And LBS complain about on line retailing

kiwisimon

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Dec 14, 2006
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Japan
#1
Fitting new stem and bars to my roadie this morning I thought it would be a good time to replace the inner cables, went to the nearest LBS, they sell Pinarellos and Anchors so when I asked for an inner cable I didn't expect to have to wait about a week for it to arrive. Should just buy a stock of them from online and save the stress.
 

bloaker

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Nov 14, 2011
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Miura, Japan
#2
It is a tough balance for a LBS.
IMO the best way for a bike shop to survive is service.
However since everyone keeps buying stuff online, there is limited money to pay quality employees.
Retail prices should include someone knowledgeable about the product.
When I know more than the guy I am buying it from, why would I NOT shop online.

My biggest complaint about some 'shoppers' - they go to a retail store and touch/feel/try on/etc... Then put it back on the shelf to go find a better price online.
The 'touch/feel/try on/etc...' is a service you should be willing to pay for.
 
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microcord

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Aug 28, 2012
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83
Tokyo
#5
All very true. But a brake cable is a brake cable, no? I mean, the cable that runs between my Shouwa period Dia-Compe doodads is (or could be) the same as what connects the gruppo of the month, I believe. Though once the manufacturers add special Dura-Ace alternatives (lubricated with ultravirgin mink oil?) and technicolor variants, and once people persuade themselves that they must have these, then simplicity and sense are screwed up.

LBSs vary a lot, but I've found that most are surprisingly hospitable, energetic and helpful. (Surprisingly, because, putting myself in the LBS man's place, any enthusiasm of mine for service would be promptly killed off by the sight of either Microcord bike, at least if I didn't also notice the new wheels on one of them. "Uh-huh, here's some old geezer who obviously hasn't made more than a 3000 yen purchase in the last quarter century. Fat chance of selling him a Colnagorello.") None of the three within a 500m radius of Microcord mansion is quite as good as it might be, but there are two excellent ones 4km or so away. The distance is rather daunting if I think of pushing or pedalling my wife's little bike there, but otherwise it's fine. I'm happy to pay more there than at Wiggle.
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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Yokohama
#6
Look the whole LBS vs. Online Retailer is a dead argument, take a look at the UK home of the on-liners and my families bike stores thriving so much in fact that they have sponsored a road race in the new forest and that's mirrored throughout the UK by shops that have evolved and embraced the fact that these pile it high sell it cheap shops are here to stay.

Here in Japan it's the same, the good shops are making a roaring trade, Sagami Cycles is packed on weekends and has it's own online store these guys will even take stuff of display bikes if they don't have it in stock to make a sale and keep you happy, MyX has cornered the Mtb market to the point that Y's Road just 5 minutes away has given up on that genre and Bike Run has all those little bling things that trigger impulse purchases and also support JBCF riders with a 10% discount.

Bike shops that JUST sell bikes are doomed to fail, take the shop where I bought my first Pinarello from STAGE1. Amazing shop, great location, fantastic staff and service but you can only sell a certain amount of bikes per month, per year and the only way to keep customers coming back day after day after day is with accessories and spares yet he loved bikes but had no real clue about retailing.

Y's management knows this, they had people go to Europe and check out bike stores that were thriving regardless of the likes of Wiggle and ChainreactionCycles, Sagami Cycles have deep roots in Italy and as I've said before its the only bike shop in Japan that I feel like I'm back home.

But most of these stores are hobby shops, set up by people that love bikes but actually have no real experience or knowledge of retailing or market trends, foot flow, visual merchandising or communicate with the distributors or manufacturers to find out what the best sellers are on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis so that they can adjust the purchasing and get the stuff out of the shelves that people are going to buy.
 

jdd

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Jul 26, 2008
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Kanazawa
#7
In this area, it seems that having your own club and supporting it is also essential for a successful shop. Leading rides, opening very early so as to be a meeting/staging point for departure & return, and one shop provides stands and supplies so riders can clean up their bikes post-ride. Same place even uses their vans to races and rides that are further away.
 

FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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Yokohama
#8
In this area, it seems that having your own club and supporting it is also essential for a successful shop. Leading rides, opening very early so as to be a meeting/staging point for departure & return, and one shop provides stands and supplies so riders can clean up their bikes post-ride. Same place even uses their vans to races and rides that are further away.
That's pretty much standard delux - any shop worth their salt will have a racing team and a club team, both drop serious cash on their bikes and will basically support the income of the shop for infinity.
 

kiwisimon

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Dec 14, 2006
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Japan
#9
That's pretty much standard delux - any shop worth their salt will have a racing team and a club team, both drop serious cash on their bikes and will basically support the income of the shop for infinity.
indeed and the spur of the moment purchases are pure cream for such a shop. The LBS i won't go to any more had a show room but the atmosphere was not inviting at all. How can I find an excuse to spend money when there is nothing to motivate me to hang around?
 
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FarEast

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May 25, 2009
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Yokohama
#10
It's well known in retailing that "people buy people" if you like the sales person, clerk or owner you will actually be more likely to purchase a product from them regardless of if it is cheaper 4 doors down and sold by someone you don't like and let's face it, it's your money and you are free to spend it where you like.

Poor performing (i.e. customer relations) sales staff can actually be the ruin of a shop, just as poor stock can and in regards to touchy, feely customers again I can see why the shops despise them but if you don't have something immediately in stock that customer might not be prepared to wait around - they may buy online or they might walk in to another store round the block.

There are lots of ways to combat this as a retailer, point cards are one. But another is order discount, my families bike shops do this and if they do not have a product in stock (and they carry a ton of stock) they will give the customer a waiting discount in the form of a voucher on the next purchase, most actually use it right there and then. Also a good sales person will know the regulars, including those that come in to try before going else where and they should be addressing this problem thought the only means possible, offering a discount or price matching. MY-X in Yokohama did this when I needed a Easton E90 seatpost for my Mtb I was looking at it and the sales clerk said " we can match any price on this"... I asked if that included online retailers? they couldn't match CRC but they offered a discount good enough to spark that impulse buying gene us men have and we both went away very happy, not only that but they secured a loyal customer.

So as I've said before, the bad shops will eventually close down, while the good stores will just keep getting better!
 
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