Adam Gifford - Economics and Shoes

Monday, March 28, 2011

Economics AND A Product Review You Can Trust

By Adam Gifford

As a running specialty store owner I make it a point to read as many shoe reviews as I can. The challenge with reading shoe reviews (or any other product reviews) is that it can be difficult to ascertain the difference between an objective product review and a sales pitch. You and I both know that a review of a product is not an objective criticism if it is found on the product’s own website. Economists refer to this possible lack of accuracy as “moral hazard” (before I owned a running store I was an economics professor…but don’t use that as an excuse to fall asleep while reading this). One of the greatest challenges to brand managers is to overcome this moral hazard and truly convince people that all of the great things that they are saying about their products are true. So how do you go about convincing someone that what you are saying is ACTUALLY true when it’s your job to only say good things? The solution is referred to as signaling. Signaling is a way for people to truly convince others that what they are saying is the truth.

I know that every product review that has ever been published on this blog is true. I know that because I have been running, climbing, and working in La Sportiva footwear for years. I have run in nearly every model that is available and I know that they are near perfection. My problem is how to convince YOU that all of the reviews are true. This is where signaling comes into play.


A better investment than credit default swaps...

I believe in La Sportiva products so much that I was willing to risk a great deal of my own money on their quality. I decided to add the La Sportiva Mountain Running line to my store inventory. This means that I am confident enough that they will sell and I will earn a return on my investment. I invested in what I call the “triple threat”…the Crosslite, the Fireblade, and the Raptor. The Crosslites are my absolute favorite shoe, and I would even sleep in them if they weren’t always so covered in dirt. The Raptors are a close second. Not only do I run in the Raptors, but I wear them to the store everyday because they are so comfortable even after being on my feet for 7-8 hours. The Fireblades are my third favorite. Wearing them is like wearing a sock that allows me to run up steep, rocky trails.

So there is a product review that you can believe. I purchased full size runs because I KNOW they are good shoes and will sell. You just need to purchase a single pair to know the same thing.

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