Friday, March 31, 2017

Supporting a Healthy Disc Golf Market

There have been a few questions and concerns brought up lately regarding the Dynamic Discs auction page on Facebook, “cherry picking” in the warehouse, and the Dynamic Discs online store. It is time to help everyone understand the reasons and motivation behind each so that we can all better understand the Dynamic Discs operation.

First of all, Dynamic Discs started out back in March of 2005 as an eBay store only. A couple of years later, thanks to the help of one of my best friends, Adam Searle, who is still with the company today, the eBay store started to merge over to an actual online store. We built a massive and diverse customer base by placing an emphasis on customer service, immediate order turnaround, and a diverse product offering. We sold almost all major manufacturers and spent a significant amount of money on advertising to make sure that customers would find our website and hopefully turn into loyal customers.

December 2012 came, and we added a new category of discs to the website, Dynamic Discs. The Fugitive, Judge, Trespass, and Escape sold alongside the other manufacturers, and we didn’t know whether other manufacturers would continue to let us sell their products on our website. That day never came, but we made the decision in March of 2014 to no longer sell discs from anyone other than Dynamic Discs, Latitude 64, and Westside Discs. It was a difficult decision to make and one that confused our customers because they still wanted to rely on us to get everything that they needed.

Some criticized us for competing against our very own retailers who were trying to push, promote and sell our products. We started out as a retailer, and we made the decision that we never wanted to go away from that as we had too many customers to cater to. It isn’t uncommon for a manufacturer to sell their own products on their own website. In fact, most manufacturers that you see will sell their own products through their own channels and it will be done to support the full MSRP. These websites actually serve as a way for the customer to discover or learn about the product and then make a purchasing decision from there. Often times, this purchasing decision is to buy it at the cheapest place possible. You will not find that Dynamic Discs is the cheapest place online for a majority of our products.

In January of 2015, we made the bold decision to sell at full MSRP to better support our other retail partners who were trying to find ways to sell our products. Overnight we became the highest priced online store in disc golf. YIKES! We certainly lost customers, but knew that we needed to better support a healthy online retail market and our retail partners. With that said, our large customer base remained loyal because they came to rely on our customer service and passion to grow the sport.

Dynamic Discs and Dynamic Distribution are two separate and independent companies. They are both located in Emporia, Kansas, but are different business operations with different employees, different buildings, different tax ID’s, etc. Dynamic Discs operates much like any other retailer and purchases products from Dynamic Distribution. There are certainly advantages with Dynamic Discs and Dynamic Distribution being in the same town and the lines of communication being so open. Dynamic Discs is, in fact, the largest customer of Dynamic Distribution and does significantly more volume than any other retailer.

So what does all the above mean and boil down to? Dynamic Discs does significant business through our online store because we have spent 12 years building this business and invested millions of dollars into making sure that we built the infrastructure and established a loyal customer base. We aren’t just going to give this away overnight as we have worked way too long and way too hard to not continue this operation. Despite all that, we just flat out like serving our customers and work our butts off to make sure they receive excellent service!

Long story short, the Dynamic Discs online retail store isn’t going anywhere and is taking on a new facelift as we speak to improve on everything that we have already established. You can see the new website now, and you will notice that DynamicDiscs.com and DynamicDiscs.net are both the same website.

Now to the Facebook auction concerns as this seems to be the biggest concern or issue that we continue to hear. Eric McCabe started up the Dynamic Discs auction page on Facebook about two years ago as a way for Dynamic Discs to get the true collector pieces out and available to the disc golf collector market. There is no such thing as a collector market if the collector pieces are not available and/or the information or story about the product is not there for the collector to understand.

McCabe started this auction page while he was transitioning from a touring professional and world champion disc golfer into a world-class course designer. A very small portion of the revenue generated from the page went to McCabe as a way to keep him employed at Dynamic Discs. The larger portion of the revenue is used to fund the Dynamic Discs events and the Dynamic Discs Team. We spend a lot of money on our events and our team players who we believe are responsible for driving the marketing and promotion of the Dynamic Discs brand. If Dynamic Discs doesn’t have a brand that is desirable and highly sought after, then there is no profit for the retail stores to make because our products just sit on the shelves. We believe firmly in the fact that our growing team and our growing promotions through our events are the fuel that fires the brand. Of course, there are many other factors that go into building a brand but these relate directly to the auction page.

