Archery shops - Are they taking the mick? (Online orders)

LionOfNarnia

Supporter
Supporter
On Friday lunchtime I made seven orders to different suppliers for car parts on eBay.

All were notified to me as dispatched before 6pm.

2 arrived on Saturday, 3 more arrived today, the final 2 are due tomorrow. All were 'Free P&P'. The largest order was about ?25, the smallest less than ?3. Total ?82.

This is the kind of service I've come to expect from domestic online suppliers, generally.

I also made an order for a couple of small parts from a well-known & well-respected archery shop at about the same time. Both were marked as in-stock. Total ?82 inc ?3.75 P&P.

They haven't even been dispatched yet. This isn't the first time that this has happened.

So, the questions are:-

1) What are your experiences of dispatch times for in-stock archery orders?

2) Are you happy that archery shops are treating their online customers well enough or would you like to see improvements?

3) Is there anything we, as a community of archery consumers, could do to encourage archery suppliers to 'up their game'?

- Which don't hurt us.

(Such as boycotts, due to the need to shop around for full options & comparative pricing etc.)

No need for any 'name-and-shame', just general observations & true feelings please. We're not politicians ;)
 


AndyW

Active member
It's a bit of a mixed bag. If we're not naming and shaming I will stick with those I've found very good( in no order ): Merlin, Wales Archery, Archery Company, Clickers, The archery shop, Silver Archery and Phoenix Archery.
Others can be a bit hit and miss or have no interest in helping you out. My pet hate with one in particular is that they will hold on to your order for multiple items to wait for one thing to come in stock which sometimes they've had to order from the States. If they'd just phone they could quite happily have the extra ?3 for postage - God forbid they could stand the loss.
A little off topic but 1 gripe is that some will almost throw expensive kit at relative newbies who are in the first flush of enthusiasm knowing perfectly well it's way above what they need, even worse are those that sell what they ask for rather than explaining what they should have and why.
As regard actionsI just never order from them again unless I cannot source from elsewhere.
 


Finch

Member
I haven't ordered anything on-line as I am pretty much set up and shooting, however, last time I was at my local shop we bought a load of kit, but left without one item (selected it but it didn't even make it onto the paperwork and we didn't pay for it) - a Shibuya DX button for my wife's bow. When we realised the problem, having searched both our bow bags a couple of times, I phoned the shop to see if we had left it there. Not only did he remember us and the transaction but offered to post it at no cost if I was happy to pay over the phone. We did and the button arrived a couple of days later, exactly when he said it would.

To counter Andy's comment, when I was purchasing my new bow and a load of equipment the sales guy actually talked me out of purchasing the more expensive kit as he said I wouldn't get any benefit from it for quite a while - he suggested months or years - and recommended products about half the price that would serve me perfectly even if I want to compete to County level. I realise that he might just be pushing the kit they get a better return on but so far they have saved us nearly ?600 in three visits to the store.
 


geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
One of the problems with buying archery kit, from the beginners' point of view, is the obvious differences between the beginners gear they borrowed for the course, and the equipment they see being used by club members.
The wooden risers v the intricate metal ones look so different that it is easy to be convinced that the wooden ones are inferior. We offer six follow up lessons for beginners who join our club.
Part of those sessions includes choosing equipment.
It is interesting how many still buy from unknown sources with no archery expertise. It is also interesting how many disregard the advice we offer, and go for top end equipment.
Try to convince them that the most basic sight on the beginners bow works just as well as one costing ?200+. It is obvious to them, that they can't be as good, because they see the adjustments mechanisms on sights as the vital ingredients.
 


ben tarrow

Active member
One of the problems with buying archery kit, from the beginners' point of view, is the obvious differences between the beginners gear they borrowed for the course, and the equipment they see being used by club members.
The wooden risers v the intricate metal ones look so different that it is easy to be convinced that the wooden ones are inferior. We offer six follow up lessons for beginners who join our club.
We're steadily replacing our wooden risers with metal ones like the Core Jet riser which is only a fiver more than the wooden equivalent. They look like the real deal. Anyone still teach beginners with jelly bows?
 


geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
Hi Ben, Nice idea. I think our risers are too new to replace.
I still have some fibre glass bows... 32 lb one of them. They never get used though.
 


