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  1. #101
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    Here's what I don't get about a lot of shops:
    All you hear is the complaints about small margins on hardgoods etc. etc.

    So why not partner with a bigger online entity and keep a very limited stock on hand, then staff up on service? You could cross-promote with the online entity, so anyone with and address in the area gets your name as a good place to go for service when they order from BC.com or similar.
    You get to make your money on service and add-on/impulse sales while they're in the shop (which is what makes shops money anyway) while not having to worry about carrying a massive inventory.

  2. #102
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    Feb 2010
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    I could be mistaken but I'm pretty sure places liked Backcountry, Evo, and others are required to have at least one brick and mortar store. They normally make one pretty big, pretty awesome shop, that is more of a show room to promote their image. You don't see them making a bunch of these, moosejaw excluded. My point is I don't really see the incentive for those places to team up with a shop and share any business. Seems like more trouble then its worth.

    In that case places like backcountry would be acting more like a wholesaler to the retail shop which isn't part of their business model. If they're not selling the product at full retail or at least MAP, its in their best interest to sell that stuff off at big discounts to consumers. This would make them the same or more money as selling it to shops at wholesale prices and more importantly build a relationship with the consumer by giving them a really good deal that they are likely to tell their friends about spreading more interest in the business and encouraging return business next time that person is looking for product X.
    Last edited by Wired2theT; 05-28-2013 at 12:15 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by bite me View Post
    Texas is better than Hell? Maybe I'm not familiar enough with Hell, but it would be hard to imagine it being worse than Texas.

  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by schuss View Post
    Here's what I don't get about a lot of shops:
    All you hear is the complaints about small margins on hardgoods etc. etc.

    So why not partner with a bigger online entity and keep a very limited stock on hand, then staff up on service? You could cross-promote with the online entity, so anyone with and address in the area gets your name as a good place to go for service when they order from BC.com or similar.
    You get to make your money on service and add-on/impulse sales while they're in the shop (which is what makes shops money anyway) while not having to worry about carrying a massive inventory.
    That's actually a great idea for a business model. BC.com could reimburse the shop for services like mounts and service. Cut down on returns by offering repair services from local shops. In return, retail merchandise could be "ordered" and match the return policy of bc.com while still being purchased in person by the consumer. I like it.

  4. #104
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    Oct 2003
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    Seattle
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    Quote Originally Posted by ULLRismyco-pilot View Post
    That's actually a great idea for a business model. BC.com could reimburse the shop for services like mounts and service. Cut down on returns by offering repair services from local shops. In return, retail merchandise could be "ordered" and match the return policy of bc.com while still being purchased in person by the consumer. I like it.
    This reminds me of how REI works with being able to order online and then do pick ups/returns at the store. The idea of the partnership between the local service shop and the distributor does seem like a really good idea.

  5. #105
    Hugh Conway Guest
    someone who then worked for bc.com was asking questions along those lines like 8-10 years ago.

    nothing happened from it.

    Wired2theT - glad you get customers that way. The people I encounter paying full price for everything all buy it online.

  6. #106
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    Like QBP opening up a distribution center in Ogden to compete with what is essentially overnight shipping from BTI in Santa Fe?

    I don't know how returns would work but if I order it through the store the shop guy should know if it's what I need.

  7. #107
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
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    403
    I've heard that at shops before. I think it sounds silly now because of the ubiquity of internet retail outfits... like why would you need a shop to order something if you can do it yourself?

    Of course, in fairness to them they are trying to lock in a sale, under the pretense of "helping you out."

    I have found that some ski shops are trying even harder now to sell you anything, and everything they can, because they need all the support they can get in the shadow of the internet retail giants. It really makes me question some advice I get at ski shops. They will try to milk you.

    I was even milked for 20 extra bucks for a "special" Wintersteiger grind, even though the clerk rung me up for that specific grind and charged me one price.

  8. #108
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    Jan 2009
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    It's a frustrating conundrum for sure. I managed a retailer for a long time and had to order my share of product for folks. In doing so you always have to give the customer some added value in order to make it worthwhile to order through me and not the internets. Be it free installation, excellent return policy etc. If a shop is constantly having to order product and not providing any value to make up for it then they deserve to lose the sale.

