Austin Canoe & Kayak Receives Sixth Bizrate® Circle of Excellence Award

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ACK hits another milestone with sixth consecutive year of outstanding customer service award.

Austin, Texas (September 30, 2014) – Outdoor retailer, Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), a division of MSP Holdings, LLC is excited and honored to have received the Bizrate® Circle of Excellence award for the sixth year in a row.

The Bizrate Circle of Excellence award recognizes those online retailers within the Bizrate Insights Network who have demonstrated outstanding performance, as rated by their customers, throughout a one-year period. The ratings are from direct feedback, collected at the point-of-sale and after the delivery of goods, from customers concerning seven key satisfaction indicators.

The key satisfaction indicators measured for award eligibility are immediately post purchase: Overall Satisfaction, Product Selection, and Ease of Finding, and then after order receipt: Likelihood to Buy Again, Product Met Expectations, On-Time Delivery, and Satisfaction with Customer Support.

“Out of all of the awards we win this one is always the most special and I am elated to accept it for the sixth year in a row,” said Peter Messana, MSP Holdings, LLC CEO. Continue reading Austin Canoe & Kayak Receives Sixth Bizrate® Circle of Excellence Award

Farewell Warehouse, Hello Marketing!

Looking back, no one told me it would be easy.  I suppose the young naive man I was just assumed that would be the case.  Twenty pounds lighter and years matured, I reflect on that young man with a wry grin.

After graduating from college and bouncing from one job industry to the next trying to find my proverbial “path” I eventually found myself at the doorstep of the ACK Warehouse, applying for a job as an associate.  In my mind, I saw it as the chance to work with my olderwarehouse brother (who would be my boss’ boss’ boss but still) while saving money on gym costs as I carried some boats and wrapped a few packages. Continue reading Farewell Warehouse, Hello Marketing!

Happy Hunting with Avery Outdoors

Hunting is one of those outdoor activities you wouldn’t expect to require a lot of gear. You have your hunting rifle, a bag, and a way to travel discreetly (we prefer a kayak). However, this is not the case. Hunting effectively requires an arsenal of gear that make it not only easier to hunt but also more comfortable. This is where Avery Outdoors hunting gear comes into play. When you buy an Avery Outdoors product, you can rest assured you are purchasing a quality product that will assist in making your hunting trip the most comfortable it can be. Do you prefer to stand, crouch, and kneel the entire time? Or does a comfortable and discreet stool sound a little bit more pleasing? Do you travel to your favorite spot via kayak or canoe? These are all things to consider when gearing up for your next hunt.

To help you better navigate ACK’s selection of Avery Outdoors hunting products we have compiled a list of a few of our favorite items for you to consider. If you know what your favorites are feel free to check out our entire line here.

Avery Outdoors Folding Floating Shotgun CaseAvery outdoor floating gun case

The floating shotgun case is a necessary bag if you like to hunt on the water. The buoyant closed-cell foam walls will keep your gun afloat if it slips out of your kayak and the water resistant exterior will not budge keeping your prized possession safe. The case also comes in a variety of patterns to suit any environment you plan on hunting in. Overall, this attractive case is not only effective and protective but also discreet, compact, and affordable.

Avery Outdoors Floating Blind Bag

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Avery’s flagship bag has been a fan favorite for years. This floating bag has nine compartments to maximize organization and storage as well as a seam-sealed inner compartment to keep your important items safe. The amount of space allows you to easily carry your shells, gloves, camera, choke tubes, phone and your other favorite hunting items while the quick access port and multiple pockets lets you grab them at a moments notice. If you are looking for a smaller bag that will ensure that your items are protected from the elements look no further, the Avery Outdoors Floating Blind Bag has you covered.

Avery Outdoors Trac-Loc Push Pole

Avery outdoors push pole

The Avery Outdoors Trac-Loc Push Pole is a kayak hunters dream. This push pole is a must have for navigating waterways while hunting and fishing due to its 3 length options, rust-proof aluminum design, and DuraGrip handles. It gives you the ability to handle different depths of water with ease with its original 51″, second extension at 76″ or full extension at 115″ while being sturdy enough to seamlessly push off logs, soft ground, hard ground or any other condition you encounter while on the water. The Trac-Loc push pole is easily stored and transported and was made to work with the Avery Outdoors 3-in-1 Paddle Attachment and Avery Outdoors Marsh Foot Attachment (both sold separately). These attachments assist in navigating shallow waters and overcoming barriers with little effort. If you are a Diablo Kayak fan, the paddle attachment is great when you choose to switch to stand up paddling!

