Simms to Sell Direct to Consumers

In what should be good news for consumers, Simms will begin selling direct to the public with the launch of their new Web site later this summer.  We spoke with Simms CEO K.C. Walsh this morning.  He filled us in on the changes and what they will mean for both customers who currently buy Simms gear at their local fly shop and those who might prefer to buy from Simms directly.

MidCurrent: What do you think this change means for anglers who are already Simms customers, and for those who are new to the Simms brand?

Walsh: For a long time now we’ve had Simms brand “loyalists” who’ve wanted to buy direct from Simms because either their local store didn’t carry the full line or they just wanted to have the product conversation with us, so it’s another way we can be sure they get the product we want.  But the specialty retailer is still the heart and soul of our business.  Our direct sales will have additional fees that someone wouldn’t necessarily pay if they drive to the local fly shop, like shipping and taxes.  Most customers want to try on our waders and outerwear, and there’s no replacement for the fly shop in that regard.

MidCurrent: Does this change have anything to do with your expansion into the general fishing market?

Walsh: Somewhat.  There are products like our new Pro Dry suit that not all specialty retailers would be comfortable carrying. We want to be sure customers have any easy way to buy them. But it’s really more about the investment in our new Web site, and trying to figure out how our Web site and online channels can work better for customers.

MidCurrent: What will the new Web site give you that you don’t already have, in addition to allowing direct purchases?

Walsh: We’re hoping to have a more direct way to communicate with customers. What we want to do every day at Simms is make better product, so we want to have a dialogue that helps us collect ideas and improve our designs.  That’s really the key.  That dialogue is missing for us right now, and our competitors having been selling direct for a long time now and having that conversation.  I really believe it will help us create better products.

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  • Jackrunco

    When you try to be a manufacture,distributor and retailer the end result is not being good at any of them. Simms should try harder to send the customers to retailers that have been supporting them instead of the lame excuse of helping the retail customer out. If I were a Simms retailer the stuff would all be on close out pricing right now!  

  • Ryan_leeser

    The economy is soft and direct sales will increase margins for Simms. They want to consolidate sales to the top 25% of their retail outlets and sell more direct to increase profits. Simms waders are priced super premiumly already and can not go any higher! What Simms has not taken into account is all of the negative trashing of their waders by shop owners who are cut out of the equation. Simms could have redone their distribution with shop owners and still had their Simms redistribution to fit todays shopping habits online. Time will tell if their strategy works. Walmart may not be far behind!

  • http://www.unicoioutfitters.com/ Jimmy Harris

    Exactly how is this “very good news for consumers”?  Up front, I’m a Simms retailer.  We’ll have the same products at the same price with no shipping charges and the customer can try on several different options.  I think I understand why Simms is doing this (just like all the other manufacturers, it’s a tough economic time for them and this is their solution) buy I’ve got to say I don’t think it’s the best solution for them, the consumer or the retailer.

  • Palbro

    Remember Netflix!  I prefer goods mfg. here in the US and actively seek them out.

    • Dtennessee

      This is the same model as Patagonia. It makes perfect sense and Is the future. Now it’s up to Simms to see if they can be as successful as Patagonia.

      Doug

  • Romeo t

    Everyone wants quality at a good low price , Simms is very very expensive but is top quality , if they were less expensive they would see a massive increase in sales but you have to keep up the product quality , thats were the dollars are now if you wanna make more money . . .

  • Memosco1

    Powell fly rods tried this too.It was desperation move to cut out the dealers and in the end did not save them.Hope the reason for it is not the same.

  • Savage River

    I think Simms is making a mistake, I don’t know Mr. Harris, but agree with his stance.  I’d rather deal with a fly shop and Jimmy Harris has a very good one.

  • JIM

    Jim
    This is not a new revelation.The concern I would have is, the closures of our fishing shops and primarily  the local flyshops.I personally  purchase Simm’s products to support US made goods at the higher expense.I believe the loss of professional opinon and the years of relationships that are established in our shops will only decrease sales .I realize the economy dictates all aspects of how business is conducted but where will it end? Consider the BIG PICTURE!!    

  • Muzmik

    My local fly shop introduced me to Simms. Simms did not introduce me to the fly shop. I also would add that the last Fly Fishing show I attended in Marlborough the Simms rep couldn’t be bothered with us at his booth, so there goes any thought of a relationship with someone from Simms vs. The local Fly shop guy/gal who promotes the products. Sounds like another company that has forgotten how they got there and is leaving the people that got them there behind.