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Thread: LBS rant

  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    How many customers on an annual basis are being lost due to pricing? How many typical LBS customers even care about getting 10% off? How many are asking and getting denied? Again, if you read my post before this one, most customers at LBSs just go in and buy what they want, just like at any other kind of store.
    I think you're in for a surprise, if you actually believe what you just wrote

    Bike shops are closing left and right, and you can be pretty sure that cost is on the top 3 of the reasons.

    Just look around, and you'll see that most people are not exactly swimming in money, so that they can go online and get the same part/bike for like 30% less, sure has a massive impact on where people are shopping.
    Be that the enthusiast, or the regular daily commuter.



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  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Magura View Post
    I think you're in for a surprise, if you actually believe what you just wrote

    Bike shops are closing left and right, and you can be pretty sure that cost is on the top 3 of the reasons.

    Just look around, and you'll see that most people are not exactly swimming in money, so that they can go online and get the same part/bike for like 30% less, sure has a massive impact on where people are shopping.
    Be that the enthusiast, or the regular daily commuter.



    Magura
    I do believe what I wrote. My point was that your average person that walks into a shop is not going to leave empty handed to run to his computer and order online b/c he thinks that the shop charges MSRP. They may not be in the market for a bike right now b/c times are tough; taking 10% off isn't going to get that person to buy b/c they aren't going to buy at 20% off....they are broke/scared of loosing their job. Bike shops are closing b/c in this economy, things like bikes etc. are luxuries for most folks. Some bike shops are also closing b/c the people running many of them don't know how to run a business. The shop I worked in during college and that I now frequent as a customer just opened another location last year; they don't discount anything. You have to protect your margins and give good customer service; that is how you get folks in the door and spending money in your shop, even in a downturned economy. Yes, some shops are loosing some business to the online experience and I think the ones that are cater more towards the higher end enthusiast.
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  3. #53
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    My point is there are a lot of people that don't even step into a LBS to give them a chance because they know they're overpriced. I would say cost is right up there with the "good service" that a LBS provides, in terms of getting customers in the door.

    Those customers would visit the LBS more if prices were better. I know I would.

  4. #54
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    Can you give me a specific example of something that could be priced better that would get you to visit your shop more often?
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    Can you give me a specific example of something that could be priced better that would get you to visit your shop more often?
    .....and therefore we end up with the Wal-Mart shopping dilemma.

    -S

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    Can you give me a specific example of something that could be priced better that would get you to visit your shop more often?
    Hydration backpacks, gloves, tubes, helmets, sunglasses, clothing, shoes, protective gear, bike parts/components, etc...
    Not to mention they'd see me for the largest purchases.....complete bikes

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badmeat View Post
    My point is there are a lot of people that don't even step into a LBS to give them a chance because they know they're overpriced. I would say cost is right up there with the "good service" that a LBS provides, in terms of getting customers in the door.

    Those customers would visit the LBS more if prices were better. I know I would.
    they aren't overpriced. they charge what they have to so they can pay the bills. they know they have a limited customer base to draw upon. it's been said before, but the MSRP that the small shop pays is often more than what you can find an item listed for online. how do they compete on price? they can't. so for the customer whose primary concern is price, the LBS will never win. and they shouldn't waste their time trying to win that customer because it's a losing proposition. not everybody wants to expand into a chain or an internet mail order house. it's not like there's unlimited market space for internet bike parts dealers, anyway, so not every shop CAN do that.

    where the LBS can win is convenience (the customer can get the item NOW, important for repair issues), customer service (help the customer choose the best product for their needs/wants, help with warranty, etc), service dept (and you wonder why service costs are rising?), and misc items (basic maintenance classes, spin classes, coffee bar, other unique income streams like selling fitness equipment or ski equipment or whatever in the offseason).

    I've noticed my LBS take off after the university campus rec center started renting bikes. they bought all their bikes from the shop, and send them all to the shop for maintenance. that contract has to be a big deal for them. but the owner also closed his other shop in the next town over, and he was the only shop there. his one little shop now serves several counties almost exclusively. I'd bet part of his expansion plan (he will be adding outdoor gear, including backpacking gear and guns, as well as services to hunters that include mounting gun sights) includes selling some backpacking gear to the university for their rentals.

