pete, which was purchased by Sailnet when they dabbled with the idea of having both a virtual and bricks + mortar biz. Little changed at the physical retail site while Sailnet came and then went as, no surprise, it''s the people that make such a business work...or not.
In 2002 we decided to prep the boat to cross and cruise Europe; despite 2 successful years in the Caribbean, there was just lots more work to be done. Early on I placed 6 orders with Sailnet''s virtual biz, had problems with 3 of them (that''s a 50% error rate) and looked elsewhere. I discovered that Defender had been pushed into a corner, mauled badly, ''got the message'', and had turned their business around re: customer service, biz systems and Web retail sales. So...Sailnet lost out and Defender benefitted while my cruising kitty waned. WRT Sailnet, I never dealt with an unfriendly employee and I found them very prompt and assuring re: resolving the problems. In the end I concluded that despite Sailnet being a web-based business, it apparently lacked the biz systems (and probably, some level of necessary training as employees come & go) at that time to reliably fill orders. I don''t consider Sailnet a ''bad actor'' any more than I view the local WM stores that way, when I find their pricing unreasonable or sales staff less than knowledgeable. This just seems to be the nature of volume retail businesses & low wage personnel these days. It may be that Sailnet has improved their systems and employee retention rates, and now provide more successful service than they were able to then.
I think BG''s point about this web forum being a ''sailing community service'' - he doubted it - is quite correct. We can all remember back to the mid/late 90''s as web-based retail businesses were being established - you had to reach out and touch your audience. Why would a person become a customer of one ''virtual'' business over another, if not by some form of web-based service? This forum is here because it serves a business need and is part of a business plan. That doesn''t make it bad, good or ''other''; it''s no different than Brion Toss operating a Q&A forum on rigging, or the SSCA, CW, Searoom and a host of other web-based businesses operating general forums (fora?) to attract visitors, anchor a registration to enable marketing, and in general keep you aware of their ''presence''. I must admit I get a little queasy in the stomach when I see the occasional post that lauds Sailnet for this ''service'', as tho'' it''s a humanitarian gesture. Do I appreciate it? Yes. How do I give something back? By trying to post useful info, since I''m still a happy Defender customer, even from over on the other side of the Pond.
To bolster BG''s point, remove all the ''services'' provided at this website. Assume it''s a catalog + ordering site like JC Whitney, Sears, JC Penney''s etc. Many of you hang out at the Penney''s website, do you? Nope. If you like Lands'' End clothes, do you use the JC Penney''s website (they now own and feature LE products)? Nope, you''ll go to the Lands'' End website because it''s superior, engaging, and your web-based satisfaction is integral to them having you as a customer. To the extent we are pleased to be here, sharing info and learning, then Sailnet''s accomplished that piece of its business plan. Good for them. Good for us, too. But hardly altruistic...
WHOOSH, lying St. Katharine''s Haven, London