Surveys by Publications:
Footwear Insight Textile Insight Outdoor Insight
Consumer Survey
Consumer Q&A 1
Consumer Q&A 2
Consumer Q&A 3

Why They Buy What They Buy?

Cracking the code of why some consumers prefer to shop online and others prefer to shop in-store is a top priority for retailers. As the results of our latest outdoor consumer survey reveal, several factors play a part. These range from the personal preference of seeing, touching and feeling product in-store to reasons on the flipside, which include a preference by some to shop in solitude online, away from crowds and armed with the internet’s endless product options and  low prices. (See page 48 for verbatim replies from consumers on these topics). Outdoor consumers also were surveyed about their purchasing habits in footwear, apparel and equipment—why they buy what they buy, what end-use they intend for their products, and why they choose to shop at specialty stores. Eighty-percent of respondents say they shop at outdoor specialty stores. Seventy-eight percent say  if they can’t find a specific product in-store they get it online instead. Fifty-seven percent would be more likely to shop a store with a “buy online, pick up in-store” option. The survey included 221 outdoor enthusiasts, male and female, average age 39.
Where I Shop
I shop primarily for outdoor apparel and footwear at:
I shop for my apparel in one store, and footwear or gear in another.
How Often I shop In-Store vs. Online
If you purchase online, is the site affiliated with your favorite brick and mortar store?
If you shop in store and don’t find what you are looking for do you?
If a store offers the option to “buy online and pick up in store” would this make you more likely to purchase from that store?

What They Love About Shopping In-Store

During the survey Outdoor Enthusiasts were asked what they “loved” about shopping in stores. Their responses are below.

Ability to try things on, see the real color, texture, function of the item I’m interested in buying. Also, firsthand knowledge from employees that can give an honest opinion/review of the product. I can walk out same day with the product I want to buy.

Being able to actually try the items on for fit and comfort.

I can try it on.

Trying on the product, physically seeing, feeling, testing the product, and typically someone to help right away.

Feeling and testing product.

You can physically see the product and see how it feels or fits. I hate ordering a product online and being so sure that it would fit perfectly, but then I get it and it is too small.

Being able to handle/try on merchandise.

I can see the gear and try them on in person.

See products in person.

To be able to see and touch and try items on and get them right away.

Hands on experience.

When I need to pick something up on my way home it’s kind of nice.

Ability to see feel product and features.

Depends on the store, but, if it’s a store I like, I love that there are people to look at and talk to.  I like supporting local business.

Can touch the product and test first hand. Easier than having to do returns.

I can put me hands on an item before purchase.

Being able to try product on and also see the color/style in person.

Ability to try on.

Browsing and inspecting gear.

The fact that you can speak to the retailer. And you can look at details closely, the variety they have and just enjoy the day shopping.

Seeing, feeling, talking to people.

Being able to physically see and touch the products I want to buy.

Being able to feel and see the product.

Seeing goods and testing them out.

The fact that I am able to make sure that the product that I am getting is exactly what I want. Also I love that fact that I can go and brows items that I may have not ever seen before and try them out. The last thing I like being able to talk to professionals that often have great in site on the products I am looking at.

Local knowledge.  As an Alaskan, my needs with regards to outdoors gear are sometimes different than those of outdoors enthusiasts elsewhere.

Touching and trying on items.

Hands on feel of products, try them on, get a feel for the quality.

Being able to feel the fabric of an item & try it on.

In person I can tellthe quality much better than on-line, but it is very time consuming to visit brick& mortar stores.

Trying on the product.

The ability to touch and feel the products as well as browse. Often I am overwhelmed on websites when it comes to browsing, by the time I resort to online shopping I need to have narrowed my choice or item so I can search merely by that product. While shopping in stores I also look for deals and in enjoy how products are merchandised/displayed.

Being able to physical see and try the product.

Seeing, holding and most importantly - trying on the items like shoes and shorts.

I’m a visual and tactile shopper.

Being able to try on/test products to decide if they’re going to truly suit my needs before purchasing.

I love being able actually touch the product and be able to examine the quality and craftsmanship of the product.

Ability to handle the product to evaluate prior to purchasing.

I love being able to touch and feel fabrics before i purchase. Also being able to try on shoes and shirts is important to me.

The ability to see/feel the product and try it on right away.

The opportunity to gets hands on the product and discuss the product and my needs with the staff.

If I have the time I sometimes will find something I wasn’t shopping for. I like coming across deals that are not advertised.

I might find something that suits my needs better that what I initially intended to buy. You can tell quality and fit much better in person.

Trying on item.

Ability to see and feel the product, try it on if it’s clothing or footwear.

Interacting with actual people. Not sitting in front of a computer.

Finding a product I had not seen before and being surprised by the quality of that product.

Basically for the fact that you get to actually see what your buying and you dont have too wait days to receive it.

Instant gratification.

I like to look at styles and try things on. With online purchases it is often hard to match the right size.

I prefer to feel and touch items of clothing that way I know it fits but at times if I am familiar with a certain clothing or maker of clothing then I will continually buy it online.

Actually trying it on for fit.

Actually trying clothes and shoes on to ensure they fit before leaving the store.

Supporting a locally owned running store. Having quality expert help with picking my running shoes, inserts, socks and gear. The salespeople make a huge difference in the quality of my running program and how my body feels.

Being able to try stuff on.

The variety of brands and items in one place.

Being able to see, feel, and try on.

Ability to physically touch merchandise and test them.

The in hand merchandise and no wait time for shipping.

Being able to try the item on or touch and feel the gear to see what it is all about.

Actually able to see and touch items to determine quality before purchase.

The hunt for a good deal.

I love being able to try out and test products right there on the spot.  I need to touch, feel and experience what the product actually feels like.  I’m very particular about buying something without trying it on first.  This is only accentuated if that product is more expensive.  Shoes, shorts, shirts and jackets must fit perfectly and they only way to know that is by going to the store.  Store shopping is great for testing out new products, especially if I need something right away.

Being able to put my hands on the item in question, examine it for quality, size.

Being able to handle the items and/or try on clothing to verify sizing.

You can see the item and try it on. I also like to just browse.

Being able to see the products before are often misleading.

Seeing and trying on the item.

Being able to touch the product for inspection and fit.

Trying on items for fit; asking advice of salespeople.

I love being able to try things on/out. It helps me find exactly what I want and what will work best for me.

I like being able to see, touch and even try on the product (if applicable) before purchasing. Online photos can be deceiving or show limited detail. I like to feel the material, and weight, check the sizing, etc.

You can try fashions and see how they look in person rather than online.

Getting an in person experience with the product. Try it on, see how the product feels in my hands and on.

Being able to truly see and feel materials/treads/fits and compare them visually and in a tactile way to other items I’m considering.

I can have my questions answered and try things on before purchase.

Ability to hold/try on products, ask questions, and being able to take the item home right then.

Face to face interaction with store personal, the ability to try on products before you buy.

Able to try items on, or see things to confirm colors.

Opportunity to try on stuff.

I can try things on and make sure they fit properly.

Trying items on for fit.

Helpful assistance, testing products and seeing a lot of options.

Being able to touch the item. Being able to ask someone to know I’m making the right choice for my needs and offering “pro tips.”  Get it that day!

I love that I can feel the fabrics and try on the clothes to see if they fit me and my need.

Trying on the clothes to get the right fit. Also, Not worrying about getting deliveries since I do not have a doorman.

The way everything is layed out.

See the quality and sizing.

Human interaction and returns.

Seeing the product in person trying it on, easy returns.

Being able to try things on and actually feel and see the product. Website depictions aren’t always the most accurate.

Try on makes for less likely returns.

Touching the product and asking questions to associates who are knowledgeable.

It’s fun to see what’s there and find deals.

Trying items on, immediate availability.

The tactile sense I get from handling the product. I get to try it on, so I know if I take it home that it will work for me.

Hands on to try on to see if it fits and to see how durable the product is.

I am a sensory person, so I love feeling the product. I can usually judge instantly on the quality of the materials used and how it would wear throughout the years.

Being able to ask questions and compare items side by side.

Physically seeing and touching the product in person, making sure the product fits and is the quality I want prior to purchasing.

Product assortment, abllity to see a lot of product at my pace. Touch and feel.

Finding items I didn’t know I needed :)

Finding the best item out of all available.

There is only one reason why I Love shopping in stores- I get to try things on to know if they fit comfortably or not.

Trying on the new styles, since I’m petite. Once I know my sizes and brands/style for sure, I like to buy online.

Checking out all the new gear and being able to try on gear.

Hands on with products. Cannot feel or judge quality online. Walking through stores with wide selection makes it fun because there may be something I didn’t know would make my life easier in the field as opposed to online searches.

Not paying for shipping.

Don’t worry about returning because didn’t fit.

Finding the right size for footwear and apparel, checking for quality, get a hands-on feel for the product, easier returns if neccessary.

