In this review we will be taking a look at the main aspects of an online store “Puckstop.com“, with today’s example I’ll be breaking down the most essential areas that decide which store are money will be best spent. We’ll be covering :
- Product prices compared to the other stores in the UK hockey market
- Newest products on the market (is this store up to date)
- Does this store offer honest, friendly (regardless of how old or how much know you) advise
- Payment methods ?
- Are they happy to answer questions if your not buying?
- Is the website clear well designed and easy to navigate around?
- Can you easily contact and speak to someone with good product knowledge
- Any social pages that you can join and share ideas with others?
- Overall quality of the site
Puck Stop background
Established in 1995, Puck Stop is an ice hockey, inline hockey, figure skating and floorball specialist store. They have two pro shops based in the Sheffield Ice facility. One shop stocks brands of hockey and figure skates and blades along with accessories. their other shop stocks a variety of ice hockey, inline hockey and floorball equipment and accessories.
Puck Stop have seriously competitive prices, 80% of the time they have the lowest prices across the board. Due to their strategic location they are able to offer their customers incredibly low prices on a wide range of brands. A number of other online stores appear to have slightly more expensive prices but they offer free delivery. I feel that if I’m paying £400 for a pair of skates, it would be nice to have the shipping included.
Puck Stop do not offer price matching as they claim their prices are competitive enough. The expression “The proof is in the pudding” comes to mine.
Although Puck Stop offer rock bottom prices, we’ve found that getting hold of the stock can be incredibly lengthy. As always we placed a number of small and large orders at different times and also focused on different products offered. On one occasion we were after a pair of ReeBok 20k skates, the delivery time was unclear as the product was said to be ‘currently unavailable’ for a few weeks.
New & Popular Products
New products hit the UK suppliers at the same time, in the area of the review we’ll talk about how quickly stores focus on getting their products online and available to the UK buyers (we don’t want to wait forever to get the latest skates !) On all occasions Puck Stop had the latest Hockey gear at good prices, its worth while calling the store before ordering to make sure your product is in stock and ready for delivery. This is a good example of how an online store should conduct its-self. There is nothing more frustrating than wanting to buy something you’ve been eagerly anticipating only to find it still unavailable. I would personally pay more to get it product on quicker.
While in the process of collecting the information for this review, we placed a number of small and large orders at Puck Stop in order to note the delivery time, quality of service and of course to see how helpful the staff are. To begin this process we called Puck Stop simply looking for information on which skates would be appropriate for an intermediate skater/rec hockey player, most stores would simply tell you the bare minimum and hurry off the phone, surprisingly the first time I called the staff were incredibly helpful, they only told me what I needed to know and didn’t give to much information to confuse a ‘young skater’ 😉 Instead of feeding me with facts that I didn’t need to know, they asked me questions in order to suggest the correct level skate.
The staff all seem to be very friendly and helpful, they all take the time to give a decent level of service regardless of how silly your question may seem (and believe me I made a few incredibly silly call to them) very patient and helpful staff. Pucks Stop’s overall customer service is great, they take a real active role on Facebook and Twitter to not only connect with customers, but also provide almost instant customer service (replies to questions etc). They also offer next day delivery on all products.
Special note: I needed 30 pucks on Friday 7th at 11:30am for a hockey training camp in London, I contacted PuckStop via Twitter at 3pm on Thursday 6th, they were still available get the order to me before my training camp by sending them directly from their warehouse. Great service.
Puck Stop offer the standard online payment services, credit card, PayPal etc
Website layout and navigation
Pucks Stop’s website is incredibly easy to navigate around, find the latest deals mix and match products to help narrow the decisions down. Our only criticism is the the search result layout, it would be nice see images of the products searched for rather than just text title results. The website is clear and consistence in design very easy to navigate around.
Skate sharpening is free with any purchase of skates which is nice, however this will affect your returns policy as you may incur 10% of the skates value in charges (should you return the skates after having them sharpened).
Contacting the store
On the right hand side of the store there are contact detail for you to ring and speak with staff with extensive product knowledge and experience in the store.
Puck Stop has a great example of a websites social page, they have a good following with great numbers of interactive fans and staff. Fans and customers ask questions which are responded to almost instantly with great detail, 10 out of 10 for store and customer interactive. One area that Puck Stop excel is their Twitter page, its great to see a store moving with the times and connecting its customers directly.
Very satisfied with the service, product range and product knowledge. Its always refreshing to speak to people that actually know what they are talking. Puck Stop have shown examples of going above and beyond to keep its customers happy.
The only recommendation I have is for PuckStop to add images too their search results, its nice to not have to look at just text, images and text would make things quicker and more convenient.
Store Rating (out of 10)
Product Range 10
Customer service 10
Website layout 8
Website Style 8
Contacting site 10
Social Pages 10
Overall Quality 9