Avery Outdoors Marsh Seat

Avery Outdoors Marsh SeatThe Avery Outdoors Marsh Seat provides a comfortable perch that is easily transported while on the move. With its sink proof retractable marsh foot and adjustable height you can feel good knowing that you don’t run the risk of falling too deep in the muck or peeking too far out out of cover. Our Austin store manager, Justin Fees, is an avid hunter and swears by his marsh seat. He explains, “When I was in college kneeling down and crouching in awkward positions for hours didn’t bother me. Now, 10-15 years later, comfort is key and this marsh seat provides just that.” The seat adjusts between 27″ and 37″ in height and comes complete with a DuraMax covered padded seat for optimal comfort and customization. If you are looking to optimize your comfort while hunting then the Avery Outdoors Marsh Seat is the accessory for you.

Want to watch a product feature video on the above products? Click here.

Ultimately, when choosing your hunting accessories you have to keep in mind comfort, safety, and utility. All of Avery Outdoors hunting products have something different to offer and provide different comforts while out in the wild. Check out the other Avery Outdoor products we have here to fully outfit your next hunting adventure. Happy hunting!

-Dayvee @ ACK

 

Austin Canoe & Kayak (ACK) Strives for Exceptional Customer Service

ACK Logo

Free Upgraded Shipping joins Price Matching and Custom Packages to enable ACK to effectively meet customer needs

Austin, Texas (June,11th 2014) – Outdoor retailer, Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), a division of MSP Holdings, LLC announces the launch of Free Upgraded Shipping – the latest enhancement for exceptional Customer Service.  Upgraded Shipping joins streamlined Price Matching and Custom Packages to add to ACK’s customer service options.

Customer service is always the driving force behind ACK’s decisions and the latest upgrades to the shopping experience follow this mantra.  “This is very exciting for us. We always strive to process and ship fast, now this enhancement allows us to deliver equally as fast” said Steve Messana, President of MSP Holdings, adding “The upgraded shipping is automatic and seamless to the customer, if the qualifying shipment will take 4+ days (business days) to reach the customer we automatically move it to FedEx 3-day Express Saver, allowing ACK to reach everyone coast-to-coast in 3 days or less.”

Joining the Upgraded Shipping enhancement is a new Price Matching feature. Price Matching allows the customer to checkout at the price they found online, there is no need to call or email, just place the order with the competitor’s price and if approved the order ships out the same day. After the customer presents the competitive price, the Customer Relationship Managers do a quick search to confirm the lower price and happily match it. ACK is proud to match any competitor’s price, PERIOD. Chase Goble, Customer Relationship Manager, explains it like this, “If we can go to the site, it is the same product, we can add it to a cart and the price is less, we’ll match it.”

The last of the enhancements are the Custom Packages, which now allow the customer to pick the products of their choice to create a one of a kind package. The previous packages were pre-defined leaving the customer with little choice. Now, with the Custom Package option, customers pick the items they’d like to include in their package and enjoy great savings while doing so. One of the most popular packages is the Kayak Package where the customer now has the freedom to pick their favorite kayak, PFD and Paddle; just one of the many custom packages offered.

These enhancements are only the latest in many upgrades to ACK.com. Peter Messana, CEO of MSP Holdings, LLC sums it up best “We never stop listening to our customers and building features that meet their needs. Our team is focused on being the best Outdoor Retailer and we continue to enhance our website to do just that”.

 

The new features are currently live at www.ACK.com.

 

About MSP Holdings, LLC

MSP Holdings, LLC operates Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), an award-winning paddlesports and outdoor retailer and Rack Boys a vehicle rack and sports travel outfitter dedicated to providing exceptional customer service. Both retail outfits are based out of the central Texas area, with their respective online stores at www.AustinKayak.com and www.RackBoys.com and within five physical locations in Austin, San Marcos, Spring, Houston and San Antonio, Texas.

If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with MSP Holdings, LLC, please contact Dayvee Brower-Warrell at 512-318-2941, or email pr@austinkayak.com.

