Surf test-ride makes splash
Newspaper article in The Mercury, June 18th, 2012....
You can test-drive a car before handing over your hard-earned cash, so why not test-ride a surfboard before you splash out on a new one?
To encourage shoppers to buy in-store rather than over the internet, Tasmanian surf chain Red Herring now has a 'try-before-you-buy' system for surfboards, giving surfers the chance to trial boards in different lengths, shapes and materials before committing to buy.
"People can't try a surfboard online, but they can with us," owner Victor Tilley said.
"This gives them a chance to test-drive one without laying down a lot of cash.
"It has been a total rethink about how we sell surfboards. Customers aren't taking as much of a punt now as they might have previously. And we've also changed our pricing structure to compete in the global economy."
Mr Tilley said the program, coupled with the company's new global pricing policy, had led to increased board sales.
With help from manufacturers and distributors, he'd like to expand it to include equipment such as wetsuits.
Australian Retailers Association Tasmanian spokesman Robert Parker, who is also general manager of Habitat homewares stores, said the program was a good example of a local business taking innovative steps to remain competitive.
He said in-store demonstrations, better customer service and increased product knowledge were other ways to entice customers to shop in-store.
"We need to be more innovative in how we engage customers, and make them feel comfortable and confident in buying locally," he said.
Photo: Red Herring's Erin Hortle with one of the boards available to try. Picture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES.