Buying a snowboard is a big deal – you are likely to have the board for several years so it’s worth putting in the effort to get it right.
But is it better to buy a snowboard online or in person?
The answer to online or in person for most products is often in favour of “in person if you can” but online for convenience. In the case of snowboards I believe it’s better to buy online – for a few reasons which I will go into below.
There are pros and cons for each but as a whole I side with online.
I don’t believe this is the case for snowboard boots (as it’s really important you try them on) but that it is better for snowboards.
The Pros and Cons of Buying Online
O.k. so let’s take a look at the pluses of buying online first.
Buying Online Pros
- Free Delivery
- No Hassles from sales staff
- Search Filters
There is a massive selection to choose from online. You can search out and find basically any snowboard on the market.
And not only can you find all of the various brands and models you can also usually find your size. If it’s not in the first online store you look in, it will likely be in one of them. The consumer is boss online.
You don’t have to leave the house to do everything.
You can research everything online, order online and have the snowboard delivered to your door. Easy!
And since a snowboard isn’t something you can try on there really isn’t any advantage to going from store to store trying to find the right board. You might want to try out a couple of boards on the mountain on a demo day – but then you can still buy online rather than trying to find a store with that board in stock.
You can’t get reviews in a physical store.
Online you can usually find several reviews about any particular board.
And you can usually find a host of both professional reviews and user reviews online so that you can get a feel for what the board is like and how others found it to ride.
Whilst not always the case, most online stores offer free delivery on orders over a certain amount of dollars spent. This minimum spend is normally around $50-$100 and you are going to spend more than that on a board.
And if one store you look in doesn’t do free delivery search for the next store – it’s as easy as a Google/Bing search away.
No Hassles from Sales Staff
I don’t know about you but I can’t stand being hounded by sales staff trying to make a sale when I’m in store. I feel pressured into buying and don’t feel like I get enough of a chance to think about and weigh up my options.
You can take as much time as you like in an online store and visit several online stores quickly and easily.
Most online stores will have a place to leave questions and they will get back to you pretty quickly and some even have live chat where you can ask questions. So you if you do have questions about something they still get answered – and there are plenty of other places online (like this website!) where you can do research and learn about what to look out for in your board.
Which moves me onto the next point.
One potential downside to buying online could be that you miss out on the expertise of the sales staff.
This just isn’t an issue anymore – there is so much information available online on just about every snowboard you can imagine – you’ll never be short of expertise when buying online.
Yes, some of that information is better than others, but the same can be said of staff in a physical store – one may be great but the other may not know what they’re talking about and lead you to the wrong purchasing decision. Or worse, knowingly sell you something they know isn’t suitable just to get their commission.
Searching online is a lot easier and faster.
You can filter your search by a whole host of different things, depending how the online store is setup, including but not limited to:
- Riding Style
And a bunch more too.
The price online is almost always cheaper than in a physical store.
And this is for a couple of simple reasons.
Firstly, an online store doesn’t have to pay rent on a physical store or all the other costs that go with a physical store – electricity, communication, fitout etc.
Secondly, online stores don’t have the same staffing requirements.
These lower overheads mean lower prices to the customer.
Buying Online Cons
O.k. now let’s take a look at some cons to buying online.
- Width Measurement
- No Delivery fees (if you have transport)
You can certainly estimate the width of a snowboard at the inserts (where your feet are going to be) based on the waist width of the board (snowboard companies only publish the waist width not the width at the inserts) but this isn’t as accurate as measuring it for yourself.
Whilst I do consider this a con of buying online and certainly a pro of buying in a physical store, it does have its limitations.
Firstly, sales people won’t generally measure this for you unless you ask – and even if you ask they will probably tell you it’s unnecessary. If you are someone who is fussy about the width of the board then they are going to try to make you less fussy to make the sale. The more fussy you are the less likely it is that they will find a suitable board in store for you.
Secondly, because you’ll probably feel a little bit silly taking your own tape measure in store – if you don’t then that’s great and go for it.
No Delivery Fees
Whilst most online stores will have free delivery you definitely won’t have any delivery fees buying in store. So, assuming you have a way of transporting your board home, then you can walk out of the shop that day with your board.
What do You Think?
Well, there are my pros and cons of buying online. I hope this has helped in your decision. Can you think of any other pros or cons to buying online? If so it’d be awesome to hear them in the comments section below.
One major con to buying online for me at least is boarder it duty fees if I’m ordering from an American retailer who doesn’t have a Canadian website. Those fees can be up to double, even triple the price of item your ordering.
Yeah definitely ordering cross border online, does add to the cost. Better if you can find Canadian websites and get delivered direct from Canada. But I know sometimes they might not always have the product you’re looking for.
Hey Nate, I’m with you on this one. I’m a little old for the sport but my grandson isn’t.
Our season is nearly done here but that’s when the deals are. We plan on doing Facetime and pick out the right one online. We’re six hours apart and could never do it in a store. Online makes perfect sense.
You hit all the main points but for us, it’s even better. Robert
Thanks for your input. Definitely another advantage of buying a snowboard online in your case.
Great article, I never really thought about buying snowboards online. I do think there is something to be said about having a person with you as you are purchasing to bounce questions or suggestions off of. I always like physically seeing the board I’m buying too, sometimes the online picture doesn’t do it justice. After reading this, I’m tempted to get the best of both worlds and do some research in a store, talk to an associate, then just go online and buy the board I decide I want. Great article!
That’s also a good tactic to do it that way. True that the picture doesn’t necessarily give away the full story design-wise but not much else you can really get from seeing it physically in my opinion – apart from maybe giving it a good flex if you are really in tune with how much flex you want but usually you can rely on flex ratings.
But definitely some people just like to get that physical look. My experience a lot of the time though is that there is a limit to the boards in store and often won’t have a lot of the models or brands I want to check out.
And the thing with talking to a person in store as well is, and this might just be my past experience, but I’ve often had people who don’t really know what they’re talking about or they’re just saying things, that I know to be inaccurate, just to try and sell me a board and get their commission.
And you can actually speak directly to people at some of the online stores in real time messaging.
Your post answers a question that do worry alot of us, should l buy online or in person in a local shop?
But im surprised you only put the pros of buying online.l know it`s very convenient and no having to worry of transport the snowboard home from the shops but im sure there are also cons of buying online.
Reading your points as to why one should buy online, it`s really tempting although l have to admit im still the old school who have to touch,feel, talk to sales people and ask for questions face to face before lbuy.
Thanks for a great read.
Yeah totally everyone is different – you make a good point there that some people do like to talk face to face – personally I like to have the time and space to make a decision without the pressure of sales staff. And a lot of the online stores these days to have staff that you can message in real time with any questions.
For a lot of things i agree it’s nice to be able to see stuff or try stuff in real life before your buy but I see little benefit in it for snowboards and snowboard bindings. You can’t really try them in store (maybe bindings to an extent if you bring your boots in). In the case of snowboard boots I always recommend buying in store. You need to try them on to see if they are a good fit.
But in general there really aren’t a lot of cons to buying online which is why I only have the 2 cons that I have there. I really can’t think of any other ones that are worth mentioning.
Plus I think the convenience factor of online is only a small part of it. As in the post above there are many other benefits – probably the most important being that you have access to basically every snowboard available rather than being restricted to what your local store has to offer.
Thanks for visiting and I appreciate your input.