Does that Deal Sound Too Good to be True? Maybe It Is!
Everyone likes a good deal. But sometimes, a “good deal” turns out to be “too good to be true”.
We heard a story recently about someone in Singapore who found himself “a good deal” on Tailwind Nutrition, via Qoolmart, an online marketplace that is notorious for advertising super-low prices, but often holds very little stock, which results in either months-long delivery times or eventual cancellation by the seller.
Why would Qoolmart do this?
The super-low prices attract bargain hunters who enter their details into their database, from which they can then be bombarded with marketing offers for the products the marketplace really wants to sell. Does it work? Sometimes.
But you may be wondering how we heard this particular story about a Tailwind purchase. Well, as it turned out, the product that was delivered had spoiled. Due probably to excessive exposure to heat and humidity, the Tailwind stickpacks arrived hard as a rock, not in usable condition. The customer complained to Tailwind (we’re guessing he had no luck complaining to the marketplace seller, because companies like that very rarely provide customer service …), which referred the case to us, as regional distributors.
As a gesture of goodwill from Tailwind, we’ve replaced the product (although it was not purchased from us), but we thought we would take advantage of what is known as a “teachable moment”.
Why should you buy (anything) from authorized retailers and distributors when you may be able to buy cheaper elsewhere?
First of all, authorized retailers and distributors stand behind the products they sell. When you buy a pair of shoes or a hydration pack or a GPS watch or some sports nutrition from Red Dot Running Company, we stand behind the product’s quality on behalf of the manufacturer. If something is wrong, we replace or repair the product and get you back on the road ASAP. As above, we’re betting the guy who bought petrified Tailwind via Qoolmart tried to get it replaced by the seller, but couldn’t. So he approached Tailwind USA (too embarrassed to approach us, probably). And because Tailwind is awesome, they cheerfully signed off on a replacement.
Perhaps more important, buying products of suspect provenance – especially nutritional products – can be dangerous. Imagine buying a dozen energy gels before a big race, in Europe, maybe, then finding out the hard way – mid-race – they had been improperly stored and had spoiled. Oops. In addition, super-cheap products available via unauthorized dealers may in fact be stolen goods, or factory seconds (i.e. defective goods that should not be sold). Double-oops.
Authorized distributors provide supply chain transparency and security, assuring customers that products are legitimate and covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Authorized distributors also provide warranty service, which in Singapore can mean a near-instantaneous product exchange versus a months-long and possibly expensive postal swap with a manufacturer in North America or Europe or Japan.
Unauthorized distributors and retailers mostly offer one inducement: (possibly) lower prices. And you know what they say: “You pays your money and you takes your chances.”
Final note: if you’re reading this, it’s almost certainly because you’re a Red Dot Running Company customer, and “get” who we are and what we’re trying to do. We try to thank our customers often, with the notes we put in with our shipments, and at the events we organize and sponsor (we hope to be getting back to that at some point!), but especially in this pandemic year, we feel we can’t thank you enough for your continued support. Thank you!