 

The Science Behind A YETI

Ever since YETI has made its debut it has secured a cult-like following amongst outdoorsman and beverage drinkers alike. At first glance they may seem like just another cooler, but the second you begin using one you know it is anything but ordinary. They look and feel sturdy, they are mega strong, and do an amazing  job of keeping your food and drinks ice cold – for a very long time. You may be wondering, “What kind of magic is behind this?” Look no further, we present the science behind a YETI. 

bear vs yeti

Built For The Wild

So what’s the big deal and just what makes a YETI cooler so strong? It all starts with the manufacturing process of the shell itself. Just like your kayak, YETI coolers are roto-molded rendering a product that has no seams, is impact resistant, offers long-term durability and can take a serious beating. Go ahead and drop it, kick it, stand on it or sit on it- a Yeti will not fall apart at the seams. However, it doesn’t stop there. Latches, hinges and handles are usually the first things to fail on most coolers but the guys at YETI didn’t skimp on the details. The T-Rex™ lid latches are the same latches used to secure hatches on ATVs and the YETI NeverFail™ hinge system consists of a full-length, rust-proof aluminum rod integrated into hinge stops which are molded into the lid. The handles themselves are virtually indestructible and the plug itself has a story of it’s own because we all know one of the worst things that can happen is a busted latch.

You are probably thinking “Just how strong are these things?” Check out this 500lb man try to break it.

yeti kayakKeep ice longer!

While durability has sky-rocketed YETI to fame, it’s the ability to do what coolers are meant to do that has pushed these products into the limelight — keeping your food and drinks cold and fresh. YETI Coolers use up to 3″ of pressure-injected commercial grade polyurethane foam in the walls and lid to make sure your ice stays ice all day long. Lets just say if your ice isn’t cold, your ice is broken.

Lock it up!

Ever come back to your cooler after thinking you closed it to find that it in fact, has been open for hours leaving all your drinks warm and food mushy? Fear no longer! The YETI cooler doesn’t just close- it seals. The full frame, freezer-quality gasket circles keep your lid shut tight and the cold sealed in so you don’t have to worry about warm beer ever again.

Already have a YETI cooler?YETI Rambler

Check out the brand new Rambler. This tumbler is there to solve the age old annoyance of less than frosty beverages when working away from a freezer all day. YETI over-engineered their Rambler tumblers with kitchen grade 18/8 stainless steel and double-wall vacuum insulation to ensure that you never come back to a less than amazing beverage again. These will keep ice 2x longer than your average plastic tumbler and will keep those hot beverages scolding for you in the cold winter months. What more could you want?

We invite you to browse our complete line of YETI coolers and accessories. Don’t need one yourself? They make awesome gifts. Who wouldn’t want a bear proof cooler?

Austin Canoe & Kayak (ACK) Introduces New Search Engine to Power ACK.com

ACK.com now features best in-class search results through the power of Google and GroupBy.

Austin, Texas (May 20th, 2014) – Outdoor retailer, Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), a division of MSP Holdings, LLC announces the launch of a new search engine powering ACK.com. The new search engine is powered by the Google Search Appliance (GSA) with middleware software from GroupBy.  The selection of search providers was based on the need for faster and highly relevant search results that could be used throughout the site for navigation as well as search results; on both desktop and mobile devices. ACK.com maintains a fully responsive design allowing customers to experience not only a flawless shopping experience, but also a seamless search experience no matter which type of device they are using.

The new search engine gives ACK customers dynamic, real-time search capabilities while browsing the site. The search box presents suggestions through Search-As-You-Type technology that suggests the best relevant search terms as well as the best matched brands and products.  This improvement is just one of many to come for ACK.com; Jeremy Arntz, ACK Development Manager, puts it best: “This initial integration is a huge leap forward for ACK, but is just the beginning of what can be done with the Google Search Appliance.” He adds, “There are many exciting things we have planned for the future that are made possible by this enhancement.”

“The Google Search Appliance along with their partner, GroupBy offers a combination of two powerful systems that provided us a means to achieve enterprise class search capability, usually reserved for much larger companies.” said Peter Messana, CEO of MSP Holdings, “Search is key to any ecommerce company, providing the means to find the item fast is what our customers want and we never stop working to meet their needs.”

Some key features of the GSA and GroupBy’s Searchandiser include Dynamic Navigation (filtering), Search-As-You-Type, Results Biasing, Redirects, Spelling, Suggested Search and Site Navigation of Categories.

“We are very proud of having such a great specialty brand like ACK as one of our clients. ACK’s multi-channel experience, which offers the same service, selection and expertise whether in-store or on-line is a key strategy for GroupBy and Google. We look forward to our continued work with ACK as they continue to grow and innovate in their market space. Said Roland Gossage, Managing Partner, GroupBy Inc.

