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DTLR Has A Flaw That Undermines The Company’s Growth

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This post stems from one of my recent visits to my local DTLR. I was looking for a pair of Nike Air More Uptempo in size 9.5. The store didn’t have the shoes in stock. I gave the store manager the style number of the model I was looking for and she was able to find several DTLR locations on the East Coast that still had 9.5’s in stock . I was  excited; but my joy turned into frustration when the manager told me that the shoes couldn’t be shipped directly to my house but to her location. In addition to that, it was going to take a minimum of  two weeks from the day the item was shipped for her store to receive it. Then she pulled out an old, wrinkled logbook to write my information down in order to give me a call once the shoes were in her possession. All I could think of  was- what a waste of time. I ended up telling the manager I didn’t want the shoes anymore but as I was walking out of the store, I turned around and asked her the following question,
Do you know how much business you are losing because of this?
and the manager’s answer was
We (store managers) have informed corporate about this problem at our meetings but they seem not to care.
Here are a few problems I’ve listed that could really undermine DTLR’s growth:

Slow shipping

The manager told me that the reason why the shipping was slow was because the company’s default shipping method for this type of purchase was ground shipping ( I’m not sure whether this is via Fedex or UPS). The one thing that made me cringe was the fact that it was going to take a minimum of two weeks. The manager added another small detail that blew my mind,

 It all depends on when the store decides to ship the shoes, so you might not even get it in two weeks.

Basically she was indirectly telling me not to waste my time and had no problem with me saying I didn’t want the shoes. That would never happen at a Nike store or a Footlocker. DTLR is literally losing business by using an archaic and outdated shipping method for in store orders.

Antiquated stock locator

DTLR  has no options for customers to stock locate sneakers on their website. I had to physically go to a store and then provide the manager with a style number so they could look up the shoe in their system. I always look for sneakers on Footlocker, Champs, and Footaction via stock locator and it makes my shopping experience a lot easier. Maybe DTLR doesn’t want to invest in upgrading the primitive system currently being used, but is the company foreseeing the damages it could cause in the long run?
I have purchased about 18 pairs of sneakers for my online store in the past 10 days on Footlocker by using the stock locator. I could have bought all those shoes via DTLR because their prices were better but I chose Footlocker instead, because Footlocker’s user friendly system allows me to shop from the comfort of my house.
Unlike Footlocker, DTLR doesn’t have the luxury of returning their poor performing Nike sneakers (shoes that aren’t selling well) back to Nike via RTV ( Return To Vendor). Consequently they must get rid of the inventory themselves and it  poses a lot of problems  especially with their archaic shipping methods. I don’t think they realize how much money they are losing on this aspect. They are even losing sales to third party marketplaces like eBay. What’s eBay’s Motto – we are never sold out. DTLR has inventory that could be sold faster than lightning ( especially with the very competitive prices they have) but because of this archaic system the company uses, buyers would rather buy on eBay even if the prices there are 10 to 20% higher. It’s not just about having cheaper prices, but it’s also about creating a user friendly shopping experience for the consumer.
There are many other things I could point out about DTLR, but if the company could start improving the things I mentioned in this post, it’ll certainly augment their revenues by the end of the year.
Suppose I’m looking for the Nike PG2. I can go on Footlocker and look for locations that have the specific size I’m looking for. This is something I can’t do on DTLR’s site.

Now let’s check the same shoe on DTLR, see screenshot below

It clearly shows that they don’t have the size I want; but guess what, there are more than three locations about 20 to 40 miles from my house that have the desired size 10 in stock. Even if the shoes were on sale via DTLR, I would’ve probably not wasted my time and just bought them via Footlocker. The next time I’m making a similar purchase, I probably wouldn’t even bother checking DTLR’s site. I would go directly to Footlocker or eBay.

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