MEC – My Equipment Choice

Mountain Equipment Co-OpI am a true west coast cliche and I don’t care who knows it! Where do I but my outdoor gear? Mountain Equipment Co-Op or MEC as most Vancouverites affectionately call it. They have an incredible range of gear at reasonable prices, they’re Canadian and they have great customer service. I swear I am not a paid rep, but this store is the trifecta of  awesomeness for outdoor enthusiasts. Check out the bottom of this post for my favourite product.

MEC is tops when it comes to merchandise, but how effective is the company in communicating to consumers? I decided to evaluate their presence on social media to answer the question. I visited How Sociable, a website that provides free How Sociabledata for companies on social media activity and online engagement. MEC received a score of 2.1/10. Not great, but I think the issue is more with the tracking of the site than their actual presence. How Sociable measures YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+ and Foursquare – for free. However, MEC’s main media platforms are Facebook and Twitter. How Sociable seems like a good service, but you have to pay to gather truly valuable information on a company.

How does MEC stack up in the eyes of consumers? Let’s do some qualitative analysis. Below are 10 conversations illustrating the public’s sentiment toward the company. Here is my rating system:

+1 = Positive sentiment

0 = Neutral sentiment

-1 = Negative sentiment

“I like this place.  The staff are knowledgeable.  I bought a $225 Black Diamond bag and I have no regrets.  This is a co-operative, not a for profit company, so if you pay $225 for a bag, you know that it’s worth $225.” Rating +1

“I’ve been an MEC member for several years it’s still one of my favourite places to shop and get great quality products for fair prices. Best part is the co-op membership is still only $5!! With a wide selection of an array of products MEC is always one of my go-to places. Not to mention the staff are ALWAYS very helpful and knowledgeable.” Rating +1

“The best place in town for all of your outdoors gadgets and supplies. The only knock I have against them is with their online store stock information.  I chose a certain bike lock and bike computer, their website said the store had stock.  However upon arriving 30 minutes later, both items were not available. 5 stars once they fix their crappy website.” Rating 0

“I love shopping at MEC, the staff are helpful and knowledgeable and the prices of all the MEC brand gear is affordable. Plus it’s a Canadian company!” Rating +1

“The best part of this store is the quality.  I’ve never had to replace something I’ve bought from here unless I’ve lost it.  I have duffel bags and  backpacks from MEC that after 10 years still look like new. I’m always amazed when I go in and I can find that odd-ball thing I need because I didn’t even think the product existed. Their prices are fair and their staff is always knowledgeable and friendly.” Rating +1

“There’s not much to say that hasn’t been said before in other reviews: MEC is THE place to buy sports gear – especially winter gear. The only area that’s not 100% good is their bike shop: their prices are completely out of touch with reality (hence the four stars). Aside from that, you really can’t go wrong.” Rating 0

“Great co-op. Pricing and service is excellent.” Rating +1

“If you want a canoe, compass or climbing rope, this place is the bomb. If looking for a sporty winter coat, I would suggest shopping around.  The place across the street had a lot more variety in terms of coat types/styles.  MEC has some nice gear, but not a huge variety.  There’s a decent selection, but mostly within a certain style of coats (same price, different colors).  And I felt that their own branded lines were kinda pricey.” Rating 0

“What’s not to love? MASSIVE store, prime location, knowledgeable staff, everything you could possibly need for the outdoors, great prices, great warranty, unparallelled quality and a most impressive selection in store. Two words: Yes. Please.” Rating +1

“Great selection and a regular stop for me.  Only problem I have ever run into is that you need to be careful with clothing sizes.  Depending on what you try on sizing can be all over the map.” Rating 0

Overall Rating 6/10

This score may not seem high, but an important point to note is that there were no negative comments regarding the MEC. That is rare for a retail outlet and deserves kudos.

Trail Running Shoe

La Sportiva Wildcat Trail Running Shoe.

Bottom Line: Good value, great prices, wide variety, stop in and see for yourself!

My favourite product: This trail running shoe is one that I keep buying over an over again and it’s available at MEC. Light, durable on rough terrain and comfortable on pavement – and very reasonable price point ($105). Buy the shoes, pick a trail from my Top 10 list and get outside!

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6 thoughts on “MEC – My Equipment Choice

  1. Great blog post, Laura! I’m surprised by the rating of MEC, given the size and Canadian impact of the company. Maybe it’s a good thing that they’re concentrating on their product instead of their social media presence!!!

    • Hi Kristy, they have definitely cornered the market on outdoor goods, but I was surprised too with their social media rating. Unfortunately, the site I chose didn;t measure Facebook and Twitter and I think that’s where their presence is most powerful. You should check out their FB account…..beautiful photos!

      Thanks for the comment 🙂

  2. I was also a little surprised at how low they were on the social media radar! But then perhaps they think that their clientelle are too busy out and about the mountains to be tweeting? This seems like a company that could utilize its own customer base via foursquare etc to a much greater extent. They have such loyal customers, they wouldn’t really even need to push social meida internally, they’d just need to make some adaptations to allow their customers to do the work for them!!

    • Thanks for the comment Susan! You’re right about foursquare. That would be a great platform for MEC’s customer base.

      With smartphone reception these days, I am sure the die hard would love to tweet from the top of a mountain 😉

    • I agree! It’s quite amazing how well they have done in a relatively short amount of time. Fifteen years ago, few people knew of MEC and now they’re an institution. What I really appreciate is that they’re still keeping their prices low.

      Thanks for the comment 🙂

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