    IMO, if government officials were really interested in throwing small business owners a bone, it would help level the playing field between the small guy and the big buy by limiting price drops for volume orders.

  8. #58
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    Badmeat, give me the price for a specific hydration pack and tubes at your LBS, and then what you would pay online or at another shop that may have better prices.
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  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badmeat View Post
    Hydration backpacks, gloves, tubes, helmets, sunglasses, clothing, shoes, protective gear, bike parts/components, etc...
    Not to mention they'd see me for the largest purchases.....complete bikes
    To re-iterate this, the money I just spent ordering a helmet, shorts, multi tool, knee protection, and gloves would have been spent locally. Do you think I would like to give the LBS the profits from my order? Absolutely. But I'm not going to spend an extra $75-$100 to do so. That's just a poor economical decision.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    so for the customer whose primary concern is price, the LBS will never win. and they shouldn't waste their time trying to win that customer because it's a losing proposition.
    You got it. For the few folks to come in and then leave b/c they can get it at Pricepoint for $10 less, you don't drop your margin for all the other customers that happily pay what you are asking. You smile and try to get them to become customers as best you can but you can't ruin your business for a few folks.

    BTW - I regularly shop at:

    Performance - great for small stuff, Gu, etc. I love whipping out my membership card
    REI - good for clothing or things that I want the guarantee that I can take back.
    LBS - big stuff or when I want to BS with the people that work there. Also buy small stuff there.
    Online @ Pricepoint, Jenson, etc. for things that the first 2 would have to order anyway.
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  11. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badmeat View Post
    To re-iterate this, the money I just spent ordering a helmet, shorts, multi tool, knee protection, and gloves would have been spent locally. Do you think I would like to give the LBS the profits from my order? Absolutely. But I'm not going to spend an extra $75-$100 to do so. That's just a poor economical decision.



    Continually sending money out of your communities is a "poor economic decision".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Badmeat View Post
    To re-iterate this, the money I just spent ordering a helmet, shorts, multi tool, knee protection, and gloves would have been spent locally. Do you think I would like to give the LBS the profits from my order? Absolutely. But I'm not going to spend an extra $75-$100 to do so. That's just a poor economical decision.
    Believe me, I understand. What I am trying to get from you is the actual price difference for some of the items you mentioned.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ.MTNS View Post
    Continually sending money out of your communities is a "poor economic decision".
    I live in northern KY. Most of my LBS are in Ohio. Please tell me how not giving them, who are located in another city/state, affects me more than giving it to an e-tailer in California.

    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    Badmeat, give me the price for a specific hydration pack and tubes at your LBS, and then what you would pay online or at another shop that may have better prices.
    Here's an example. This hydra-pak is at my LBS for $85
    Hydrapak Lone Pine Hydration Pack: Black/Green: 70oz

    If I were to purchase just this, yes, I'd probably just go to the LBS and pick it up. But when I'm ordering hundreds in bike gear, I'm going to shop around. That's what I do...find the deals. I just ordered a Fox Flux helmet for $55 shipped. I know that no LBS in my area has them for that price.

    My local motorcycle shop, which I've referenced before, gets ALL of my business. I don't even price shop them because I know they're competitive. I totaled it up with the owners one day- over $9,000 spent in their store since I started shopping there in 2006. They've earned my business through all 5 motorcycles I've owned and I love the advice they give me. If they weren't priced competitively, I'd view them just like every other motorcycle dealership in the area (they don't sell bikes, btw. Just clothing/gear/parts/service). It started as a father/son business and they just simply understand that you need to be competitive with your prices in order to take a chunk of your local biker's business away from e-tailers. Now they have the most in-stock selection in Cincinnati that you can put your hands on, as a consumer. Tons of jackets, helmets, boots, gloves, etc...

    IMO, if the LBS continues to charge retail, because they believe they have to, in order to keep the doors open, the doors are going to close. There's this thing called the internet...and people use it.

