There are a variety of different sporting goods stores near our house. Some of them carry the same items, may be closer or could be much larger. Most of the smaller/specialty sporting goods stores are owned by a local family that may have been operating for several decades. I dont have anything against going to larger stores like Sports Authority or Gander Mountain, but the smaller stores do have their advantages.
Lets take a look:
- Employee KnowledgeFor the most part, specialty retailers have employees that have more knowledge about the products they are selling. There are many reasons for this but mainly because the employee gets one on one training by the owner or store manager. Typically, the specialty stores are one to five category stores, so learning how to sell the entire suite of products isn’t as difficult for the employees. Also, many people go work at a bike shop because they enjoy biking, or a running shop because they enjoy running and so on. I do not want to say that larger stores do not have employees that know anything about the products they are selling, but we all have experience going into a larger store and not being satisfied with the employee knowledge.
- Deeper Category Line
Larger stores have a smaller amount of products for each category, mainly because of space and offering one price point to make sure they offer everything for that sport or category. A bike shop will offer everything that you would ever need for biking. Larger retailers offer bikes at only a few different price points and brands. Also, large retailers have limited amount of parts and accessories for biking. A specialty lacrosse retailer would have all equipment for lacrosse at every price point, so they always have stock and have more options for you.
- Superior Services
The service you will find at a specialty store is outstanding compared to a large store. Whether you are looking to get your tennis racket restrung, snowboard waxed, bike tuned or ski mounted. Typically, the service you will find at the specialty store will have an expert servicing your product and the turn around time is faster than what you would find at a larger store. Also, there may be other services that a specialty store may offer that a large store may not. For example, a specialty tennis shop is the only place you would get your grommet replaced.
- Special Ordering
Typically, specialty retailers can special order products for you if they are out of stock. This comes in handy when you absolutely need something and it can save time from traveling from store to store.
- Customer Service
The easiest way to analyze this is the ratio between the amount of employees/customers. The specialty store usually has an employee that can help every customer, which doesn’t always happen at the larger stores. I don’t want to say that larger stores have terrible customer service, because that isn’t entirely true, just saying the customer service is better at a smaller specialty store.
So there you have it, 5 advantages of a specialty sporting goods store over a large store. I shop at both and certainly larger stores have their own advantages which I will cover soon.