KidCurry

Active member
1) What are your experiences of dispatch times for in-stock archery orders?
Generally always received within 1 week of order. I have no problem with this.

2) Are you happy that archery shops are treating their online customers well enough or would you like to see improvements?
Faster shipping is always good if it doesn't create a faceless sterile amazon experience where advice is non-existent. The problem is there is only 2 or 3 big archery outlets but even these have to balance margin, payroll and profit. The smaller ones have to do their shipping when they finish on the shop floor.

3) Is there anything we, as a community of archery consumers, could do to encourage archery suppliers to 'up their game'? - Which don't hurt us...Such as boycotts
The smaller businesses will just go to the wall and you will end up with just the big 2 or 3, which is great if you live near one, and until they decide to increase their margins.
The world is becoming obsessed with instant delivery these days. That's fine for purely online, zero overhead, garden shed outlets, that can pack'em high and sell'em cheap. Often next day delivery is an outlets only edge in a high volume world. If archery is one thing, it is not high volume.

I manufacture and sell a small range of archery products. When I started I never gave packing and shipping a thought. Packaging costs and shipping cost get dwarfed but the time these take.
 


geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
When I started in archery, there was no internet. I went to an archery specialist, tried out a couple of bows that I liked and chose the one I liked better.
From what I remember, that was what everyone did, at least that's how it seemed at the time.
In more recent times, newer archers have told me they went to the same place and tried some bows. Then bought their bow of choice on line somewhere else.
I don't think archery specialists can afford to have too many archers doing that.
 


LionOfNarnia

Supporter
Supporter
I wasn't actually talking about 'big ticket' items likes bows & risers, making a special trip to a shop for advice/testing before purchase makes total sense for that.

- I was thinking more of 'things broken on a Sunday & ordered on Monday', maintenance stuff for those who haven't (yet) acquired boxes & boxes of spares for every occasions, and those wee things you might eyeball 'somewhere' - online, at a competition/club day etc & simply fancy trying.

The shops are owned & run by keen & experienced archers, the service you get when you visit is first-class, comfy chairs & free coffee machines while you wait, indoor ranges etc. But the online shopper is a customer too!

4 working days from order to delivery is perfectly acceptable. But pocketing your money & sitting on it for days before taking something off a shelf, putting it in an envelope & posting it?

- Being generous, a 'could do better' rating is all they'd get from me.

...and let's be honest here - dealing with an already-paid-for order takes less time, and hence makes less of a dent on the bottom line, than waiting for visits & hoping for bigger spends.

The shops where I know if you order on Monday & can reasonably expect delivery by Wednesday are always first on my go-to list. But not every shop stocks everything.

The internet is here to stay, I'm confident in saying that. Those who embrace the benefits will thrive, those who don't may fall.
 


brman

Member
1) What are your experiences of dispatch times for in-stock archery orders?
Very similar. When I recently started buying archery stuff I was shocked at how slow some (big name) suppliers were at shipping. i have sort of accepted it but it is a bit of a pain when you don't know what week the stuff is going to arrive!
Ironically, a small supplier I used did the best job - emailing me dispatch info and getting the stuff to me in a couple of days.

2) Are you happy that archery shops are treating their online customers well enough or would you like to see improvements?
No. I do understand it is harder for smaller suppliers. They probably do not have dedicated people to handle internet orders and the probably cannot afford fancy ordering systems that automatically email customer shipping numbers etc. But other small suppliers appear to manage it so I do wonder if it is just being slow to catch up with modern expectations.
I would also say that I have bought a lot of model aircraft stuff in the past. Perhaps not so niche as archery but not particularly mainstream either. There are certainly more archery clubs in my area and model aircraft clubs!
Anyway, even the smaller suppliers are up with the times and manage their online sales well. So it cannot be just about size.

