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Old 07-08-05, 09:54 AM   #1
ec32
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Stop buying on Internet

Many people buy frames, bikes and accessories on internet.
Advantage: better price.
Risk: defective products, no service on warranties.
I want to have my dealer in front of me when I spend my money.
What do you think?
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Old 07-08-05, 10:03 AM   #2
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Uh. When you buy stuff from e-tailers, there stuff is usually warrantied. Of course it might be a bigger hassle because you have to ship it back.

If you get it off ebay or something, of course there's no warranty.
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Old 07-08-05, 10:06 AM   #3
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I did a poll about this not long ago.

My feeling is that I prefer to use LBS just to help them stay in business....but if it is a big ticket item and I'm gonna save $100....I can't resist that big of savings to ensure I use local retailer.


So..If I'm gonna save no (or little) money, then I will buy from LBS every time. But if I'm gonna save big, I will use e-tailer.
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Old 07-08-05, 10:07 AM   #4
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Just like shady shops out there, you have to trust the place you're buying from.
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Old 07-08-05, 10:09 AM   #5
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Most online companies still have warranties and return policies, but shipping cost can sometimes make that more of a hassle.

Being 'face to face' with your dealer might make you more comfortable, but it doesn't always ensure a better service experience. I've had online shops accept no questions asked returns, and warranty replacements with no shipping cost, while at the same time have local shops deny requests and not take returns.

Really what matters is having good communication and trust with your dealer, regardless of where they are, if you find that trust and communication at the LBS, thats great, if not, you may be able to find it at a shop some distance from you that you deal with online. Remember that many online shops are just a regular shop with a webpage. If I order from Harris Cyclery, I'm not ordering from 'the internet', I'm ordering from a little local shop, just a different local.

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Old 07-08-05, 10:29 AM   #6
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I buy everything off the internet. I even buy inner tubes that way. I'll stock up when they are on sale.
An added advantage is that you often don't pay any sales tax. Although the cost of shipping offsets the savings I'd rather give my money to UPS for doing something useful than give it to the government who will fritter it away.
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Old 07-08-05, 10:37 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ec32
What do you think?
I think you're spending twice as much as you should for your parts.
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Old 07-08-05, 10:46 AM   #8
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Let me tell you a story that just concluded yesterday. On June 18, I go into my LBS to see if they have a Sora shifter (left) in stock. My son had crunched his in a crash. No dice. So I go across the street to Performance, and they don't have it either. I had already located the shifter on the net, in stock, for less than $68. So I hit the LBS again, and ask the manager to go ahead and order it. He tells me the order will go out on Monday (6/20) and that it would take 3-10 days, at about $75, maybe less. I'm willing to spend that little bit extra. This shop has two locations, and they order everything out of the other store.

I stopped by every couple of days, which I tend to do anyway. I do get the chance to ride with a couple of the wrenches sometimes, and I BS with them quite a bit. Finally yesterday Steven calls me to tell me that it's in, at the other store, so I ask him to have them hold it, knowing that it won't hit my store until the next day. I go and pick it up, and they have it marked at $89.99. Now this is nearly 3 weeks later, or 17 days after I was told it would be ordered, and $15 more than I was told. I was going to leave it there, so the guy decided he'd "let me have it for what I was promised" like he was doing me a favor.

Now there were a couple of problems here. First, the LBS manager didn't put on the order sheet what price he had told me. Second, apparently it was added to the order that went on 6/24, although that order didn't go out until a full week after I ordered it because they "didn't have enough to make an order yet." So I waited at least twice as long to pay more.

Bottom line is this: If it's not on the shelf, I'll order it myself.

I don't mind paying a little more. I want them to be there, even though so far I haven't found anything I couldn't do myself. I won't have them order anything for me though. personally I think if it's special order, they should price match even internet shop prices, as long as they don't take a loss on it. Even if they only make a very small markup on the item, it's not sitting in inventory, it's immediate sale. So they don't make their traditional markup, the question is do they make a little, or do they make nothing?
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Old 07-08-05, 11:08 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by twahl
at about $75, maybe less
Any reason he couldn't give you an exact price up front? It's a part, not a custom order.
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Old 07-08-05, 11:14 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by va_cyclist
Any reason he couldn't give you an exact price up front? It's a part, not a custom order.
I was sort of curious about that myself, but he said he had recently ordered one, then said that he might be able to get it cheaper from another source. I dunno, it was just odd, and handled poorly in my opinion.
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Old 07-08-05, 11:50 AM   #11
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If I can buy a part online for $75, and the LBS wants to charge $130 for it, I'm gonna buy it online. If the employees at mt LBS don't come into my work and buy things from me at inflated prices, I don't see whyI should feel that I have to do it for them.
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Old 07-08-05, 12:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ec32
Many people buy frames, bikes and accessories on internet.
Advantage: better price.
Risk: defective products, no service on warranties.
I want to have my dealer in front of me when I spend my money.
What do you think?
My LBS is a joke! No rode bikes, chain cleaner, shoes, clothing, etc. Just two brands of bikes, mountain abd comgort bikes. However, if I want to buy a Glock 9mm, they have all the models in stock. So if I ever want to buy a handgun and some 9mm ammo, I know where to go.
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Old 07-08-05, 12:44 PM   #13
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well my LBS does not stock components at all. He stocks things like cables, cleats, little things like that. Lubes and basic tools as well. Most of their business is servicing and selling whole bicycles. If you want something they can order it for you, the owner says it isnt worth his while and $ to stock parts. So either way I have to order my parts from somewhere
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Old 07-08-05, 12:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctyler
My LBS is a joke! No rode bikes, chain cleaner, shoes, clothing, etc. Just two brands of bikes, mountain abd comgort bikes. However, if I want to buy a Glock 9mm, they have all the models in stock. So if I ever want to buy a handgun and some 9mm ammo, I know where to go.
That sounds like a place not too far from here that's a tanning salon/taekwondo studio!
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Old 07-08-05, 01:11 PM   #15
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As a person who does about 75% of my shopping on-line (not just bike stuff, everything, including business supplies) here is my perspective, for what it's worth.