    There is a LBS in the area that I will spend my money at for service that I can't do myself. They're knowledgeable and priced fair, so they'll see my business. They also run specials and 'deal days' throughout the year. They get it.

  14. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badmeat View Post
    My point is there are a lot of people that don't even step into a LBS to give them a chance because they know they're overpriced. I would say cost is right up there with the "good service" that a LBS provides, in terms of getting customers in the door.

    Those customers would visit the LBS more if prices were better. I know I would.
    Both having worked at, and working at a shop, I don't think it quite works that way.

    Overpriced is a relative term. Maybe 1 out of every 10 people understand that there is a serious difference between a bike from a bike shop and one from walmart, target, or toy'r'us. To all those other people, it's just sticker shock; 'how can the same thing be worth 3 times (or higher!) more than another bike...after all, it's just a toy.' Once you talk to them, many will understand that it's like comparing a Daewoo and a Toyota.

    Affluence of an area affects what/how much stuff is sold for. I love Brooks saddles, but there is no way the places I have worked would stock them. Meanwhile, the place the next town over has a rack of them.

    Now, stock aside, the vast majority of people that come in to the shop are either looking for service, or a bike. The former are likely to leave the bike (assuming they didn't call and ask for service charges) regardless of the cost. They will come back because of good service, as why go to a different shop if you are happy with what you got from the one you visited first (regardless of whether or not the other shop is cheaper; they wouldn't know, as they didn't bother going there because of your good service.).

    If they are looking for a bike, well, I see two broad types of buyers. The browser, who doesn't know what brands you carry, and just wants to see what you have. If you convince them that your bike is better than the shop down the street, or comes with perks, maybe they will be more inclined to buy a bike. Brand doesn't really matter to the browser. Maybe they know about Trek or Specialized (maybe Schwinn) but to them, a bike is likely a bike, not an [insert brand here]. How much does price matter to the browser? Probably not a lot, if it is their first bike. They will buy what they are comfortable buying (usually an 'entry level' bike). After their first bike, they become the:

    Enthusiast. This is the guy that seeks out your shop specifically because you carry [x] brand. They want to talk about what makes what bike special. They are usually, but not always, looking for a deal. Maybe you can offer them one, maybe you point out one of your NOS (new, old stock) bikes. I usually see this kind of customer a few times before they purchase something.

    Regardless of the customer, I never offer a deal straight away. Discounts off the price right away? That's a sale, and I'll gladly point out what is on sale to you. Maybe they are a repeat customer, maybe they are new. If they ask for a deal, sure, we can talk, and we may even be able to reach an agreement, be it with the bike, or accessories. But it is still a business. My paycheck gets affected by the amount of bargaining that goes on, and I want as much as I can get for my hobbies.

    TL;DR -- people at the bike shop work for money not for love of bikes, though the two often overlap. Discounts and deals mean less dough.

    P.S. Your motorcycle shop sounds awesome, but, to me, it sounds like you know the people who run it quite well (and that's worth something).

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    [QUOTE=Badmeat;9908391]I live in northern KY. Most of my LBS are in Ohio. Please tell me how not giving them, who are located in another city/state, affects me more than giving it to an e-tailer in California.[QUOTE]




    If you cannot see how siphoning money away from the community is bad then any explanation would be far beyond comprehension for you.

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    I am in no way shape or form dependent on Joe Schmoe's bike shop in another state being successful.
    What you're failing to comprehend is that it's not "my community"

    Price more competitively, and more customers will come. Word of mouth travels fast. I've sent 50+ people to Thw shop I'm referencing for motorcycle stuff and personally walked 5 thru their door who dropped $300+ on gear when they first acquired a bike. One of which was a manager at a local repair shop who now orders all their atv an motorcycle tires through them now since their prices are so good. All of that started because I was researching Suomy helmet prices online and searched for a nearby dealer. Walked in and they set me up with a $360 msrp helmet, with tinted visor, visor bag, and cleaner for $360 out the door. I've been a loyal customer since.