So what is all the fuss about then? The Dynamic Discs auction page sells an average of 5-10 discs per day. 1-2 of these are a cool or unique swirl plastic blend, and the others are some sort of disc golf collector item that is too rare or specific to sell in other avenues. Selling these rarities is the only way that they can become available to the collector market and provide a chance for anyone interested in owning the disc. It is the only way that there is a collector market and the only way that a value can be established for a specific product. Some of these items sell for way above what I would consider market value and some sell for considerably less than what I would consider market value. The customer is solely the one who places the price on the disc and establishes the ‘value.'

We have a lot of eyes watching the DD Facebook auction page. We have paid a lot of money to raise awareness for the page, and we have worked hard to make sure that we share some of the pieces of the DD history book on the page. One could say that I’m selling my personal collection to help raise some capital to improve our events and provide for our sponsored players. I believe that these events and our sponsored players have created a more desirable DD brand that has brought more profits to your business operation.

We have sold some items a week or so ahead of the official release date and use this as a way to build awareness for the new releases and drive traffic directly to your store. These are the very same new releases that you are profiting from in your store and we believe that the selling of one disc will not turn the disc golf market upside down.

So what about the “cherry picking” of unique and swirl discs? We typically sell one or two of these each day and are certainly not clearing out all the availability of the warehouse. If you look at the Dynamic Discs store, you won’t find a single unique swirl disc, yet the DD store is by far the largest customer of Dynamic Distribution. Does it not make sense for Dynamic Discs to receive a unique swirl disc or two out of the massive amounts of discs that the store orders? I can promise you that Dynamic Discs receives less unique discs than others when comparing on a percentage of discs purchased. These unique swirl discs typically sell for more on our page because we have such a large and captive audience.

It is challenging to get swirl or unique discs to our retail customers who are getting discs shipped because there are so many retailers that visit the warehouse on a daily or weekly basis and these discs are certainly the ones that get picked first. In all reality, there just aren’t all that many of these unique items at this time but we are trying to find a way to increase the availability as we know there is a demand for these. Please rest assured that Dynamic Discs and Truly Unique/Derek Broockerd are not the only ones that get the unique discs. Each day 1000’s of discs are restocked on the shelves from boxes that have never been opened. If there are unique discs discovered in the box, they simply go on the shelf and get pulled with stock orders or picked up by retailers who come and visit the warehouse.

We do not have any intentions on changing our warehouse visitation policy. We love having our retailers and customers visit, and we love the relationships that are formed when we meet people face to face. We have always been open and transparent, and I believe that is one of the things that makes our company great. We hire amazing people and look forward to showcasing our staff to our customers. I think it is very important that our staff has the chance to get to know our customers on a personal level. I hope everyone that took the time to read this will make an attempt to see our operation one day.

We are doing everything that we can to help the brick and mortar locations succeed. The trend in retail today is more online than ever before. Companies like Amazon are slowly taking large chunks of business from local shops. It is occurring in all types of business, and it is going to be very difficult to counter. I believe disc golf is best experienced in person and hope to find more ways to keep this alive.

We developed a Buyback program that is designed to give the end customer a new experience with finding the right disc at no risk to them. The customer can try out our plastic for 14 days and make sure it is the right one. If they are not satisfied with the disc, they can bring it back and try another disc at no charge. They can do this as many times as they need to find the right disc for them. That experience can only be found at a Buyback location. We offer Buyback retailers exclusive discs one month before the First Run becomes available. The customer has to actually travel to a Buyback retailer to have access to these new special edition discs.

We see tremendous value in our brick and mortar locations because most of us disc golfers love to touch and feel the plastic in person. We love the discussions that take place in our retail stores. We love the service our retailers provide to the disc golf community. Helping players find the right disc will ultimately increase the enjoyment of the game and keep us all in business for the long haul. Most disc golfers, including myself, have experienced buying the wrong disc and knew it on the first throw. It doesn't make us feel great about the brand on the disc, the retailer it was purchased from, and didn't help our game. This program was designed to connect the dots between the customer and the retailer and our brands. By giving the customer a soft place to land when the wrong disc is purchased gives us an opportunity to gain a customer for life. We want our customer for life to have that connection with our retailer and offer a new experience in our industry.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope that it provides even more insight to the “why” of some of the things that you may have found to be in question about what we are doing. We appreciate the opportunity to serve you and love putting our passion into growing the sport that we all love so much!

Jeremy Rusco
Owner & Founder
Dynamic Discs
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