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 Post subject: Re: LBS vs. online shops
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 3:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:44 am
Posts: 1312
not that there is any "moral" code to buying, but i tend to tell myself. If im doing online purchases im going to keep it strictly online. The only example i have of what i mean is....

if i want a pair of new cleats, i dont go into my LBS to try that pair on , and then purchase online...that's pretty poor on my end. If i buy cleats online, i tend to deal with all that's associated to it, maybe the wait time, maybe the misfit and having to return and reorder on my end,.... i've certainly ordered multiple pairs at once (CC takes a hit) inorder to "figure" out my sizing. etc etc.

I think the cost example i mention earlier really has to do with the big shop vs little shop. I think it's nearly impossible to lower prices down to the level of online, because online you do not have the type of overhead that an actual store front has. I've seen so often little shops having higher prices than coorporate companies with some "excuse" that they need to raise prices because volume is much lower than the big guys.... im saying why not make them the same even or just slightly lower. Margins will not be as high, but the smaller guys will shine when it comes to that homely feeling [ideally]

it's happened all before in the past. I am a football (soccer) player by heart and literally the storefront soccer store has been all but extinct due to Eurosport www.soccer.com magazines and more prodominantly online sales. haha i dont even remember seeing a magazine in the longest time. I used to love magazines! #gettingolder


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 Post subject: Re: LBS vs. online shops
Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 3:29 pm 


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 Post subject: Re: LBS vs. online shops
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 12:09 pm
Posts: 2457
I am happy to pay slightly higher prices at the local bike shop if customer service and employee knowledge warrant it. Sadly, most of the shops I went to in the DC area were poor on both counts (with exceptions). So the bulk of my shopping was online.

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 Post subject: Re: LBS vs. online shops
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2008 10:36 pm
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nathanong87 wrote:
I think it's nearly impossible to lower prices down to the level of online, because online you do not have the type of overhead that an actual store front has.


Sure online has overhead as well. They have employees to pay, investors to pay back, rent for warehouse, cost of AC, heat, electricity. They also don't have the ability to supplement revenue by repairing tires, doing overhauls of bikes, general service work...etc. that many LBS live off of.

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 Post subject: Re: LBS vs. online shops
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:22 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 2:44 am
Posts: 1312
tranzformer wrote:
nathanong87 wrote:
I think it's nearly impossible to lower prices down to the level of online, because online you do not have the type of overhead that an actual store front has.


Sure online has overhead as well. They have employees to pay, investors to pay back, rent for warehouse, cost of AC, heat, electricity. They also don't have the ability to supplement revenue by repairing tires, doing overhauls of bikes, general service work...etc. that many LBS live off of.


good point(s). maybe i was moreso thinking of ebay seller or something. i dunno


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 Post subject: Re: LBS vs. online shops
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:47 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:08 pm
Posts: 1365
My LBS is Great . They realise that most of the parts I have on my bike are easier for me to get online and much cheaper . I do buy some stuff from my LBS and when I do they always do me a great deal.
There always honest and up front . Actually a big shout to Tony and co workers at Bike and Run in London.


Last edited by artray on Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: LBS vs. online shops
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:01 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2009 4:30 pm
Posts: 1508
I would like to support local shops, and I actually have 3 or more pretty good shops near me.
So I usually make the rounds of the local shops before finding out that none of them have it in stock or their prices is about 2X what I know I can get it online for.
So I end up buying almost every significant purchase online.

Luckily, "on-line" is often another "local" shop that is just a little too far away to be convenient to drive to. They really do have the lowest prices on Earth for some things. So it arrives at my door in 2-3 days.


I do all my own mechanical work and have all the necessary tools.


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 Post subject: Re: LBS vs. online shops
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:26 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:32 pm
Posts: 29
Location: Reims, France
The shops here carry products for the mainstream buyer. While they do carry some higher end/specialized items, there is no commensurate service or knowledge to go along with the sale, hence, no benefit to shopping locally.

I am all for supporting my local LBS but sadly my local LBS does not support me. I buy locally when possible, but too often the products are lower quality and higher priced. I buy about 99% online, unless I'm in Portland, and then it's 99% at the LBS.


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 Post subject: Re: LBS vs. online shops
PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:31 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 4:52 pm
Posts: 40
Location: Atlantic Canada
For me, the question is not "where do I shop/purchase" but "who has what I need/want and at what price". Most of my bike related purchases are mailed to me. I try to plan ahead of my need by keeping a small inventory of replacement items - tires, tubes, chains, cassettes, cables, bar tape, etc.. I can acquire these at the best price that I can source and I can acquire the brand/product that I want rather than be restricted by what is available locally. Over time, I have learned to become reliant on my judgment and knowledge rather than someone else's and that includes the sizing and fitting of the bike(s). I have also learned to be more self sufficient at servicing my bikes. At this stage of my development, the LBS is not critically important to me and I see no reason for the situation to change.


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 Post subject: Re: LBS vs. online shops
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:08 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 10:54 am
Posts: 1395
Location: Melbourne, Australia
nathanong87 wrote:
i dont understand how PBK can offer tires so cheap and free shipping across the pond when LBSs down the street from me charge 25-30% more per tire....beyond me.


Volume and lower overheads.

But don't necessarily blame the LBS. Here in Australia at least in regards to tyres – I’ve heard the wholesale price set by the distributors is higher than the UK online shop prices!

