Westmarine - the good and the bad - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 91 Old 04-20-2008
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We bought our boat in San Diego and went to prepare it for the voyage home to New Zealand against quite a demanding time window (two weeks).

We went to WM Shelter Island and they discovered that we had just bought the boat. The manager without being prompted gave us a "new boat owner" card that gave us 10% off everything we bought. We never bothered to check the price at other vendors because we simply never had the time to shop around.

In hindsight we checked some of the prices here at home (NZ) and were pleasantly surprised with what we paid for most stuff and about 80% of what we needed we got from one store. Very convenient and most of the stuff was better than average quality.

And the staff were always friendly, helpful and well informed.

We are still a little confused by all the bad press WM get on this forum.

Andre
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post #12 of 91 Old 04-20-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
We are still a little confused by all the bad press WM get on this forum.
Agreed. Once I was in the Oakland store buying parts for a small rigging job I was doing on my own boat. One of the things I needed was a crimper. The WM salesperson handed me a brand new, $100 tool from off of the shelf and said, "Bring it back when you're done." That kind of customer service made me a fan for life.
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post #13 of 91 Old 04-20-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
We bought our boat in San Diego and went to prepare it for the voyage home to New Zealand against quite a demanding time window (two weeks).

We went to WM Shelter Island and they discovered that we had just bought the boat. The manager without being prompted gave us a "new boat owner" card that gave us 10% off everything we bought. We never bothered to check the price at other vendors because we simply never had the time to shop around.

In hindsight we checked some of the prices here at home (NZ) and were pleasantly surprised with what we paid for most stuff and about 80% of what we needed we got from one store. Very convenient and most of the stuff was better than average quality.

And the staff were always friendly, helpful and well informed.

We are still a little confused by all the bad press WM get on this forum.

Andre
To tell you the truth Omatako, I don't know why people complain about WM...maybe they don't like winning companies? No one is holding a gun to their head to shop there. If they don't like the prices or service they are free to shop somewhere else, and sometimes I do, but it's not because of their service. When I purchased my electronic navigation system, 'no one' was any cheaper, and I got another 10% off later through their Reward Certificate program...which I turned in for something else that didn't cost me anything.
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post #14 of 91 Old 04-20-2008
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If you're fitting out a new (or used, but new-to-you) boat, be sure to ask for a discount.

When I bought my Island Packet 380, I was able to get Port Supply prices for all of the items I needed to fit her out. The manager gave me a little card to show the cashier at checkout. Sailnet (Sam at the time) also gave me a very generous discount, which averaged about 20%. I saved a ton of money.

Hud
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post #15 of 91 Old 04-20-2008
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Well..since this particular thread seems pretty positive on WM...I'll jump in and be negative. But first, I'll say that I have traditionally spent a LOT of $$ at West...so much so that they sent me a HARDBOUND catalog in thanks one year! Over the last 5 years or so I have become increasingly critical of them and sought to take my business elsewhere whenever the opportunity presented itself. The reasons I have been critical:
1. Price increases and prices that made them the highest priced source for anything you wanted to buy for your boat. I documented this in January of 2007 here with comparison prices on 25 commonly purchased items. They were highest in 24 out of 25 cases and only were the SAME on one item because they were on sale.
2. A corporate policy of NOT matching internet pricing...even though some stores and district managers would do so....the printed policy said no.
3. The buying and conversion of their retail competitors created a virtual retail monopoly and allowed them to raise prices. (BoatUS/EBMarine)
4. The elimination of sailboat items at retail in favor of clothing and powerboat oriented inventory.
5. The replacement of quality name brands with "WEST" branded goods to avoid price comparisons and enhance margins. (Avon/Zodiac/Batteries/ etc.)

Now those of you outside the US might like their prices as with the $$ exchange, I'm sure theyare attractive...but those of us here can shop and compare and they rarely come up close except on sale.