I like being able to discover things, to feel fabrics, fits and designs. I like being exposed to a larger gestalt of ideas, which makes me visualize my overall activity level, and how I’m going to efficiently use this gear for each activity. From trail running to road and mountain biking, to hiking and camping to supping and boating, being in a store that encompasses my bond to the outdoors is a comforting feeling.

I love to see the items in person to try on.

When I’m in the store I get to see the item in person, try it on and browse the displays for new ideas.

When it’s a good store that knows what they’re doing, to them it’s all about hospitality. Which makes the store feel like a friendly environment.

Being able to get the correct fit.

I like being able to see and feel the product up front. I know if it works, if it fits, if I like the appearance, and if it will work for what I need it for.

Fitting before buying.

Get product immediately. Able to touch feel and try before buying.

Being able to touch the product, try something on, see how it works with other gear.  Salespersons expertise about a product I’m unfamiliar with.

What I love about shopping in stores is being able to browse the products.

I like being able to try on gear and see how it feels before purchasing. It is easier to compare options when you physically hold them in your hands. It’s also helpful to be able to speak to the experts in the store about the products.

I like being able to try clothes on before I buy them. It’s so hit or miss with the fit when ordering online.

For specific items I prefer the store. This allows me to feel and try on the products. It also is great, if the staff is knowledgeable, to learn about new products and get feedback if I am trying to decide between two products. Although online can be cheaper most stores have great return policies if you end up trying something out and it doesn’t work as expected.

Talking with knowledgeable people and holding the items.

Seeing the actual item before you purchase it and being able to receive it immediately.

I enjoy touching the product and looking at it “in real life” to see if what I saw online is actually what I want. I also like shopping in stores because if I want to buy the product I get the instant gratification of having the product right then and there and not waiting for it to be shipped to me.

I love shopping in store to get out of the house and i can try on the clothes or items.

I like the ability to try on footwear and apparel.

You can actually see how things look like and real life and try them on. You don’t get that when shopping online.

New product and promotions.

Seeing the product, but seeing other products that I might like or want but wouldn't otherwise see.

Hands on for lots of products.

I like the ability to touch, feel and smell the product for myself.

You visually and physically see product and can try it on.

The shopping experience.

There is something about feeling the actual product that you are buying. You can also try on apparel to get the right fit and there are less returns when shopping in-store.

Being able to touch the products and feel the weight of the materials used. Seeing the real deal and being able to try things on is so much more satisfying.

Interacting with the product before purchase.

Browsing, can try things on, sometimes sharing knowledge or learning from employees.

I like being able to actually touch the product and I also like how quickly I can have it in hand.

Being able to check out items, touch them, try them on, see how products really look and fit. Everything that I can’t do shopping online.

Being able to try it on to make sure it fits, and to talk to experts about it.  It’s also fun to check ou new gear and technology by actually putting my hands on it.

Touching the product. seeing it. making sure the fit works.

Being able to try things on to see how they “fit”.

I can look at the product and evaluate it better to see if it will fit my needs better.

You can try on the product.  It’s a lot different in person than looking at a picture. I need to see the product first.

Do not love shopping in stores as much as I used to. But I do love when the stores have knowledgeable associates and someone who really wants to help the customer.

I see the products in person and get to decide if i wanna buy it or not.

Something to do to pass the time and if I urgently need something.

Window shopping.


What They Love About Shopping Online

During the survey Outdoor Enthusiasts were asked what they “loved” about shopping online. Some highlights from their open-ended answers are below.

Convenience and pricing, and typically speed as well.

It's easy.

Sometimes more variety, fast Shipping.

Price and Availability

I love the option to find the best price online. I also like online shopping because you can find anything on there. It’s pretty rare when I can’t find an item i need online.

No need to load up the kids!

The price and deals.

It's quick and easy and usually most affordable.

It's fast, MUCH cheaper (Sierra Trading Post!!!), I don't have to deal with long lines and terrible parking lots, shipping is usually free.

Wider variety.

No driving. No store hours to work around.

Greater variety. Convenient. Open 24 hours. Generally better pricing.

Convenience and ability to compare prices quickly.

Ease of browsing, time saving, free shipping.

Online shopping is convenient!!! I love the fact you do not have to stand in line, fight the crowd or try on several things. You just click and shop!! It's lovely!!! Returns are simple. Although, I never have to.

Total convenience. I live in a rural area with 1 small outdoor shop. Anything else becomes a days event. I’d rather do it online and not waste time driving to and from a store. I guess I’m not a real girl, I don’t love shopping.