This new feature is currently live at www.ACK.com.

 

About MSP Holdings, LLC

MSP Holdings, LLC operates Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), an award-winning paddlesports and outdoor retailer and Rack Boys a vehicle rack and sports travel outfitter dedicated to providing exceptional customer service. Both retail outfits are based out of the central Texas area, with their respective online stores at www.AustinKayak.com and www.RackBoys.com and within five physical locations in Austin, San Marcos, Spring, Houston and San Antonio, Texas.

If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with MSP Holdings, LLC, please contact Dayvee Brower-Warrell at 512-318-2941, or email pr@austinkayak.com.

 

About GroupBy, Inc

GroupBy Inc. provides industry leading commerce and media software solutions that help companies better connect with their customers by providing a more relevant user experience.  This improved experience drives more targeted site traffic, increases revenue and overall customer satisfaction.  Groupby’s solutions provides industry leading features for search, navigation, merchandising, search engine optimization (SEO), and Search as you type (SAYT). GroupBy has offices in Canada, United States, China, and Trinidad & Tobago.

For more information, visit: www.groupbyinc.com Call us +1-647-558-4678, or email team@groupbyinc.com

 

 

ACK.com and the “Heartbleed” Bug

Security is a top priority for us and with the transactions we handle it is the utmost importance as Credit Card information as well as other personal information is something that our customers trust us with.  If you haven’t heard of the “heartbleed” bug, it is essentially a bug that was recently discovered that allowed someone to see encrypted traffic  ( you can read all about it here: http://heartbleed.com).

I just wanted to take a moment and assure you that we have patched our servers and taken the necessary precautions, however, this bug has been in existence for over two years and impacted over 75% of the servers out there, even the likes of Google was vulnerable up until yesterday.  What exactly does this mean?  Well, over the years had someone known about this they could have been stealing all sorts of personal data.  Presently there is no indication that hackers used this vulnerability but the longer companies take to patch the more likely they will.  You can tell if someone has patched their servers by visiting this site and putting in the URL: http://filippo.io/Heartbleed/

Rather than write a blog about what to do it is easier to link to others, this link will give you a quick sense of the issue and what passwords you should change.  Keep in mind, if a site you use hasn’t patched their servers, changing your password would be futile.  http://mashable.com/2014/04/09/heartbleed-bug-websites-affected/

Additionally, I wanted to also use this opportunity to remind our customers that we do not store any credit card information on our servers.  We are able to re-charge your card on future orders by holding what is known as a token, should someone gain access to our databases they would still not be able to access your credit card information.  Additionally, we employ some of the industries toughest standards and maintain PCI Compliance (Credit Card Industry Rules on Security) when it comes to security in our infrastructure and we have come a long way from one itsy-bitsy server to the 10+ servers that run ACK.com.   We rely on only the best hosting companies to host our servers in what is known as a managed environment, thus ensuring we are always up to date.

If you have any questions or comments please drop them below.

Peter @ ACK

 

ACK.com Website Updates for 2013

From the desk of self proclaimed Benevolent Web Dictator Jeremy Arntz. 

Since launching the redesigned ACK.com in November of 2012 we’ve been busy making improvements to the site. Some of the changes are visible, but many are behind the scenes. The web development team at ACK is not only tasked with improving and maintaining ACK.com, but we also build many of the internal tools that our coworkers use to ensure our customers receive the best service.

As hard as we try we aren’t perfect and unfortunately in early 2013 we realized that the design of our shopping cart code was not flexible enough for our future plans so we spent some time rewriting so it would be much easier to modify and maintain. From a customer’s perspective there wasn’t much of a difference except it was no longer necessary to save your shopping cart. If you’re logged in your shopping cart is automatically saved.

Product filtering in the new version of the site was very basic with few options. So we went to work expanding our filters to include the major product attributes for each category. We took our time to design and build the new filtering system which resulted in smoothest feature launch in ACK history. We are very pleased with the results of our hard work. 

Along the way we were able to create a set of tools for our warehouse team that converted the majority of our paper-based processes like picking and sorting to paperless systems using tablets. The new tablet based system has improved efficiency, provided enhanced metrics to help improve our accuracy, and drastically reduced the amount of paper we use.

Let’s be blunt our product search was not good. So we decided to make it better and now our search is good, but we know our customers expect more from us so we are working on making our search great.