First I don't buy the "support your local economy" arguments. To me that idea is out of step with current realities. I prefer to buy from a Canadian company when I can, but that's only a small preference and I order from the US all the time. (I also know that the line between Canadian/US corporations isn't always clear! McDonald's Canada is a Canadian company... HBC (Zellers, The Bay) meanwhile has significant US ownership).

As both a consumer and a business owner, I go to local businesses for services, and shop on-line for goods. When the goods combine a service - eg I need advice on a bike part plus I want to look at some, that's local too. I don't think that most businesses that primary sell goods will survive for much longer on the local level, and if I owned a store I would be moving to a service model ASAP.

As a consumer I research products a lot, and usually am very specific as to what I want. I seldom go out to buy a new video card or a new handlebar. Rather I know the specific model number, package, etc. that I want. It simply isn't possible for my to walk into my L{whatever**S and find that item on the shelf, and ordering it is a hassle even when possible. I certainly won't spend the day on the phone calling stores and asking, "Do you have model XYZ-123a in stock?"

I'm not saying small, local, and often independent retailers will die out. Rather, just like any other industrial or economic change in history, businesses will change and adapt or die. The need for services won't die out, the need to see/handle/try some types of products won't go away, neither will the need for professional advice. Retailers who adapt to this will do well.

As a photographer I offer both services and products. My industry was hit by the proliferation of "portrait studios" in malls, and now by digital photography. Many photographers have predictions of doom-and-gloom as they see print sales go down. What they are not seeing is the need for the services of a professional photographer, that need is still there. Its just the product (prints) that people are no longer willing to pay premium prices for.

I ordered most of my bike upgrades from Nashbar, got a few at MEC. For helmet advice I went to my LBS, and they are the ones who will fix things on the bike I can't do myself. That, IMO, will be the typical consumer model in the coming decades.
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Old 07-08-05, 01:13 PM   #16
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If you get it off ebay or something, of course there's no warranty.
Usually true. However, sprtymama and preownedbikes get good feedback and offer warranties.
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Old 07-08-05, 01:20 PM   #17
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I would shop at my LBS if they had stuff in stock! I've purchased $400 worth of stuff online in the last month because my LBS (stores) didn't have it. Well buddy, I can order it too and I don't have to pick it up.
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Old 07-08-05, 01:31 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patc
First I don't buy the "support your local economy" arguments. To me that idea is out of step with current realities. I prefer to buy from a Canadian company when I can, but that's only a small preference and I order from the US all the time. (I also know that the line between Canadian/US corporations isn't always clear! McDonald's Canada is a Canadian company... HBC (Zellers, The Bay) meanwhile has significant US ownership).
The farther money must travel, the more hands snitch their share, that is a pretty good economic truism. You want more money in your community, since that means more money to spend on your services. If the money must make a very long and circuitous route back home (non local business), it will be less than if it had a short trip (local business). Now, I'm not a 'local nazi', but the idea of buying local as a way to support localized economies (which we are more equipped to change as individuals) is economically sound.

Quote:
As both a consumer and a business owner, I go to local businesses for services, and shop on-line for goods. When the goods combine a service - eg I need advice on a bike part plus I want to look at some, that's local too. I don't think that most businesses that primary sell goods will survive for much longer on the local level, and if I owned a store I would be moving to a service model ASAP.
I totally agree with you! Goods are so much cheaper online, because that business model has so much less overhead, and no brick 'n' mortar store can compete on price. But an online business model doesn't include the level of service of a brick 'n' mortar. I can buy shoes online, or I can go to a shoe store and get advice about what would fit me, how to find something for my narrow feet, what would look good with my slacks, and so on. Thats a service I'm paying for, not the shoe. Shops that forget this powerful fact die quick and painful deaths.

Quote:
As a consumer I research products a lot, and usually am very specific as to what I want. I seldom go out to buy a new video card or a new handlebar. Rather I know the specific model number, package, etc. that I want. It simply isn't possible for my to walk into my L{whatever**S and find that item on the shelf, and ordering it is a hassle even when possible. I certainly won't spend the day on the phone calling stores and asking, "Do you have model XYZ-123a in stock?"
Again, I agree! There is a lot of product out there, and I'm usually incredibly specific about what I want. If I need a cable, or a tube, I could care less about brands. But I usually know exactly what tire I want, exactly what seat I want, etc. I can't rely on a small shop having that much stock.