Don't have to go out.

It’s easy and you can always find what you want.

I like the fact that I can often find things cheaper.

The ability to find niche products that might not be carried in stores and the ability to compare prices/features.

No hassles and dealing with other customers.

Fast &wider variety of products. Do not have to leave the house.

Not much as I would rather support locally.  However, if I can't find it local I can almost always find it online.

Again, I have to know specifically what I am looking for if I decide to venture online for my purchases.  Further, ease of check out, coupons and shipping.

Variety of products to choose from and compare.

Ease, if I can't find something. I live in a small mountain ski town.

Not having to drive the long distances to get to stores, not having to be around or deal with people.

I love the convenience and availability in range of products, living in a rural community my local stores do not always carry a wide selection.

The prices are usually lower.

Assortment of products available from different manufacturers.  Ability to look at reviews on the particular product instantly.

Cost is usually cheaper, color selections vary and additional sizes are more readily available.

The variety and ease. Once you know a product works or you like an item it's easy to buy multiples or replacements.

Convenience, more variety and competition lowers prices.

The ability to look at reviews, get shipping, compare products from different sources/manufacturers, etc.

I can compare the same gear on different sites. I can get more info and gear reviews.

Convenience & free shipping is a must.

Finding the lowest prices.

I work a full time job and often do not have time to get to stores during their hours of operation.  I usually shop online later in the evening.  I also enjoy being able to compare products and prices across retailers.

Avoiding a trip to the mall.

Shopping on line is convenient but I usually don't buy clothing because I like to try pieces on to see how they look.

Sometimes there are more discounts online than in the stores themselves. And also more of a selection online.

Convenience, if i know how it will fit i will get it online.

I like looking at multiple stores without wasting gas and time shopping for the best price.

Available sizes and the option for clothing in Tall for my long legs.

It is easy and delivered to my kitchen door.

Easier to find specific items quicker.

Quick and easier with unlimited options.

Convenience and no lines.

Variety is much better and rarely have to worry about stock.

Online shopping is great because of deals and discount codes.  If I know I like a product and the size is right, I'll go online to see if I could get it for a better deal.  I very rarely buy something new online, it's only to reorder something I'm familiar with for convenience and to save money.  If I don't know the item right away, I have no problems going online to buy something that I'll receive in a couple of days.

If it is an item i am familiar with or purchased before - the ease to click and ship. But what I don't like is not being able to really examine or inspect the item.

Wide selection of product and ability to get best prices.

Can shop at 3 am.

You can save gas and avoid the crowds.

Ease of doing it from home and can do reviews and research.

Ability to read reviews.

Easy, quick, no traffic or people to battle in stores.

The ease of it, the ability to find coupon codes for discounts, the fact that I never have to leave my house to order or return items, and the fact that I can usually chat online with a true gear expert who can answer my specific questions.

I can order from stores that are far away.

There is often a better selection, better prices, it is more convenient than driving to a store, and I am able to search thousands of reviews for a given item.

Online coupons.

Quick and easy, and i enjoy seeing the ups truck pull up with the goods.

Researching specifications and product reviews.  Sometimes I can find a similar product – not necessarily the brand or the unwanted features – for lower price.

Time saved, pricing items.

I like being able to pick something out and find the best price/color/options at any online store and then have it come in the mail.

EASY, any time, convenient.

Online, I primarily shop with the direct manufacturer. I enjoy being able to see their entire line, which is often not possible in a physical store. I've found the best service (returns, order tracking and history) is with the manufacturer directly.

Availability and variety of colors, sizes, and prices. It is much easier to compare between differing brands. I also will pull up youtube and search for reviews of the product while shopping.

Ease of purchase, content supporting product - more app to read, reviews, access to so many variations of a product.

I don’t have to leave my couch and it shows up at my door.

Ease of browsing anytime, easy returns without leaving my house if needed.

Free shipping.

EASY, no wasted time traveling to store, I can play outside instead :)

No pressure to buy by a salesperson and I can do it any time of the day. Often cheaper too of course.

Don’t have to talk to people.

Convenient. I don't usually buy clothes online unless I have tried the brand before and know the brand.

Prices are always favorable and return policy is good.  Easy to find correct size and preferred colors, etc.

Ease of use if I know exactly what I want.

Often lower prices, less or no sales taxes, sometimes finding alternative products I was aware of...

I enjoy discovering a product and learning about it online. I can watch videos on it to see if it's something that I might use.