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 Post subject: Re: LBS vs. online shops
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:42 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2009 4:02 am
Posts: 1960
Location: NoVA/DC
Yup, in the US as well, some things (especially road tires, tubulars, most shimano) are the same or cheaper from the UK than our wholesale. A couple times we ordered some Di2 from chainreaction when it was unavailable here, it costed the same.
Although I've heard it before only to be disappointed, I've been told their very sneaky way of getting certain things for unreal prices may be stopping soon.

When it comes to the idea of matching prices or lowering prices and "coming out ahead", to a large extent that doesn't work. Assuming a keystone product, if one were to lower the price 25%, that cuts the profit in half. Cut the price to 60% of original, now you're at 1/10th the profit. Essentially, product will just be passing through. At that 60% price, most shops would sell maybe 10% more of that item, when they would need to sell ten times that just to be where they were. There are other more subtle reasons behind it all, but that's the gist of it.

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 Post subject: Re: LBS vs. online shops
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:20 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:03 am
Posts: 296
Location: Melbourne
Dalai wrote:
Volume and lower overheads.


^^ This

Somone mentioned above that smaller shops complain about lower volumes and the need to charge a higher margin. This is because with higher volume overhead costs are spread thinner accross more sku's/products. e.g. If a shop has a fixed cost of $500 per week on plant & equipment, deprectiation, interest/finance repayments plus the added variable cost of labour then the more sales (i.e volume) that the shop can move the more they can spread those fixed costs out accross the different number if sales.

So instead of charging say 10% on sales to cover those costs, by doubling sales volume they only need to charge 5% on sales to spread the same amount of fixed cost, which translates into cheaper prices for the consumer. So if you have a look at what type of sales volume say a Wiggle would move compared to your lbs vs. the ratio of overheads to sales, you start to see how they can offer products far cheaper.

This volume/margin relationship is also amplified down the supply chain, so not only is there a direct hit on the stores actual p&l, but when they buy from suppliers the same rings true. That is that by ordering larger volumes the suppliers (i.e. manufacturers) can run longer production runs/bigger batches with the same spec which not only offset fixed costs but is also far cheaper from an operational expenditure standpoint.

Add in the simplification of the supply chain for online retailers (e.g. less distributors/middle men taking a cut) and more often than not reduced freight costs and it makes sense. Your lbs will never be able to compete with a large online retailer on price, yes they need to focus on reducing price where they can but should be focussing on offering a higher level of value-add to customers that they are willing to pay that extra amount.


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 Post subject: Re: LBS vs. online shops
PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 10:00 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 19, 2009 3:40 am
Posts: 1324
Location: Mornington Peninsula
LBS typically = speed and convenience.
I always give my LBS a chance to compete with my online buying habits.
Sometimes they get close enough for me to give up some extra cash to a. get the product faster and b. help to keep them in business.
I'd say that equates to 50/50 in terms of annual spend for me - but probably 80-90 online/10-20 LBS for the total number of items.

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 Post subject: Re: LBS vs. online shops
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 12:56 am 
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Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 12:22 am
Posts: 597
tranzformer wrote:
nathanong87 wrote:
but some shops believe the way to combat this economy is to charge MSRP and keep costs high... imho cutting prices down, being kind, and prompt might go a long way. [ideally at least]


I agree. I wonder how successful a LBS could be (in the right market with a large cycling community) if they actually sold for the same price as the online shops. Go for the volume sold over the get as much money per sucker possible attitude. I have no idea, but I think they might do better. More people would buy local if the price was as competitive as online or within maybe 5% (would pay extra for the convenience of getting it right away). Otherwise, LBS in general are a big big rip off.


Ironically, my LBS sells around 75-80 percent of their parts online or so I'm told. The customer service is fantastic in the shop and I use them because they are so good and their in shop prices compete favourably with online prices. I think all those who say that they'd use their LBS if the prices were cheaper may be kidding themselves. If you know how to put together a bike, then the convenience of sitting at a computer at night and ordering is far easier than calling in the local bike shop, even if it's just down the road. The advantage of the LBS is to those who don't know how to put a bike together, or to those who want to try on clothing, or to those who need advice. I'd say most people who come onto weight weenies would still shop online even if their LBS prices were lower.


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 Post subject: Re: LBS vs. online shops
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:18 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:20 pm
Posts: 1183
Location: New Zealand
A local shop here that has been in operation for about 25 years recently closed due to them losing business from people buying stuff online cheap and then bringing it in for them to fit etc, myself included. When I found out that was one of the contributing factors I felt quite guilty.

My main LBS though doesn't obviously stock really light weight or boutique components I'm after, so I get online and get them to fit and do my mechanical repairs as I don't have the tools or know how. Big purchases like a frame or groupset though, I will go to them as they can do a pretty close price to an online store once you factor customs duty etc into it. Wheels I will purchase custom built locally or buy parts and get built.

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 Post subject: Re: LBS vs. online shops
PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:41 pm 
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Posts: 597
That's what happens when a LBS is too nice. They were probably attempting to bring in more trade but business is business, at the end of the day you have to make money. It's the fine line between not being welcoming and also being forceful enough to turn away customers who are taking advantage. What we all need to realise is that without the LBS, as kids, most of us would never have got into riding. My mother and father didn't ride but both myself and my brother ended up being competitive bmx riders and now road/mtb riders (although the older I get the less competitive I get!). I think we all need our LBS and as long as they're doing their best to help us, we should help them and not 'penny pinch'. It scares me to think that one day we might not even have a high street because of internet shopping. What a sad day that would be!


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 Post subject: Re: LBS vs. online shops
Posted: Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:41 pm 


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