    I now work on the other end for a manufacturer who makes a lot of great products. We offer our dealers the best margins/terms in the industry so its frustrating to see dealers who want our support without committing to the product line. We were built on specialty shops but when one doesn't support us or their customers its hard to go to bat for them or not want to sell to the consumer direct (which we've refrained from) although we have gone deeper in to the box stores and bc.com as a result.

    My .02 cents

  9. #109
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    Oct 2005
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    Found an item I want to check out and probably buy (cash in pocket going into the store). Found the only authorized dealer within 200 miles from the manufacturer's website and went to the store. Took awhile to get someone to help me and of course they didn't have what I wanted but could "special order it for me" with shipping, tax, and a restock fee if I ended up not liking it. Be here in a couple weeks he says.

    Just ordered it online with a 10% off code, no taxes, free two day shipping, and a no questions asked return policy. Not blaming the shop but they were not to happy when I said I was going to look online first before having them order it. I didn't even try to buy online before giving them first crack at it. For the record, when I saw this particular shop was the only dealer around, I was not too happy as I've never had a good experience there.

  10. #110
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    marine shops been doing the "no, but we can order that for you" for years.
    drove me nuts
    b
    .

  11. #111
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    Jan 2008
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    truckee
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    Every year the fraternity my sons were in does a coast to coast charity bike ride. Takes 2 months. This year one of the riders crashed on day two and broke both shifters (SRAM). He took it to City Bike Works in Sacramento--the shifters were repairable but the parts were no where to be found in Sacramento. So the tech took the parts off a new bike and the kid is on his way again (unless he crashes again). I figured that kind of service deserved a six pack--hope the tech likes hef. (Any opinions on the best universal beer style for ski and bike techs, bootfitters, etc? Everyone says give 'em beer but what kind? The last bootfitter I went to liked cookies, not beer.)

  12. #112
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    Oct 2003
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    Banff
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    ask the tech what beer they like. Or at least quantity vs quality. I usually answer with "dark and interesting" for beer.


  13. #113
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    Feb 2010
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    20's work just as good as beer these days$$$$
    b
    .

  14. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by Conundrum View Post
    Found an item I want to check out and probably buy (cash in pocket going into the store). Found the only authorized dealer within 200 miles from the manufacturer's website and went to the store. Took awhile to get someone to help me and of course they didn't have what I wanted but could "special order it for me" with shipping, tax, and a restock fee if I ended up not liking it. Be here in a couple weeks he says.

    Just ordered it online with a 10% off code, no taxes, free two day shipping, and a no questions asked return policy. Not blaming the shop but they were not to happy when I said I was going to look online first before having them order it. I didn't even try to buy online before giving them first crack at it. For the record, when I saw this particular shop was the only dealer around, I was not too happy as I've never had a good experience there.
    I would go MSRP, no higher. I can actually see the restock fee, since the retailer would have to eat any shipping fees for a special order item if I were to buy from them. It is hard to beat internet sales though. Keep in mind they are killing the local venders

  15. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post
    someone who then worked for bc.com was asking questions along those lines like 8-10 years ago.

    nothing happened from it.
    Well, sort of. When we were all new at the game and didn't quite know how it was all gonna shake out a program was started. When I had my shop I had worked out with BC and Evo that if they had skis, bindings, boots, snowboards or anything that needed trained service to be usable headed to select zip codes that I chose they would refer the customer to me if the customer needed assistance after the initial sale. They would even ship the stuff to the shop so I could mount and prep it and have it ready for the customer to pick up on their schedule. Unfortunately that didn't last long and I closed the shop about two years later but it was a good idea and should be explored again. People liked that they didn't have to deal with their stuff and I got full price for service work as well as the opportunity to introduce them to a new shop that sold and serviced many things they wanted and needed but didn't know about. The auto repair shop I've been going to for 15 years is constantly having stuff sent directly to him from Tire Rack and other online parts places so he can install them so the program is an accepted thing now and the sporting goods industry really needs to look into it again.

    A few of you touched on the showrooming issue that we are dealing with. This is one of the biggest hurdles now to stores stocking the things the consumer thinks they want. We bring it in because it's a good product, it has the cool factor and advertising to support it so it should sell quite well. You (the consumer) come in to check it out and take time with our salesperson learning about it and now you have all the info you need to make sure it's compatible with your setup and that it is indeed what you want. Then you Red Laser it and find that it is available for a few dollars less with no sales tax and free shipping and you realize that you can install it sufficiently well on your own. I've just payed that person to teach you, payed for the product and the space to display it but you didn't buy it. That was a rotten way for us to find out that we don't like you but we did learn that we don't need to help you next time you come in to visit the store. We also learned to put our store price tag over the bar code so you have to put forth additional effort to do your research and we also learned that we don't need to order that product again unless it's prepaid and there is an agreed upon restock fee.