I can still buy what I need when I don't have time to go into the actual store.

The prices are hard to beat. I also love the variety of options online, whereas it is usually more limited in store.

Able to get something that is not available in stores, like a previous year's product/color or product no longer carried by merchant/manufacturer.

What I love about shopping online is being able to avoid the lines of traditional brick and mortar stores and quick and easy check out.

Price Comparison, knowing what else is out there. I'm always up to try some new type of item (especially shoes).

Quick, easy, choose from.

Simplicity of not having to run all over town to find an item.

I love the range of styles and sizes. So often brick-and-mortar stores are sold out of styles or colors; this seems to happen (somewhat) less likely online. I also like that I can shop anytime, without making a special trip to the store.

Convenience, however I am hesitant sometimes over sizing.

Shopping online is always convenient. I use online stores more for items I am purchasing again or non apparel items for outdoor use. Sometimes online can be cheaper.

Not limited to stock of one single store. Can compare prices to other sites/stores easily.

I like shopping online because many times you can find a better deal from a retailer online than in person. Plus you get to see a wider variety of products versus what may be available in store.

It's the widest selection and if you don't care about being a return customer to any one website, you're always going to find a cheaper price for that thing online.

Its convenient and sometimes cheaper.

Much faster, more efficient search, zero human interaction, don't have to spend time driving to the place and back. Also very often online deals are better.

Can get the model, size, color and exactly what I want.

Sometimes I don’t have time to go to the store.

It's much more convenient with my schedule.

That it comes to my door within any effort.

The anonymity.

You have more variety and more time to get what you are looking for and get better pricing.

When I know what I need I can get to it right away and purchase without hassle. It is usually cheaper than driving to a local store also.

So convenient. No waiting in lines most times shipping is free.everything is in stock and there are more sales offers for better price.

Endless variety of options.

No waiting in line at cashier.

Usually cheaper and convenient.


Selection variety, which most stores can not provide.

Its very convinient, save time and save with coupons.

Better prices and selection, sales.

Options and pricing.


What makes a retailer great?

During the survey Outdoor Enthusiasts were asked what they “loved” about shopping online. Some highlights from their open-ended answers are below.

Ready stock of quality items available. Knowledgeable staff puts it over the top.

They aren’t pushy sales people.

The variety as well as product that is beneficial and reliable to the customer.

They actually use the products, so they have real knowledge of how they work and what is best. They have items that are practical, not just selling points.

I enjoy retailers that have a big selection of different clothing items, and options. I also like the retailer to be competitive in pricing. I used to enjoy shopping at cabelas, but now I hardly go there because it was usually 10% higher priced than other sporting goods stores.

Variety and value.

Good prices, quality and reputation.

If they have a big selection at the best comparable prices.

Staying out of politics, carrying quality brands, giving back to the community, sales, parking lots that don’t suck.

A variety of products, specialty ordering, a good website, friendly personable knowledgeable associates.

Friendly, patient, knowledgeable staff. Extremely helpful when they are assigned to a department in which they have personal experience. Willingness on the part of the store to order products that they don’t have.

Variety. Knowledgeable staff. Comparable prices.

Good across the board selection and great prices!

Sellers of high quality, environmentally and socially responsible gear and apparel with friendly and knowledgeable gear heads.

Complete knowledge of every product you ask the retailer about.  The retailer knows exactly where to find what you’re looking for and offers the best and latest product out along with any sales or promotions. The retailer will also ask you several questions about what you do. Running, hiking, etc. to help them better understand what you’re looking for.

People that “look the part” at what they’re selling. Like at an outdoor store, the sales person should actually model the sport by what they wear. You can hike in a suit, but would you?

Shop for all my outdoor needs in one place.

Choices in quality.

By having all the goods I could ever want for my outdoor needs.

One that dose its research on quality equipment and then provided the quality and not just anything they find. Also if they are able to have lots of different styles of equipment for me to pick the bet match for my outdoor activity.

Knowledge of their gear and the needs of their customers is paramount.  Having good selections and fair prices helps, but local knowledge trumps a good deal.

Selection, price & knowledgeable employees.

Someone who understands the products and has suggestion based on experience.

A store sells a good variety of quality products with a highly knowledgable staff who also wears & uses the equipment. A retailer who helps provide information on how to best use the product & provides tips to have a better outdoor experience is the one I choose to give my business to.

Multiple brands available, knowledge of those brands, great pricing.

