About 3 weeks ago I had a fantastic shopping experience and it happened at a large retailer. It’s something you never hear, right? I couldn’t WAIT for the store to open, I had absolutely no reason to go in, and I even made sure that part of my birthday was planned around going to this new store. The store is REI.
REI is an outdoor store, just like the million other outdoor/sports stores in the world. What makes it different? Jacksonville has stores like this all over the place such as Gander Mountain, Bass Pro Shop, Black Creek Outfitters, and even Dick’s Sporting Goods. I just can’t figure out why I would get so excited about this place.
Maybe it’s because they know what in the crap they’re talking about. Through and through their site shows you what they have, but it’s their knowledge that makes it awesome. The people that were in the store looked like they had fallen off a mountain or two. They were rough, friendly, and I was even a little jealous that they were working in retail. Yeah, I said it… It’s probably the fact that they offer amazing adventures for a reasonable amount of money is key. It’s not a website just showing you a bunch of expensive gear. It’s a tool to get you what you need and the store is a direct reflection of the site and vice versa.
The web has started to make the human interactive experience better, instead of trying to kill it. You can even read about this trend by clicking here and reading about Harry’s, a shaving company.
Harry’s, which is launching Wednesday, aims to do for shaving what Warby Parker did for glasses: provide a direct-to-consumer boutique experience for mass-retail prices.
And it’s doing it by getting out of it’s own way and not making you jump through hoops to find what you need.
I try and buy things online as much as possible. Amazon has pretty much won all of my business because walking into Best Buy or Wal-Mart just seems like a massive rip-off or pain in the heiny. This pretty much pertains to anything like electronics, media, or other random objects, but not so much for clothes/shoes. Wearables are just too hard to purchase online for me, but it’s where the coolest options are. It’s frustrating, but I bet it’s much easier in bigger cities where many of the stores are actually located nearby which is not the case for Jacksonville, FL.
I’m excited to see how the new stores spaces over the next few year are going to develop, but while I wait, I want to go on this bad ass trek to the Patagonia EcoCamp in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park.