  16. #116
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    Nov 2011
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    Saw an interesting story yesterday. Bridal shops charging to try on dresses. Maybe thats the new model ... you'll be charged to come in to the store to check stuff out and then that money would be deducted from something you buy, if not, the store keeps it.....?

  17. #117
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    Oct 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jethro View Post
    I would go MSRP, no higher. I can actually see the restock fee, since the retailer would have to eat any shipping fees for a special order item if I were to buy from them. It is hard to beat internet sales though. Keep in mind they are killing the local venders
    It was a difference of $80 and the internet didn't give me any attitude. Plus, if I end up not liking the product and bought local, I would have been out about $40 just to touch it. Online-no risk and an extra $80 in my pocket. If the shop monkey would have at least been halfway cool, I probably would have had them order it.

  18. #118
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    Oct 2007
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    8,203
    Quote Originally Posted by Conundrum View Post
    It was a difference of $80 and the internet didn't give me any attitude. Plus, if I end up not liking the product and bought local, I would have been out about $40 just to touch it. Online-no risk and an extra $80 in my pocket. If the shop monkey would have at least been halfway cool, I probably would have had them order it.
    Yeah, that's one of the best parts of shopping online, and worst thing that is killing the shops. Interacting with the shop dudes. Now don't get me wrong, they aren't all bad, but some shop employees just don't get that they are there to help, not talk about how cool they are, or wow you with their intimate knowledge of shit you don't care about.

    If I'm asking about gear ratios and shifters on a $3000 dollar bike for my wife, don't go into a story about how you ride a singlespeed and gear don't matter. Jeezus! It's not about you, you need some attention, call your mom.

  19. #119
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    Quote Originally Posted by gravitylover View Post
    Well, sort of. When we were all new at the game and didn't quite know how it was all gonna shake out a program was started. When I had my shop I had worked out with BC and Evo that if they had skis, bindings, boots, snowboards or anything that needed trained service to be usable headed to select zip codes that I chose they would refer the customer to me if the customer needed assistance after the initial sale. They would even ship the stuff to the shop so I could mount and prep it and have it ready for the customer to pick up on their schedule. Unfortunately that didn't last long and I closed the shop about two years later but it was a good idea and should be explored again. People liked that they didn't have to deal with their stuff and I got full price for service work as well as the opportunity to introduce them to a new shop that sold and serviced many things they wanted and needed but didn't know about. The auto repair shop I've been going to for 15 years is constantly having stuff sent directly to him from Tire Rack and other online parts places so he can install them so the program is an accepted thing now and the sporting goods industry really needs to look into it again.

    A few of you touched on the showrooming issue that we are dealing with. This is one of the biggest hurdles now to stores stocking the things the consumer thinks they want. We bring it in because it's a good product, it has the cool factor and advertising to support it so it should sell quite well. You (the consumer) come in to check it out and take time with our salesperson learning about it and now you have all the info you need to make sure it's compatible with your setup and that it is indeed what you want. Then you Red Laser it and find that it is available for a few dollars less with no sales tax and free shipping and you realize that you can install it sufficiently well on your own. I've just payed that person to teach you, payed for the product and the space to display it but you didn't buy it. That was a rotten way for us to find out that we don't like you but we did learn that we don't need to help you next time you come in to visit the store. We also learned to put our store price tag over the bar code so you have to put forth additional effort to do your research and we also learned that we don't need to order that product again unless it's prepaid and there is an agreed upon restock fee.
    Yeah, I can see this model working really well, as the biggest problem is finding a good service shop. I imagine what kills most shops is the overhead of expensive stock. Imagine if you just had some loaners that you end up sending back to the various vendors you work with for resale as demos, with the only stock on hand service supplies and consumables? Small overhead, good margins, service focus. Have a touchscreen in the shop if they want to order and have it delivered to your shop (or their house, you don't care).
    Etailers would be able to put a local spin on sales and get better feedback and data about what's happening in various regions. Win-Win.

  20. #120
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
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    where the beer flows like wine
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    this has turned into a very productive thread and worth reading.