Attention to detail with regards to merchandise selection, not over assorted. Too many choices can hinder the story the brands are trying to tell as it gets too cluttered and the message becomes diluted.Often it is difficult to narrow the selection as it becomes increasingly more difficult to find/compare products. On top of this quality of the products offered and the interaction with the staff. Avoid sales pitches, but engaging staff who wants to help provide insights and share experiences without overpowering the conversation, can talk the talk and not be overly opinionated on what brands they prefer. Ability to sell to every level of user.

Knowledge of sales associates with the equipment or gear, pricing, and rewards benefits.

Good staff on the floor that are KNOWLEDGEABLE, not BS artists.

An informed sales person.

Quality, useful products at reasonable prices.

The staff should be knowledgable about the products they carry. They should be able to easily make product comparisons across brands. The best retailer’s have staff that have actually used the gear/clothing that they are selling.

Fair prices, good customer service.

Product selection, employee availability to explain products, try product on. Return policy.

High end outdoor apparel, selection.

The variety of goods to browse and the knowledge ofthe staff to help purchase the correct items.

Wide variety of options in brands, fit, and prices.

The range of products offered and the knowledge and ability of the staff to help you reach a decision on what product best fits you and your intended use.

They know and use the gear they sell. I actually come across some of the sales people in the field using the gear.

I like local retailers that stand behind their products, if there is a problem with quality.

Knowledge on how to use all the products and ability to advise what to buy and what not to buy based on what i am looking for.

Excellent customer service and knowledgeable sales staff.

Tight, curated assortment with consistent sizing.

Having reliable gear and not lying to you.

Large selection of the gear I am looking for and the knowledge/experience of the staff. We have an excellent outdoor sport retailer in Burlington, VT and it is clear that the staff are all outdoor enthusiasts who know the gear. A good retailer to me has the gear I like and am familiar with, but also has comparable gear from brands that are new to me. I trust a retailer that lives what they sell. The other outdoor retailer I shop at in town has great prices, which I love, but I would not go there seeking professional advice about the gear.  Expertise in equipment and a large selection with a fair price is my ideal retailer.

Having different categories of different brands and items.

Great selection, knowledgable friendly staff, competetive prices.

Variety of clothing and shoes with lots of sizes to choose from.

Gear that will perform and people who know how to use the gear.

Rewards discounts and/or points that are earned for buying items either online or at a store.

Section, organization of inventory, helpful staff.

They are a local family owned business.

When they have the brands I love! When the store is neatly organized into brands do items are easy to find.

Friendly but even more important they know what they are doing.   Through with analyzing my gait, my running habits and know brands to recommend.

Good sales, good inventory.

Easy to find merchandise, and has sales people that are both helpful and knowledgeable.

Face to face interactions assist in profile choice.

Quality merchandise and affordability as well as backing products they sell.

Great prices, variety of products, knowledgeable staff.

Not over priced, variety of stock, reputation, customer service.

They need to offer lots of options but high quality options.  My favorite outdoor store is REI because they have a great selection of high quality productions, plus they have an excellent return policy.

Proven gear at reasonable prices.

In general customer service goes a long way.

Great selection, competitive pricing, helpful and knowledgeable staff and easy exchanges.

Awesome customer service, as they commonly are more than online prices. Secondly return policy is paramount.

Service and prices.

Knowledgeable experienced staff who regularly engage in the outdoor activities you are shopping for OR who are experts in those sports; selection of top performing items.

They have great customer appreciation. They are willing to work with a customer if a product has a defect, and they listen to and understand what the customers want when they create new gear.

Good selection, fair prices and a knowledgeable staff.

Their diversity in products and options.

Balance of price and knowledge.

Customer service, knowledge of product and ability to make recommendations.

A wide selection of items at Amazon-competitive prices, with knowledgeable staff who have tried/tested/learned about the products they’re selling, so they can help me make the best decision possible. A “warranty” or satisfaction guarantee, like Moosejaw has where they accept returns up to a year later if the item is not to your liking, are also a huge incentive for me to give a brand my loyalty.

It is a one of a kind store with excellent customer service and knowledgeable staff.

Great variety of products and prices and friendly, knowledgeable staff.

To have not only great products but extensive knowledge of the products to accurately inform the customer. Gear is only good if you know how to use it correctly.

Curated options, sells items from small gear companies  not found at larger stores.

Customer service and product based knowledge.

Helpful associates, clean stores, and quick service.  Reasonable return policies are also a must!

Employees that know their business, REI would be a good example, if you work in bicycles you’re probably an avid cyclist.

Helpful employees.