    I'm done debating. No one here is ok with walking into a car dealership an paying sticker. We all know there's a deal to be had.
    Last edited by Badmeat; 11-26-2012 at 06:15 PM.

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    It's always a good practice to buy things you want, but not when you need them This way you can shop around. I'd just ask all of the question I have about the bike, the service and warranty, I'll make them sell their products to me. If they are the only show in town I'll consider it, if not I'll shop around for better package. The minute you paid there's no incentive to offer you any more extra service or discount.

    When you buy things you need urgently, be prepared to pay premium

    Like AZ said op bought 7 bikes from them without any problem, why now?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Badmeat View Post
    I am in no way shape or form dependent on Joe Schmoe's bike shop in another state being successful.
    What you're failing to comprehend is that it's not "my community"

    Price more competitively, and more customers will come. Word of mouth travels fast. I've sent 50+ people to Thw shop I'm referencing for motorcycle stuff and personally walked 5 thru their door who dropped $300+ on gear when they first acquired a bike. One of which was a manager at a local repair shop who now orders all their atv an motorcycle tires through them now since their prices are so good. All of that started because I was researching Suomy helmet prices online and searched for a nearby dealer. Walked in and they set me up with a $360 msrp helmet, with tinted visor, visor bag, and cleaner for $360 out the door. I've been a loyal customer since.

    I'm done debating. No one here is ok with walking into a car dealership an paying sticker. We all know there's a deal to be had.
    Not that simple, business location, the margins that may not make up for increased volume, and so on. What you are stating is extremely idealistic. You are assuming a huge cycling base. Customers that need to and want to buy parts all the time. Even if the LBS was priced 10% cheaper, why would I buy it at a bike shop when I can order it online for STILL 70% of what it costs at the bike shop, not to mention I can make sure I order the RIGHT parts and have them QUICKER than the bike shop, which usually waits weekly or bi-weekly till they fill up an QBP or BTI order. I can sit here and go to the websites and see if the parts are in stock, whereas the LBS had to make sometimes several calls to see if QBP or BTI has the parts in stock, as bike shops rarely have some of our specialized parts in stock due to how specific they are (do they stock every single derailer shimano, Campy and Sram make? That right there could end up being $4000 worth of inventory, $3500 of which will sit there all year? Take it from those of us that have worked in shops, ordered the parts wholesale, dealt with BTI and QBP, and so on. It's not what you think.

    You also can't just "chop prices" and expect more business. It might help, but it might not be a big enough difference, and you might have made your economic situation even WORSE or you start going into the negative, because that 10% was your profit when subtracting the revenue, and the increased volume doesn't make up for it. Too many assumptions.

    A few people above nailed it. Bike shops can not and should not be trying to compete with the big e retailers. It's hard to comprehend, but QBP and BTI charge bike shops MORE to buy certain things wholesale than they sell for from Jenson and others from time to time. Why? Because Jenson buys a bulk amount of derailer overstock straight from Giant, or they may be able to offer a few of the newest shimano derailers for cheaper for a little while to get people interested, which isn't hard when you sell thousands of units vs. maybe 10 XT derailers/year at a bike shop. Yes, they are often the same parts, but you just can't compare.

    What bike shops need to do, other than complain or go out of business, is find new ways to attract business. The whole idea that a business can sit there and do what they've always done and be indefinitely successful is flawed. Someone will ALWAYS come along and do whatever it is for cheaper, or quicker, etc. The only constant in business is change, and you have to be willing to change and be innovative to stay successful, otherwise someone WILL eventually come along and "take" your business. This means find new markets, find new ways to advertise, sponsor local events, get involved, scour BTI and QBP to find "deals" (they have them from time to time) on specific components they might be able to move (but due to the demographics, this may not work for all), skills clinics, basic repair and upkeep, and so on. Those are ALL the areas where a big store can't compete, and those things will bring in business and build the loyalty, far better than a slight price drop that might force the business to close in the first place.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mimi1885 View Post

    When you buy things you need urgently, be prepared to pay premium

    Like AZ said op bought 7 bikes from them without any problem, why now?
    And if you need it by a certain date, you'll never get it
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    Quote Originally Posted by Badmeat View Post
    Hydration backpacks, gloves, tubes, helmets, sunglasses, clothing, shoes, protective gear, bike parts/components, etc...
    Not to mention they'd see me for the largest purchases.....complete bikes
    This is why my preferred (out of 3) LBS doesn't want to get into retail. He focuses on service and custom builds. And has a kegerator.

