In Part One of Point and Click with Mauri Pro Sailing, we saw how sailors all over the globe are turning to Juan Mauri and his team to assist them with anything and everything from a new furler to deck shoes. These requests come from anywhere like mid-ocean to stuck on the hardstand and for this group of online sailing professionals, these and many other requests are all just part of the norm.
So it is not just visits and friendlies, Mauri Pro also go out to regattas, sometimes with suppliers, such as Gill North America, whom they have just returned from some Match Racing. Juan has been sailing Vipers a lot in the last year or so because his son has grown up now.
At 15 years of age now, he’s been out there with dad since eight, so now that he’s finally got to an appropriate size, they have been having a wonderful time in their Viper 640. Juan has told his son that as soon as he beats him to the top mark, he can drive when it’s the two of them on the same boat and I’m figuring that’ll be more than enough motivation for Mauri Jnr!
The Mauri Pro team can be found on any type of vessel and as we now know, the team members hail from many a location, so do not be surprised to see them on Farr One Designs or Beneteaus at club level, as they not only support many a region, but all types of sailing, too.
Recent additions to the Mauri Pro team include Jonathan McMillan from Canada and Dan Borrer, who was the USA representative at the Panama Games and one of the managers for Laser Performance.
Like any sailor, they enjoy a fast ride, but the one that has got Juan and the Mauri Pro Sailing team especially motivated, is the continuing increase in broadband speeds and development and use of mobile telephony.
'It really is interesting. We are now also providing a text service for ordering, but the really cool development is people being on their boats and sending us pictures, which was impossible not that long ago.
‘We can reply directly to their phones and sort out the whole transaction whilst we’re at it. That is certainly is changing the game, but also the quality of the images that we are now able to publish on the website has risen dramatically and this too is because speed is no longer an issue’ commented Juan on the market as a whole.
‘The result is that you can look at better images and order your items with even more certainty. The bigger images mean far greater detail, which is especially important with clothing. These are really big images at 3000 x 5000 pixels. A couple of years ago, we could not even dream of posting these, because it will be too slow.
The Internet has definitely changed the whole game and there is no way to stop it anymore, so it is far better to jump on board than to try and oppose it all’, said Juan.
The hottest items currently on the Mauri Pro site are the Zhik and SLAM skiff lines. Juan then added, ‘We are also having a great time with the new Karver asymmetrical spinnaker furler and we always have a good time with Henri Lloyd and Gill, so no problems there!
'We are solid on Harken, Lewmar and Spinlock' and by solid, which for Mauri Pro means to be one of the largest online retailer worldwide for those brands.’
As a ‘young’ business, one that has grown up ever so quickly, you may think they’d be happy to rest, but nothing could be more inaccurate.
Yes, Mauri Pro sell items for everything from the dinghy sailor to the mini maxi boat owner and then everything in between, from cruising to Grand Prix racing. So that could be a call from an Optimist owner in one minute to a TP52 skipper the next.
Their core business is certainly the 25 to 45 foot cruiser or racer, but dinghies certainly are something they are passionate about. ‘When I look at it, I still think the best thing we can do is look at our own ability to promote ourselves. There are a lot of people who still don’t know us and even though we have a lot of traffic, we still think we are not helping them all. We may well have over 50,000 customers, but we always ask ourselves what can we do for the other sailors who are not our customers.’
One of the ways that Juan and Mauri Pro want to enhance their customers experiences is to ensure they know the parts that boat manufacturers want to see as replacements or spares for their craft. ‘You know in Europe, they have a lot of chandleries located at each marina, but those stores aren’t carrying the spare parts or all the parts that say a traveller system might need.
In order to stay ahead of the e-commerce curve, we are working with major suppliers to make sure that their products are not only available but also ensuring that customers are receiving top notch customer service, dependable shipping, and accurate product availability.
As an example, we had a client in a country half way around the world who went to their local Harken dealer and was told that it would be between two to three weeks to get the part to him. We were able to put it in his hand in four days and for less money, too.’
That would seem a great way to find out how Mauri Pro Sailing do indeed get their customers goods to them, given they are based in Texas.
The simple answer is UPS, which also connects with FedEx. Inside the USA it is mainly UPS and for their international items, they utilise FedEx for the bulk of it or good old bespoke postal services! Yes, the good old national post of your own country.
‘As long as there is a way to track the packages, we will take it. It is really rare that anything will take more than a week, unless it requires a different type of shipping, said Juan. So that means that for the sweeping majority of customers’ orders, around four to seven days is the maximum you will need to wait and as mentioned much earlier, if you spend over $500, it is shipped for free.