I think it is becoming more and more the case that any shop needs that online presence as well. It is not enough to have good, face to face, service. There needs to be good online service too. A case in point - My wife and I had good service at a shop when we bought our bows. So when I needed something online I used them but was disappointed with the communication and delivery time. Next online order went elsewhere despite the fact the first supplier had the items in stock at the same price.
And, now we have the important bits, most stuff is likely by recommendation so can be bought without visiting a shop. So where does that leave the first supplier?
I should add that the "poor communication" mentioned was just that I got no info on if/when the goods were shipped. When (a week later) I emailed them to ask what was going on I got a very quick and helpful response. Which I think shows what I have come to expect from online orders nowadays.
And to be clear, I am of the generation that was used to reading adverts in magasines and using this thing called a telephone to place orders ;)
3) Is there anything we, as a community of archery consumers, could do to encourage archery suppliers to 'up their game'?

- Which don't hurt us.

(Such as boycotts, due to the need to shop around for full options & comparative pricing etc.)

No need for any 'name-and-shame', just general observations & true feelings please. We're not politicians ;)
I think people will always vote with their feet so natural selection if you like. However I do think that is not good for the customer where there is a good shop which has poor online service. I guess the obvious way us buyers can influence them is to give them honest feedback! They will not change unless they realise it is hurting their business....
 


KidCurry

Active member
4 working days from order to delivery is perfectly acceptable. But pocketing your money & sitting on it for days before taking something off a shelf, putting it in an envelope & posting it?
That's the thing though, it's the little things that will kill a company delivery times. It takes me almost as long to pack and ship a packet of two washers as it does to ship a major item. Problem is the packet of two washers will earn me 40p minus overheads such as labels, envelopes, zip bags. Not just inform buyer that the order is being processed, I still have to open payment system, check payment is made, check address is correct, bag washers, put washers in envelope, print receipt, put receipt in envelope, print shipping label, fix shipping label, take to post office or post box, file shipping receipt and inform buyer the product has been shipped. And that doesn't include processing VAT either.
 


Kernowlad

Member
Paying ?5+ p&p for tiny items really annoys me.
Slow dispatch is annoying.
Overall it?s a bit behind the times.
 


ben tarrow

Active member
I think people will always vote with their feet so natural selection if you like. However I do think that is not good for the customer where there is a good shop which has poor online service. I guess the obvious way us buyers can influence them is to give them honest feedback! They will not change unless they realise it is hurting their business....
I tried to buy some wine making stuff at the weekend.
The one remaining homebrew shop in my town has gone to the wall.
The shops like Boots that used so sell the stuff dont anymore despite undercutting the homebrew shop and being partly responsible for their demise.
Sure, I can buy stuff on line, but I wanted to look at real stuff in a real shop and get the advice of an expert.
We all wail about the loss of the village shop, pub and postoffice whilst doing our shopping at the big superstore in the nearby town, or online.
When you're done with trying new bows in the archery shop and then buying online to save a few quid, then you want to upgrade and discover that that archery shop isnt there anymore and you can't try before you buy.
Look out archery. This is the future of archery shopping.
 


Whitehart

Well-known member
I think the big issue is how archery shopping has evolved in Europe over the last 10 years and the multitude of products and variants available today. At the last count there were over 100,000 products and variants of colour and size available to archers.

No archery dealer worldwide can stock 10% and many don't stock 1%. The model employed by many is to order in "to order" This means for fear of losing an order some list absolutely everything with the stock level of "available" and "just arrived" means just arrived at the distributors. So the impression of amazon without the infrastructure.

What we are losing with this model is the dealer being a specialist place to go (in store, over the phone, messaging text and email questions) to to get advice help, the knowledge that the dealer recommends the products they sell (you would be surprised at the poor build quality there is out there even with so called mainstream brands). Ultimately archery is the sum of all the equipment selected correctly, set up correctly and good form which leads to higher scores and greater enjoyment- I feel like other equipment based sports this is lost on many.

The benefit to the dealer of this commodity based model is cash flow, the benefit to the archer in this box shifting operation is price, but because items are not in stock a delay in processing orders and some dealers are from what I see at companies house struggling to break even.