    There is no way he could compete on optics or packs, to take two of your categories. And consider how many high-end choices there are in packs, for example- Camelbak, Osprey, Dakine... and I have an EVOC. Saying "just sell what you like" doesn't satisfy Internet/forum nerds like us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    So if your boss asked you if it's cool to pay you 20% less one month, is that cool?
    This is such a lame comparison.....

    First, when I worked for someone other than myself....I made myself so valuable to my company that our CEO knew if he tampered with my compensation plan for no good reason, I'd call our three largest competitors and have two offers in 24 hours...making more money. However, the situtation would never happen because we needed each other, respected each other and cultivated a relationship of mutual respect from day one. I earned the right to ask full MSRP for my skill set in the market place. A relationship between a retailer and customer should be no different. A retailer earns the right to get full MSRP, if they offer only an average experience or value in the customers eyes...then let the discounting begin.

    A wise retailer will never discount the price as this cheapens or lessens the value of the bike, its better to ADD value to the transaction if need be by adding something of value. Helmet, pedals, shoes, tires, bibs, etc, gloves, etc.

    Crappy bike shops think they are doing you a favor allowing you to buy things from them.

    Average bike shops think they are in the business of selling bikes, parts and service and do an average job of meeting your expectations...nothing extra.

    Good bike shops always meet your expectations and sometimes exceed them.

    Outstanding bike shops sell you an experience and admission to a lifestyle. They welcome you to become a member their "tribe" and then do what it takes to keep you a member, the bike is merely the vehicle which ushers in the experience...these shops are rare indeed but they "get it". They understand that they are not in the business of selling bikes...its actually much more than that.
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  22. #72
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    Everyone should read this first
    Lets continue this conversation latter after everyone is up to speed on their homework


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    [QUOTE=roadie scum;9908410][QUOTE=Badmeat;9908391]I live in northern KY. Most of my LBS are in Ohio. Please tell me how not giving them, who are located in another city/state, affects me more than giving it to an e-tailer in California.




    If you cannot see how siphoning money away from the community is bad then any explanation would be far beyond comprehension for you.
    Wow, the self righteous drivel you spout is utterly amazing...LOL Now shake your clenched fist at the computer screen and go with AZ.MTNS to pick up trash in your community. What a DB!!!!

  24. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    I do believe what I wrote. My point was that your average person that walks into a shop is not going to leave empty handed to run to his computer and order online b/c he thinks that the shop charges MSRP. They may not be in the market for a bike right now b/c times are tough; taking 10% off isn't going to get that person to buy b/c they aren't going to buy at 20% off....they are broke/scared of loosing their job. Bike shops are closing b/c in this economy, things like bikes etc. are luxuries for most folks. Some bike shops are also closing b/c the people running many of them don't know how to run a business. The shop I worked in during college and that I now frequent as a customer just opened another location last year; they don't discount anything. You have to protect your margins and give good customer service; that is how you get folks in the door and spending money in your shop, even in a downturned economy. Yes, some shops are loosing some business to the online experience and I think the ones that are cater more towards the higher end enthusiast.
    Funny though, how Jenson and Chainreaction a thriving, and the bike shops are closing left and right?
    So according to you, it would be because 75% of the bike shops (approx. the percentage that has closed over the last 10 years around here) are very bad at running a business?
    I doubt it.
    What happens is, that the focus on price is massive, and online retailers has made it obvious that 30% under MSRP is possible, and quite common.
    To the vast majority of customers, a 20-30% discount makes a big difference.