Lower-than-MSRP and wide selection.

Selection and Pricing are the primary factors in my opinion. Availability of sales/clearance/deals is another factor that sets great retailers apart from the rest.

A retailer who can recommend based on the activity as well as give insight to specific pros and cons of an item. Someone well informed and helpful.

Convenience. How the staff interacts with me. Selection. Price.  Consistency.

Having a broad range of quality products.

You get to try on apparel, so availability of merchandise is important.

Wide range of options available in all sizes, smart and engaging staff.

They have everything you need.

Knowing your shopper.

Selection and prices, I usually do my own independent research.

Good reputation, quality products, and warranty.

Quality of service, variety of product.

First-hand experience with a product.  And, if a salesperson doesn’t have experience to bring me to another sales associate who does.

Competitive pricing & knowledge of products.

Their return policy and prices. It’s nice if I can try something out and return it if it doesn’t perform well.

Specialized products, knowledgeable staff,  easy to navigate, unbeatable prices.

Deep knowledge of the performance/technical needs for an activity and I like having a low, mid, and high range option. I also like a high-performance standard for what the retailer carries, so any price level I know I am getting good value. This is especially important if they carry brands I am not familiar with.

Knowledge and have to be nice to customers. Assortment of products to choose from.

To me, a great retailer stands behind their product. The materials and craftsmanship used for the item is very important to me. I think that USA made is a bonus and when able retailers should source accordingly. An item of clothing or gear is more interesting to me if the retailer can give a story or a personal account as to why it works so well for them.

Knowledgeable employees, quality equipment and gear that is easy to find.

Variety, knowledgeable employee’s, organized and clean store.

Product offfering, how product is displayed, knowledge of staff/access to product information online, reviews for better or worse, competitive pricing.

Good selection of products and employees that know the details of those products and preferably have experience using them.

Wide variety of items that I can get easily in my size, without having to order.

Good selection, customer service, and return policy.

Prices and standing behind their products are the most important things!

The Customer Service and style of clothes.

They have my size in stock, sales and coupons.

Diverse selection of brands.

Large variety of products, good prices (even if it means only shopping the sale rack), quality products, knowledgeable staff that are available for questions and not hiding away from customers.

Variety, easy to get to, sales.

Good varied selection in my sizes and friendly helpful staff.

Their complete knowledge of the gear, performance of their gear, and how everything will withstand the conditions.

I think some of the small local retailers are more helpful and knowledgeable about the products and the area.

Customer service. If they answer questions but don’t try to push their products on me and don’t pressure me to buy, then I’m actually more inclined to support their business over someone who clearly just wants to make a buck.

Wide selection, knowledgeable staff.

Helpful, they understand your need and the products performance.

Knowledge, options, interest in the sport.

Variety of brands, availability of items, and price point. Often times the local retailers are over priced.

Knowledgeable, wide variety of products and prices to choose from, FRIENDLY staff. Too many staff of companies are overly prejudice towards certain products and really it comes down to personal preference on most items.

To be able to explain things about the product and having a lot of knowledge about the product.

Rotating inventory. Seasonal merchandise. Knowledgeable staff.

Product knowledge, no pressure sales technique.

Knowledge of products, good quality, reasonable prices.

They have great customer service and know their products.

Quality of selection, knowledgeable staff and good return policy.

When they have a variety of quality items at reasonable prices. They also should have a good website with good shipping options.

Helpful employees.

Organized display.

Having employees that know what they’re talking about  and having a good selection of products.

Helpful staff that ask questions about how I use equipment and have knowledge of fit.  A great retail experience makes it easy to find what I’m looking for through merchandising.  I also prefer an environment that feels welcoming for all levels of ability (not judgy or exclusive).

Knowledge in the product.

Product knowledge, user credibility, character/culture.

Quality of merchandise, good selection of brands, (high end, moderate price), good selection of sizes, and helpful/knowledgeable staff.

In this time of people moving into the ‘ordering online’ behavior, I personally try to get everything I can from a brick and mortar store. Even if I find something online, I’d rather buy it, try it on, talk to a sales person about the product. So much can be learned by doing this that I find it better to judge a products worthiness by talking to a sales rep who is in most cases an avid user of the gear like me. A retailer understands that there are still people like me who need that connection physically and mentally. They also know that customer happiness is important. This is why I don’t shop at Walmart, for example.

When they can recommend me the best equipment for various outdoor activities.

Plenty of designs and styles available. Large displays and friendly knowledgeable sales people.