‘Because of our volume we were able to negotiate really good fees, so we just decided to pass it on, rather than offer a small percentage discount on large purchases. We get a lot of good feedback about it, too, as people really seem to value it’, said Juan.
Now as a mark of their true global presence, Mauri Pro Sailing get numerous requests for sponsorship, from their base in the USA to Thailand and everywhere in between, too!
Recently Mauri Pro sponsored the 29er Championships in Australia for instance. That is a great thing for the sport, for sure, as are all the sponsors.
‘We sponsor events in South America, USA and lots of places, you know and it gives us great pleasure when they are global class or event, which in a way, they all are now.
Mauri Pro points out that the implementation of QR Codes has brought on a new wave of technical advancements for sponsorships and e-commerce with potential use in future virtual tradeshows.
‘From Tablets and Smart Phones, one thing is certain. Online selling is very, very popular.’
Now if think about their first ten years of operation and all the developments that have gone on in that time, then you understand that Mauri Pro is well placed to be able to comment on the future of online selling and sailing solutions, where change is certainly a constant force.
So what might the next one or two years involve for Mauri Pro? ‘The future is exciting for us. As we keep rolling into becoming a truly international brand or e-store, if you will, we keep expanding in to new markets.
Just recently, we have agreed to open Mauri Pro Sailing – Chile, which is in partnership with Sails-Chile. This will allow us to increase our presence in the South American market, which is one of the places where sailing is growing.
'In the foreseeable future, we will continue to see major advancements with already existing video, 360-degree images and the like. E-commerce is going to continue to improve its interactive capabilities allowing for easier and more convenient shopping for customers.
‘Another thing that is certain, is that the world of e-commerce will keep rolling into Mobile, forcing e-retailers to come up with new websites for iPads and Smart Phones, with all their technicality and nuances.’
For this scribe, one of the greatest issues to cover is apparel sizing, as different companies have different ways to interpret size. A SLAM XL is in no way the same as a Gill one, for instance.
Equally, some bike shop retailer charge a fee to try on bicycle helmets for instance, as they know the shopper just gets the size information and then buys online.
Juan agrees, commenting, ‘Sizing is an issue. By way of example, look at how Europeans, Australians and Americans have different body configurations. We have done our best by presenting all of the size charts in inches and centimetres on our site, as well as portraying American and European sizing.
One company (Gill) is already addressing the sizing issue by offering a different set of sizes for the USA. Taking this into consideration, all other ones still hold the concept that XL is XL worldwide, which we agree it is not. Just think about a big sailor in Singapore and a big sailor in Texas, there is quite a size difference. We receive this question several times a day, so we try our best to help them on a one-by-one basis.’
Shoes would have to be one of the toughest, as there are both length and width issues to consider, yet in general, sailing shoes tend to come in length variations only.
There are silhouettes available at mauriprosailing.com and they have put in as many dimensions into the specifications as they can to try and help you.
You get the feeling that some sort of virtual shoe measure, like the one that used to tell you the correct size for your school shoes would be the go.
Equally PDF that had rulers in it, so you could tell if you had printed it at the correct size or not are now available.
The other item people tend to get wrong is wet or foul weather, where there is a misconception that it has to actually fit you when you put it on in a store.
Juan tells us, ‘Remember there are layers and with your pants, allow for the fact that you are sitting a lot of the time, so longer is better.
‘The real challenge is for us to tell people about layering and differences in sizes of the population, nation by nation. i.e. Large is not large and people just have to measure themselves as accurately as they can. You know, that applies to all of the apparel items, but it cannot be too hard, as plenty of our customers are doing it.’
Juan’s final comment was, ‘I am looking forward to the future and really liking what I can see...no borders, sophisticated e-commerce platforms, dynamic web and social media interaction and a world that has become smaller. Retailers will need to become more efficient and proactive to engage customers with different cultural backgrounds.
‘As long as the wind keeps blowing and there is water in the ocean we will be there sailing, scuba diving or kite surfing amongst other on-the-water fanatics!’
And so there you have it. No matter whether you’re in your office dreaming of sailing or actually living the dream and crossing an ocean to a distant shore, just point your mouse to your favourites and click on www.mauriprosailing.com to get the best team on the planet providing sailing solutions.
To read Part 1 of our Mauri Pro Sailing story click here
by John Curnow
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6:09 PM Mon 6 Aug 2012GMT
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