    A friend of mine has a bike shop, selling trial stuff exclusively.
    He is like the motor bike shop mentioned previously in this thread, offering that bit more than the online shops, and at the same cost as shopping online.
    He lives quite well from this business.


    Magura

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    It's simply about knowing what your potential customers buying motives are and appealing to them.
    Cost is up at the top of the list.

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    I think a hybrid shop is really the only way to thrive. a real bike shop that does business online as well. A lot of them are implementing this model and I can't see why they wouldn't.


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    ^^^well said

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    Guys, there is NO WAY a LBS can compete on price. In fact I have worked in shops for the last 18 years and owned my own for 4 years. I routinely buy parts from chain reaction and ebay, even though I can get them from QBP, because their prices are well below my wholesale cost. I recently purchased a set of SRAM XX world cup brakes on ebay, new in the original boxes, for $299 for the complete set. My wholesale on these brakes is $222.00 per brake. If I were to listen to you guys, I should sell the brakes at my store for $299.00 and take a $175.00 loss just to compete? More and more shops will go under in the next year, then everybody will start complaining that they have to pay shipping for warranty returns.

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    [QUOTE=ramslam;9909652][QUOTE=roadie scum;9908410]
    Quote Originally Posted by Badmeat View Post
    I live in northern KY. Most of my LBS are in Ohio. Please tell me how not giving them, who are located in another city/state, affects me more than giving it to an e-tailer in California.

    Wow, the self righteous drivel you spout is utterly amazing...LOL Now shake your clenched fist at the computer screen and go with AZ.MTNS to pick up trash in your community. What a DB!!!!



    A question from one Texan to another, are you really that dense?

  30. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by ramslam View Post
    go with AZ.MTNS to pick up trash in your community.



    How about you doing it? Maybe give something back to earn your welfare check. Speaking of DB's.

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    If I bought ONE bike from my LBS and they were ***** to me or didn't help me out, I certainly wouldn't buy 6 more.

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    I wouldn't go back there either. That doesn't mean to "screw all LBSs". So, when you realized an online place screws you, are you going to say "screw all online places"?
    I've bought some 10 bikes over the years from our LBS, including 5 in the past 1.5 years. Has he been to my place of business to support me? No. But he gives me a lot of breaks on fixing the bikes and discounts on parts and accessories. Would I like him to support me too? Well, yes!! Hopefully he will but an online place NEVER WILL!!!!!!
    But I have gained customers from my relationship with him and biking and that would never happen with an online shop.
    2007 Cdale Caffeine 29er Lefty.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ramslam View Post
    [ go with AZ.MTNS to pick up trash in your community. What a DB!!!!



    You should try it sometime, it would beat sittin in your trailer didlin your sister/wife and picken your nose while you wait for this months assistance check. Besides that, I heard az is a prick to work with.

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    nvm.
    Last edited by literocola; 11-27-2012 at 12:12 PM.

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    Um, I think that post warrants its own thread

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    Quote Originally Posted by Badmeat View Post
    I live in northern KY. Most of my LBS are in Ohio. Please tell me how not giving them, who are located in another city/state, affects me more than giving it to an e-tailer in California..
    If I'm correct in my thinking of where you are at when you say N. KY. that means you live just south of Cincinnati.

    People who live in Cincinnati work in Covington/Florence/Newport areas of N. Ky, and vice versa. It's not as simple as saying that you live in Northern Kentucky in this case since Cincinnati, Florence, Newport, Covington (all those other small communities around here) all live and thrive off each other. If Cincinnati started having economic problems it would hurt a lot more than just Ohio.

    IMO it's local if you live within an hour of it, but then that's what happens when you grew up out west. Everything is local when the next town over is 30+ miles away.

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    So you understand that no one stocks BMX items because they stuck to their set ways of selling bikes, as they have the last 30 years. That inevitable fate is in store for the ones who continue to do so with road/mtb items.

    You have to understand the younger, tech savvy generation in order to appeal to them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Badmeat View Post
    You have to understand the younger, tech savvy generation in order to appeal to them.
    LMAO!

