Mk 361 - Whitewater Kayaking Industry

Thursday, April 24, 2008


One part I touched on in another post briefly was how the internet helps with the retailing of kayaks. Although there is no way to buy one online due to tremendous shipping charges (I've shipped a kayak from Boston to Richmond and lets say it wasn't cheap,) the internet does help the purchasing process. It provides a great place to gather up information all the different brands, the company's style representation, their different boats, the volume, length, weight, colors, and rocker of each boat. Potential customers can use a side by side comparison matrix to evaluate the different boat models. Several sites also have personal reviews and ratings for each boat, allowing customers to hear what people are saying about the boat after they have purchased it and paddled in the boat for a while. Although you cannot actually purchase boats, the internet allows customers to 'shop' around through different retailers for the best price, or the best package deal they can get for their money.

Problems Arise

The problem with boating is that for the most part once you buy your boat, you're own your own. And if you're like a lot of people, you didn't buy your boat from a dealer, you bought it second hand, or third or fourth etc. Its just you and your boat. Sure there used to be a guarantee on the boat until the adhesive came off underwater. The problem that plagues most kayakers is post-purchase issues, questions and even comments. When you buy a car and have a question you go to the dealer, when you buy a kayak at a garage sale you go to the internet. Most major kayak companies are aware of the number of times a boat is resold, and can adapt their website to help each person during the transitions. The internet enables companies to put links up for every type of question, you can get your own Owners Manual, learn ways to clean the individual boats, how to transport it and find out exactly what the warranty is on the boat. And because there is no limit to shelf space on the internet, they don't have information on just the current boats, but years of discontinued boats (that are the ones at garage sales.) All of this helps the customer after their purchase, and restores faith in some companies that have been lost recently, due to the "you bought it, now its your problem" attitude.

for an example of this customer service click here

Kayaking Kontent

The Internet also helps play a pivotal role in kayaking instruction. Or rather, self-instruction. With more people on the internet, having more connection points to the internet, and the internet being faster than ever, it allows kayakers to post content they never could have before. Part of this is kayak instruction. Rather than looking through a magazine and still frame photos of how to do the different paddle strokes or boof techniques, paddlers can now make online videos and share them for free with anyone who has an internet connection. Although these instructional videos have been available for purchase on VHS or DVD, posting instruction on the internet offers more. For instance it can keep up with change, if I bought a VHS instructional video a few years ago, I wouldn't be able to watch it now because I don't have a VHS player. The internet also has no production limit, DVDs have only a few hours of content on them, the internet will never stop.