The term "sporting goods" covers a lot of items, everything from surf boards to running shoes to camping equipment is considered sporting goods. How do you know which store is for you? Well, use the same tool you probably use to find out just about anything: the internet.
Here are some specific reasons why you should shop for sports equipment through an online sporting goods store:
Convenience – If you are reading this, obviously you know how to get around on the internet. Today, it's the rare home that doesn't have a computer and chances are if you don't have one at home, you have one at work or the library or your neighbor's house…You get the idea. The internet is always open; there's never a long checkout line; and you don't have to fight for a parking spot.
Price – Comparing prices is made simple on the internet. When shopping online and stores like Dick's Sporting Goods, Sports Authority, and Modell's Sporting Goods, you can see exactly how much all of your items are going to cost. Shipping charges and any extra costs are with few exceptions easy to understand.
Information – It is not an exaggeration to say that the internet is the greatest research tool ever invented. You can use it to find out who the eighth president of the United States was, why bees make honey, and you can and should use it to find all of your sporting goods.
How do you know which sites are worthy of your hard-earned money? We used the following criteria to evaluate our top online sporting goods stores:
The best sites will also have the best selection of products, including the variety of sports equipment offered, styles, colors, sizes, etc. Look for a website with a wide selection of sporting goods and accessories to fit your needs.
Customer support is extremely important. Look for sites that offer live chat customer service and technical support through instant messaging. Most will also provide technical phone support and email support.
Many online sporting goods stores will provide a search toolbar, usually located in the site's masthead. With thousands of sporting supplies and accessories, you may want to just use the search toolbar to find exactly what you are looking for quickly. If you are in more of a browsing mood, you can also find sports equipment by category. Within the category itself, you can filter the products according to bestselling, lowest price to highest price or average consumer ratings.
As you probably know, you are not the lone sports enthusiast out there. Like all enthusiasts, you are excited about what you do and what you are passionate about, resulting in your need to share this passion with others. A few online sporting stores such as Dick's Sporting Goods and Sports Authority have several programs and other options that are fantastic for community involvement. If you are interested in becoming involved with an online sports community, look for an online retailer who provides a customer loyalty program, monthly or yearly newsletter, forum, blog or other social media networking opportunities.
The major drawback of online shopping is not being able to try on clothes or shoes, or test out equipment before you purchase those items. So, there may be times when those running pants are way too tight, or the shoes too small and you need to return the product. Make sure you work with an online company who has a lenient return policy. Look for an online sporting store with a 90-day return window (at least) and those who will give you a full refund or exchange without a hassle.
Payment and Shipping Options
Most websites accept the four major credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. The best sites will allow a variety of options for payment.
Another important thing to research in an online sporting goods store is their shipping options. Shop around and look for sites that offer incentives like free shipping when you spend more than a certain dollar amount on their site. Ship-to-store is another great shipping option, as it could be free.
Take your time and research our findings and select the site that will best satisfy your needs. It's a safe bet that no matter how long it takes you to find the right online sporting goods retailer, it will be less time than you would have spent driving all over town looking at each individual store. Take a look at our articles related to online sporting goods and our reviews of the best online sporting goods stores. At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don't Have To.™