    If I ever saw a non-tech savvy generation, it would be the ones that are below 40 today (yes my own generation).
    Most of them couldn't fix a water boiler if their life depended from it
    ....and it just gets worse the younger they get.

    So in that regard, I think you're wrong. That the elite of riders frequently are pretty handy, is a different matter, it sure has nothing to do with the generation they're from.


    Magura

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    Here is another LBS concept that will gain loads of traction:

    The Bike Butler - Australia | Tailor-Made Bicycle Concierge & Service


    Magura

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    While I agree that online retailers have taken some of the business away from the LBS (and just about every other type of brick-and-mortar business), I still argue that with the right business model, a LBS can thrive as is evidenced by several shops in my area that continue to grow amidst the proliferation of online retailers. The ones that fail are likely trying to compete with the online guys which isn't possible on price alone or have poor customer service. Most shops now don't carry nearly the inventory of parts/accessories they once did and that is a direct result of folks buying online. For the average person, you still need to go to a shop if you want to:

    1) buy a bike (yes…I know…Bikes Direct..)
    2) have service done if you can't do it yourself
    3) buy clothing/helmets/shoes b/c most folks like to try these on before purchasing
    4) buy things you need immediately - lube, tools, tubes, Stan's etc.

    If I opened a shop, these are what I would focus on. When I chat with the fellow that owns the shop I go to and used to work at many years ago, we have talked about this very issue. He really isn't overly concerned about the business he looses to online retailers and doesn't price match with them..they are doing just fine. He also caters to customers looking to buy entry-to-mid level bikes. There is a correlation here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    Not that simple, business location, the margins that may not make up for increased volume, and so on. What you are stating is extremely idealistic. You are assuming a huge cycling base. Customers that need to and want to buy parts all the time. Even if the LBS was priced 10% cheaper, why would I buy it at a bike shop when I can order it online for STILL 70% of what it costs at the bike shop, not to mention I can make sure I order the RIGHT parts and have them QUICKER than the bike shop, which usually waits weekly or bi-weekly till they fill up an QBP or BTI order. I can sit here and go to the websites and see if the parts are in stock, whereas the LBS had to make sometimes several calls to see if QBP or BTI has the parts in stock, as bike shops rarely have some of our specialized parts in stock due to how specific they are (do they stock every single derailer shimano, Campy and Sram make? That right there could end up being $4000 worth of inventory, $3500 of which will sit there all year? Take it from those of us that have worked in shops, ordered the parts wholesale, dealt with BTI and QBP, and so on. It's not what you think.
    Jayhem, you are so right about special ordering. You really are better off most of the time just going online and ordering it yourself. Most shops know this and have adjusted their business accordingly. I remember placing those QBP orders...
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Magura View Post
    LMAO!

    If I ever saw a non-tech savvy generation, it would be the ones that are below 40 today (yes my own generation).
    Most of them couldn't fix a water boiler if their life depended from it
    ....and it just gets worse the younger they get.

    So in that regard, I think you're wrong. That the elite of riders frequently are pretty handy, is a different matter, it sure has nothing to do with the generation they're from.


    Magura
    I think he's referring more to the Internet junkies. Although who knows when Facebook will get an app integrated into them

  42. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Magura View Post
    LMAO!

    If I ever saw a non-tech savvy generation, it would be the ones that are below 40 today (yes my own generation).
    Most of them couldn't fix a water boiler if their life depended from it
    ....and it just gets worse the younger they get.

    So in that regard, I think you're wrong. That the elite of riders frequently are pretty handy, is a different matter, it sure has nothing to do with the generation they're from.


    Magura
    Usually I'm with you but experts and idiots abound in every generation. There are millions of masters in their trades under age 40 and many millions more very capable DIYers trying to save a buck on weekends. And tech of course means "tech". No one can argue that younger generations aren't more tech savvy. It's just a fact.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    He's obviously "tech savvy" hence he understood what I meant by "tech savvy"....errrrrr

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    I own a small motorcycle shop, not a bike shop, but it seems like a lot of people posting in this thread don't really understand what goes in to running a business.