If there’s one truth in web development it’s change. In the past it was common to have a  desktop version of your website and a separate mobile optimized version which made sense when there wasn’t much variation in mobile device screen sizes. Which is how the mobile version of ACK.com was designed. The flaw in this was that every change we made on the desktop site we also had to make on the mobile site which lead to more work for us and most importantly a degraded experience for customers.

In recent years the consensus on how to address mobile web browsing has switched from having a dedicated mobile site to using responsive web design to modify the layout of “desktop” version of the site to be optimized for mobile. We kept the design of the site exactly the same, but at the code level we started over from scratch and the majority of the site is now fully responsive. We are very proud of how the site functions on phones, tablets, and of course the desktop.

Stay tuned for more updates throughout the year, thanks for reading!

ACK Launches Redesigned Mobile Shopping Site

ACK (Austin Canoe and Kayak) provides customers with redesigned mobile friendly website

Austin, Texas (November 18th, 2013) – Outdoor retailer, Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), a division of MSP Holdings, LLC,  announced today the latest release of its mobile optimized website.

The new release utilizes the latest technologies and is ‘responsive’ to the users screen size. The website  seamlessly adjusts the display to accommodate the screen size when a customer visits the site from a mobile device. Customers will see the same information found while browsing with a full computer screen, but laid out appropriately for the size and orientation of the mobile device.

In addition to the ‘responsive’ design the entire checkout process has been redesigned for a faster and more efficient checkout. By reducing over forty percent of the fields needed for checkout, and decreasing the time it takes to load a page by thirty-five percent, customers are rewarded with an enhanced and more efficient shopping experience.

“Customers were often frustrated that information found on the main site was not available on our mobile site. This new method allows us to display all the content and adjust the layout based on the device. If you like to use your iPad in landscape mode, the site will look very similar to our main site, turn it to portrait and we adjust the display to be optimized” explained Peter Messana, CEO.  “It doesn’t stop with just tablets, we handle any size device and re-arrange and resize items as it is necessary, this is the ultimate flexibility out there and fast!”

The redesign of the site was handled by ACK’s internal development team in order to allow for full customization to match the needs of the customers and the business.

To view the new responsive mobile website, visit ACK.com with any smartphone device.

About MSP Holdings, LLC

MSP Holdings, LLC operates Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), an award-winning paddlesports and outdoor retailer and Rack Boys a vehicle rack and sports travel outfitter dedicated to providing exceptional customer service. Both retail outfits are based out of the central Texas area, with their respective online stores at www.AustinKayak.com and www.RackBoys.com and within five physical locations in Austin, San Marcos, Spring, Houston and San Antonio, Texas.

 

9 New Products at ACK.com That You Should Be Excited About

The ACK.com merchandising team is constantly finding and adding new products to the website year-round but as manufacturers prepare for 2014 this is the time of the year when we start to see some very exciting stuff heading our way. With so much awesome gear either in or on it’s way in, I decided to put together a list of top 9 products you should be excited about. Why? Because they are awesome.

9. SuperNova Lighting Kits – Make your ‘yak glow in the dark with these different lighting kits. Intended for anglers but useful for everyone.

Make your 'yak glow in the dark with these different lighting kits.

8. ACR Personal Locator Beacons (PLB) – Adventure with confidence with ACK’s new lineup of GPS-enabled rescue beacons.

ACR

7. Eureka’s Remote Controlled Warrior LED Lantern – A powerful lantern with a pocket sized remote control that also has a light on it.

Warrior Lantern

6. Camo Colored Costa Del Mar Polarized Sunglasses – Because everything is better in camo!

p_13575_700

5. Dagger’s new Katana Kayak – For the adventurer who wants to tackle whitewater and expedition style trips with one kayak.

Katana

4. Native Watercraft’s New Slayer Propel 13 Kayak – This is one kayak that anglers won’t want to miss.

3. A white colored BlackPak – Just because it’s called a BlackPak doesn’t mean it has to be black.

White BlackPak

2. The new Ovation Kayak Paddle from Werner Paddles – At only 22.75 ounces this thing is seriously light.

Werner Ovation

1. Paddle Britches – Store your emergency paddle or fishing rod and keep it in hand’s reach, plus everyone will ask why you have pants on your kayak’s bow.

Paddle Brithces

 Remember to stay updated on all of the new gear headed for ACK.com by visiting our new products page. Let us know if you saw something you liked!