They are paying a huge price for their actions over the recent past as is evidenced by their financial losses, store closings, stock price fall, and firing of their CEO. The new guy has a background as a long term employee who KNOWS the business rather than simply knowing how to control inventory and raise prices. It sounds like he wants to change how things are done and get back to the old days. I wish him well....

BUT...I believe WEST must do more than simply agree to match prices if you bring it to their attention. They need to get their initial prices RIGHT. Otherwise, 80% of customers will pay high prices to subsidize the 20% who are smart enough to shop around. Meanwhile other competitors give everyone a good price every single day.
Note...that I think West CAN legitimately charge a BIT more than the mail order places given their additional convenience. I just choose to buy NOTHING I don't absolutely have to from them until they start charging everyone fair prices for the goods they sell.

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post #16 of 91 Old 04-20-2008
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Cam,

Don't disagree with any of your points. I did most of my outfitting through Sailnet six years ago. Locally, I used to shop first at the BoatUS store in Deltaville, going to WM only if BoatUS didn't have it, because of WM's higher prices.

After WM bought the BoatUS retail stores, I noticed the prices at BoatUS-Deltaville went up 10-15%. But, in the long term, the market speaks, doesn't it?

Hud
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post #17 of 91 Old 04-20-2008
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But, in the long term, the market speaks, doesn't it?
Absolutely Hud...and your choice in Deltaville was the same as mine!!
I'm waiting for Wal-mart to take a hard look at the boating market...

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post #18 of 91 Old 04-20-2008
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First let me say that I'm not defending WM, but I can understand that they are in the business to make money, as all businesses should be.

A brick and mortar business has expenses that on-line businesses do no have (at least not to the degree that brick and mortar businesses have), the first and foremost expense being the building that they sell their wares in...how many outlets does WM have?...so matching Internet pricing is not always possible. There are three ways that a business can reduce the price of the product that they sell: 1. Cheaper unit costs form their supplier (The first choice). 2. Wages and benefits to employees (which also effects workers compensation and insurance rates...the second choice). 3. Lowering the company's profit margin (the last choice a company wants to make cuts). A company cannot grow if it doesn't make money, and if they are not making money, then what is the purpose of having a company.

If certain items sell better than other things (and the profit margin is better), then that is the direction WM might have to move to...but that opens the door for some other company to capture that sector.

WM seems like a monopoly of a certain sector of business, but they're not one yet, otherwise there would be no other place to purchase the products they sell...but I agree WM is very large. So is Home Depot, Lowe's, Walmart, Microsoft, etc, and we hear complaints about their size and control of their markets too. For some reason we like to support the underdog, but not when the underdog gets to big. Personally I don't care for Home Depot's rise to the top, because they knocked out almost all of the local hardware and lumberyards. Walmart will be doing the same thing to local grocery stores and markets in time, and I'm not keen on that either...but that is the sign of the times we live in. We buy branded items in stores all the time, and large companies do that for the same reasons WM does...to make money and stay in business...I can't fault them for that

If WM's business plan is flawed it will be reflected in their earnings (the bottom line for a business), and to survive they will have to change or die. If the change is for the good everyone profits (customers too), if not then WM dies and other companies will benefit...along with their customers.

WM offers things important to many people, service, inventory, and convenience...but that does not come without a price.

Like I've said before, I do not always buy at WM, but they sure are convenient.
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post #19 of 91 Old 04-20-2008
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I walked into the WM in Columbus, Ohio....NO, not the sailing capital of the state....just browsing.....and was treated like "one of the boys"......you'd have thought I parked a new Oyster out front! No complaints since either.....
as cheap, er... frugal as I am, sometimes I'll spend a little extra when treated properly.

Poverty motivates me in ways prosperity never could.
(stolen from Eddie Jones)
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post #20 of 91 Old 04-20-2008
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Speaking of Walmart and boating, last year I purchased a Dc plug from Walmart for $3.98. Boater World had it listed at $15.00, same item.

S/V Scheherazade
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I had a dream, I was sailing, I was happy, I was even smiling. Then I looked down and saw that I was on a multi-hull and woke up suddenly in a cold sweat.
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