What will happen if we leave the EU I don't know as 99% of all goods are shipped from the EU, given it can take 5 weeks to get a Angel delivery from Japan (2-4 days to ship 4 weeks in customs processing) perhaps dealers will have to adapt and carry more recommended stock. Where as now you can order on a Monday and receive the goods no later than Thursday of the same week.

Even distributors are cutting back on stock levels and struggle with this model and stock availability (the times bread and butter items are not available is increasing) as archery numbers are falling all over Europe.

We are now seeing clothing companies start to re open shops as shoppers are getting fed up with buying 10 items and returning 9 maybe the tide is turning.

Interesting times ahead.
 


chuffalump

Member
Archery shops still seem to be a 'family run' affair. Not literally but essentially. They aren't set up for efficient online shopping so your experience comes down to the people involved rather than the systems set up.

I'd be happy if the online shop fronts had accurate stock listings. One retailer has been very helpful but almost always rings me a day after the order to tell me that something isn't in stock. Others show what feels like everything as special order which at least gives you the choice of looking elsewhere.

In fairness, most of my orders happen on a Friday or weekend so it feels an age before dispatch. However, as long as archery is a relatively minor sport, even the big guys in the UK are still pretty small.
 


geoffretired

Supporter
Supporter
One of the main problems is the vast array of items for sale, all doing much the same job.
Some of the jobs they do are pretty simple( arrow rest for example) Yet look at all the different models and different prices.
We have been sucked into a situation; or have allowed ourselves to be sucked in. How can a cheap, plastic stick on rest, be as good as a ?200 model?
Stabiliser weights is another example.Why so many, and so many prices? Can an expensive weight work better than a cheap one?
Perhaps we are suffering from our own desires to over spend.
 


Emmadragon

Supporter
Supporter
I am generally happy with online services from archery stores. I've ordered custom built items and received them two days later, which was a very pleasant surprise, and conversely, when I ordered my new riser I had to wait about 4 weeks, which seemed an age. The only problem I had with that one was that I had to call twice to confirm when I might expect delivery - the online account just showed 'processing'. When I called, on the first occasion the shop person told me that he was waiting for a delivery from his warehouse, and that they were annoyingly slow; on the second occasion he was still waiting, but expecting the delivery on the Friday (I called on a Wednesday the second time). I don't mind waiting for items, even little things, as long as I know approximately when I can expect delivery, but I prefer that the supplier lets me know approximately what the wait time will be. So I do have preferred suppliers, who I know I can expect items from in less than two days, but there are some items which are only stocked by a very few suppliers, and I accept that the wait time might be longer for those.
 


LionOfNarnia

Supporter
Supporter
Here's an idea!

For big-ticket items that need ordered in, the shop doesn't take all your money when you order but accepts a (non-refundable?) deposit until they actually have the item in stock?
 


Kernowlad

Member
In my main sport of surfing, my boards are made to a precise spec by a guy that I surf with and have known for 30 years; online can?t replace that and I?d never buy a board that way.

But archery kit is mass produced; yes the sum of the parts has to fit but otherwise it?s the same stuff. And for me, the nearest shop is over two hours away so it has to be online.

But I almost always find the experience slightly frustrating.
 


mbaker74

Supporter
Supporter
Its only frustrating if you expect the delivery to be Amazonlike….
If you accept the reality, which is as WhiteHart stated,that shops can list a million items on their web site, and lay their hands onany of them relatively quickly, but it is not physically possible or practicalfrom a cash flow point of view, to stock 2 of everything. So when you order anything, apart from maybenocks, and even then there are so many different types and colours no shop mayhave them all in, assume the parts are ordered in from one of the main stockistwarehouses, so will add a couple of days on the delivery.
Your other option is to ring the shop directly, they cantell you if they have the parts on stock, and get them to you faster ifrequired.
I had this exact call with the Archery Shop, when the fingerspaced on my Soma saker tab broke three days before a 1440. One phone call andI had a new spacer in the post next day. They now get 99% of my custom, even if some items I have to wait a weekfor if im not in a hurry….

 


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