    I own a shop and run two websites (backcountryacks.com and backcountryfreeskier.com).

    we only have the floor space and cash to stock the best/most popular items from our vendors. we do order products from time to time but we never charge for shipping or tax and we always provide assembly and/or installation.

    99% of sales have some discount. the internet has guaranteed that customers won't pay MSRP for anything.

    I have been mulling over the "showroom with service" idea for years now but haven't done anything about it. the shop would consist of a few displays and demos with interactive kiosks for customers to shop on. all products would have 360 views, videos, and reviews. orders would have to ship to the shop and we would provide some kind of service, and knowledge to complete the sale.

    do you guys really think something like this would actually work? if you walked into a shop that had nothing for you to take home that day, why not just buy online? seems like the "shop" would have to be in a small space with high traffic, like a mall, which would suck.

    if any mags are ever in Missoula, stop in the shop for a beer. There are no bro-brahs working here.
    Big skis from small companies at Backcountry Freeskier

  21. #121
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    The key is to have some level of stock so people could put their hands on something or size appropriately. You'd also need some sort of special incentive from your online partner (IE, a revolving 10% coupon or something).
    For example, say you choose ski boots as a product. You'd still need to stock most of the sizes, but instead of letting someone take them, you'd say "OK, now go put your info in the kiosk and we can pick this up in a day or two, or you can pay $50 more and get them today"

    If you can get it to work, it's also great for impulse buys, as you'd get 2 visits per paying customer (in most cases)

  22. #122
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    Oct 2007
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    You could even have a demo fleet that customers could use until their item arrived and was set up for them. Reducing inventory in the shop to grab and go items and stuff you know will sell. Then sell the demo items at the end of season.

  23. #123
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    May 2006
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    imho you have to take into account that there are customers who already know what they want and thus won't pay for your traditional "added value" of information/expertise etc. These guys already have it, they just want/need product at the best price and best timing.

    I believe these are the guys who would respond to the "kiosk/showroom shop" model the best. I am in the market for new ski boots, I know what I like and from my time spent here at TGR, I know what is available. I sure as shit am not going to spend full retail at a local shop, but wouldn't mind paying a bit over "rock bottom internet" to get to try them on in a cool shop then complete my own order online from a terminal by the window. I like the idea of delivery to the shop so you have to come back in too - then you might sell me some gloves or wax or a tune etc...

    I love this idea, but I really don't think it would be effective for the bread and butter of the ski shops of today, which I assume is still the family/uninformed consumer/one trip a year skier needing a whole new setup for xmas week?!?
    ... jfost is really ignorant, he often just needs simple facts laid out for him...

  24. #124
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    I've worked in ski shops, the two biggest in the area, and think it is funny that people are surprised when the shop does not carry everything from every brand in the store. Also, thought it was funny that people would drive an hour or longer for a specific item, without calling to check if it was in stock, and then blame the sales floor people for it. Not that hard to call.

    For me, ordering online is most convenient, and I order a ton of crap from Amazon prime, but for things like skis I want to hand fuck the shit out of it before I buy it, and talk to people who have used it. That is where local shops come in, and I am willing to go with something else if they have a decent reason for not carrying it. Often, the sales folk don't always agree with the online reviews, and the face to face will give you a much better idea of what products is like on slope.

    I also understand that the margin is shit on most hardgoods, because of this I am willing to eat a bit of value on accessories to help the shops out for the value they provide on hardgoods purchases.

  25. #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfost View Post
    imho you have to take into account that there are customers who already know what they want and thus won't pay for your traditional "added value" of information/expertise etc. These guys already have it, they just want/need product at the best price and best timing.

    I believe these are the guys who would respond to the "kiosk/showroom shop" model the best. I am in the market for new ski boots, I know what I like and from my time spent here at TGR, I know what is available. I sure as shit am not going to spend full retail at a local shop, but wouldn't mind paying a bit over "rock bottom internet" to get to try them on in a cool shop then complete my own order online from a terminal by the window. I like the idea of delivery to the shop so you have to come back in too - then you might sell me some gloves or wax or a tune etc...

    I love this idea, but I really don't think it would be effective for the bread and butter of the ski shops of today, which I assume is still the family/uninformed consumer/one trip a year skier needing a whole new setup for xmas week?!?
    Most people I have dealt with in shops prefer to walk out with the product that day.

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