    Customer service should always be the #1 priority, but this usually isn't related to pricing. A friendly attitude and making sure that a customer gets the best thing for their needs goes a long way. Sometimes this involves recommending a more expensive product, and sometimes it means telling them something might be overkill or a waste of money.

    Supply and demand plays the big role in pricing and what is available and in stock. Shops are going to stock things that they are able to move, and know what sells quickly. That shop may have known they could sell that bike at full MSRP in a couple of days without any effort, why would they intentionally lower their own profit?

    There are also a lot of expenses they have to cover to stay open. Rent, utilities, insurance, wages, inventory, etc, and they typically aren't making constant sales. In an average shop, they probably make a sale once every hour, and those typically aren't bikes, they are things like tubes, shorts, and brake cables.

    One thing I've realized is that customers with price as their biggest or only priority are generally a pain to deal with. They want you to do stuff for free all the time, aren't willing to pay for things that need to be done, or will go somewhere else to save $15.

    However, showing the customer that you value their business does go a long way. Sometimes this can be a discount or throwing an item for free, or taking an extra step in service such as adjusting the levers, seat height, etc for a customer, or swapping tires to something more suitable for local trails.

    Take care of your customers, but to stay in business you have to make money. I know I did far more "charity work" than I should have, but since I've cut back or stopped I haven't had any complaints.

  45. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by gatorgrizz27 View Post
    I own a small motorcycle shop, not a bike shop, but it seems like a lot of people posting in this thread don't really understand what goes in to running a business.

    Customer service should always be the #1 priority, but this usually isn't related to pricing. A friendly attitude and making sure that a customer gets the best thing for their needs goes a long way.

    This is where onlines can't compete.

    I owned a shop for many years and could never work enough hours to get caught up. We thrived despite the fact that online warehouses could often sell parts cheaper then I could get them wholesale. I attributed our success entirely to the above mentioned business model.

  46. #96
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    Just wondering, do bike shops pay for dealerships? I know in music retail if a shop wants to sell Fender or Martin or any other decent names they have to pay a big upfront fee then have some serious annual minimum order requirements.

  47. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by smithcreek View Post
    Just wondering, do bike shops pay for dealerships? I know in music retail if a shop wants to sell Fender or Martin or any other decent names they have to pay a big upfront fee then have some serious annual minimum order requirements.

    They don't pay for them but some of the top brands demand that you commit to a large minimum order per year, and some even demand a certain % of your accessories be their brand as well. This can effectively prevent smaller shops from carrying those brands.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    Believe me, I understand. What I am trying to get from you is the actual price difference for some of the items you mentioned.
    I wanted to buy some XT brakes, I needed them because my elixir levers had gone soft so it wasnt safe to ride. I was prepared to pay a premium over the online price so that I could ride that day.

    They quoted me $170 for a single brake (or $340 for 2 without labor). The online price was $234 for front and rear. I did end up getting an avid bleed kit for $50 which is about $35 online.

    I wanted to buy a tallboy LT aluminum. The bike shop wanted list ($3300) and wouldnt give any discounts so after tax $3572. Colorado cyclist had the LT carbon for $3800 so I got that instead.
    Last edited by goodmojo; 12-16-2012 at 11:29 PM.

  49. #99
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    I heard you mention back on page one you'd go across town and get bikes on discount without any negotiating? If it were me I would totally drop that shop and buy from the other people. I can't afford to buy from my shop so I use Craigslist and get better bikes for cheaper prices, you gotta know what you are looking at and inspect it. Are the shop people you get all your bikes from nice?

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    A different kind of rant: Lack of parts on hand.

    Went to 5 shops looking for a post mount adapter. First shop sold me one size too big. 2nd and 3rd didn't know what I was talking about. 4th knew but didn't have it in stock. Last shop, a small neighborhood shop, had one and sold it to me for $5.

    Each shop that did not have it said they could order it. Why would I want them to order it when I could do it myself? I was willing to pay over retail for it just to have it that day. Not the first time going into a shop to buy basic items (ferrules, mineral oil, lube) and either they don't know what I'm talking about or they don't carry it

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