Knowledge of staff and the quality of product that suits my specific needs.

A big selection.

They put aside money and time, and focus on the customer needs. I work at a bike shop and one of the brands we sell has and education site that has videos on sales. One of the things it mentioned was that in any store, there’s a story about a hero. But the hero’s not the sales person. The customer is the hero, and the sales person is their guide through their quest.

Knowledge of the merchandise and selection.

Salesman that know the product and the task.

Variety of products, helpful staff, good return policy, competitive pricing.

The knowledge of the activity and the local area and how it is applicable.

Assortment and size availability.

Lots of knowledge, decent inventory, competitive prices.

Variety of options, availability of sizes/color options and staff that is attentive and knowledgeable.

What makes a great retailer is having exceptionally knowledgeable staff and a nice inventory of items to meet all sorts of needs.

They know their customers, have a thorough knowledge of all their products and the skill level of customer they are appropriate for, and they carry a variety of products, but not an overwhelming variety.

Customer service, variety of brands to choose from. Great prices.

Fair prices.

That they have experts to help when I’m making a high-cost specialty purchase. I want to trust the sales person and where I go (REI) I totally trust them.

They have more to offer. More likely to have a big sale. More sizes and colors.

Selection and product knowledge.  Everyone who works at the store participates in outdoor activities so they are users of the gear & apparel they sell.

Good quality products, good selection, knowledgeable staff and product guarantee.

Good selection at affordable prices, pleasant shopping atmosphere (well laid out, clean, well lit), knowledgeable sales associates who are available to help but let me be if I want to browse.

Appropriate customer service, selection, and items in stock.

Going above and beyond.

I believe it is two part. The product itself has to perform and withstand everything it is meant for. Also, the company itself either needs to be contributing to the environment in a specific way or back their product so well that warranties, repairs, and returns are easy.

Knowing their customers needs.

Quality brands and wide variety for specific hobbies. Think REI instead of Dicks.

Understanding of the product and how to put the item to use. Also selection available between brands, styles, etc.

Affordable selection and a knowledgable sales staff that’s not going to be judgy if I want to try stuff on then go find the lowest price online.

Excellent employees to help when needed . Also to have a variety of items to choose from.

Good selection of high performance gear, footwear and apparel.  I typically research before I go, so knowledgeable sales staff is less important.

Good products at a good price with knowledgeable staff.

Great value, knowledgeable staff.

Staff with like minded interests and experience, good selection, sales and ability to special order.

Customer service, great selection, and knowledge about the product.

Provides a wide variety of clothing and shoes in various degree of performance.

Reviews from customers, variety of great gear and if online free shipping and free returns.

Knowledge, product selection, competitive pricing.

How they pay attention to their customers.

Friendliness, knowledge of products.

Knowledgeable, helpful, good prices, convenient location, offers on line shopping.

A great retailer is in touch with its client base, modifying and making changes as needed to remain vital and up to date.

You have more options compared to local stores they might not carry everything you need and can also be more expensive.

Variety, knowledge of salesperson, availability of my size (plus size).

They must have variety and if they have the merchandise I need in stock and in the sizes I need. If an associate is available to answer any questions I may have to help me make an informed purchase is a huge factor to me.

Having selection and people who know the product!

Broad selection of choices and informative sales people who use and wear the gear.  Believable and realistic feedback as a result.

Their knowledge of specific end-use and product knowledge.

They have a lot of knowledge about the products and they don’t follow you around the whole time you ads shopping.

Honest and knowledgeable staff, that acts like they don’t care if you buy anything or not. Good selection of quality gear/clothes.

Knowledgeable staff that can assess a customers needs and point them in a direction that will satisfy all of their needs/wants. The assortment of product should also be good and offer good, better, best options.

There is enough staff that you can find someone free or if not free, close-by where they can help you after they finish with another customer (Apple and REI are both great in this). You can both see the color and fit options and then try on your size. Store makes sense. Great return policy. Free shipping.

Customer Service and good product selection.

Having knowledgeable staff.Having a great selection and always in stock.cooperative pricing and higher quality goods that last longer and can take the rugged outdoor use daily.

Knowledgeable friendly staff that is willing to help.

Good selection, helpful and knowledgeable sales people. Plnty of in stock products and the ability to check out as quickly as possible.

Good selection. Knowledge of their product.  Real world knowledge, not just what the manufacture states. I want the salesman to have used the product or has at least known people that have used the product.

Being able to try on multiple sizes and types.

Having a varied selection, but most importantly knowledgeable associates.