Quote:
I'm not saying small, local, and often independent retailers will die out. Rather, just like any other industrial or economic change in history, businesses will change and adapt or die. The need for services won't die out, the need to see/handle/try some types of products won't go away, neither will the need for professional advice. Retailers who adapt to this will do well.

As a photographer I offer both services and products. My industry was hit by the proliferation of "portrait studios" in malls, and now by digital photography. Many photographers have predictions of doom-and-gloom as they see print sales go down. What they are not seeing is the need for the services of a professional photographer, that need is still there. Its just the product (prints) that people are no longer willing to pay premium prices for.
Its good you understand this. Anytime business models change, lots of people gripe about how their livelyhood will be destroyed. But business always changes, and the businesses that survive are the ones that are willing to adapt. I hope your photography business does well. It doesn't matter how many discount prints people can crank out of their discount digital cameras, the quality of the photo won't compare with a professional portrait, and thats a service you can count on.

peace,
sam
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Old 07-08-05, 01:37 PM   #19
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This got me thinking. If I only left the things on my bike that I did not buy using the internet I would have the cables, steerer tube spacers and handlebars. The thing is I have $1200 or so in the bike. If I bought everything local I'd have more like $2000. I not only use the internet for most everything but I research, shop around and wait for specials. I save a lot of money that way.

For instance. Last spring Cat Eye CD300DW computers were around $130 locally, about the same at the big mail order places and going for $110 give or take on ebay. I waited and found one on ebay that for some reason few people were bidding on. I got it for $80 + $6 shipping. Brand new, in-the-box. You can save tons of money on the internet if you're patient.

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Old 07-08-05, 01:41 PM   #20
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i bought some XT disc brakes for my mountain bike last week- I checked at the LBS first and was quoted 560 Euros for the complete package (shifters/discs/brakes)- saw them for 220 euros including postage on ebay

guess which I chose?
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Old 07-08-05, 03:34 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phidauex
The farther money must travel, the more hands snitch their share, that is a pretty good economic truism. You want more money in your community, since that means more money to spend on your services. If the money must make a very long and circuitous route back home (non local business), it will be less than if it had a short trip (local business). Now, I'm not a 'local nazi', but the idea of buying local as a way to support localized economies (which we are more equipped to change as individuals) is economically sound.
I won't disagree with you, but I think the picture is more complex than that. For example, the LBS next door may buy directly from a US supplier, so much of the money involved in that item is not local. On the other hand I may order something from MEC which could ship from their BC warehouse, but is manufactured in Canada by a Canadian company. Which one is more local?

Local stores pay property taxes locally. I pay GST (federal sales tax) on anything I buy from any source, and I pay PST (provincial sales tax) on anything I buy in Ontario, anything I import from another country, or any item my business buys from another province or I manufacture for my own use. Beyond these taxes, though, I think it is all but impossible for a consumer to know where the money he/she pays for an item really goes.


Quote:
I totally agree with you! Goods are so much cheaper online, because that business model has so much less overhead, and no brick 'n' mortar store can compete on price. ..... Shops that forget this powerful fact die quick and painful deaths.
First, lets not dismiss the price argument. A new Canon 20D will cost me about $2000CAD after shipping if I order from B&H in New York. It will cost me about $3000 locally. That's not a small difference!

Secondly, as you state above, lets not dismiss service. Going back to bike stores to stay on topic, I think the stores that will survive are the ones who take the service approach. You can buy a new bike on-line. You can try out new bikes and have your bike properly fitted to you at the LBS. Since the LBS can't win the price war, they need to stop advertising prices only and focus on advertising (and delivering) the service.


Quote:
Again, I agree! There is a lot of product out there, and I'm usually incredibly specific about what I want. If I need a cable, or a tube, I could care less about brands. But I usually know exactly what tire I want, exactly what seat I want, etc. I can't rely on a small shop having that much stock.
In a way, consumers now shop more like businesse used to. When I worked as a printer for a photo studio, the boss never went out to a store for supplies. He would call a large supplier in Montreal have have them ship cases of paper, film, and chemistry to us. While most consumers don't buy in large quantities, we have adopted the business purchasing model: we want to call or click and say, "give me X boxes of item Y." We know what we want, and we want the purchasing process to be simple and efficient.

Quote:
Its good you understand this. Anytime business models change, lots of people gripe about how their livelyhood will be destroyed. But business always changes, and the businesses that survive are the ones that are willing to adapt. I hope your photography business does well. It doesn't matter how many discount prints people can crank out of their discount digital cameras, the quality of the photo won't compare with a professional portrait, and thats a service you can count on.
My business is new, two years in I'm almost breaking even. The long term outlook is good, and my business model has been well received by clients. They sometimes are startled at my shooting costs, but I explain the service they are getting and most are quickly satisfied. I also point out the low print prices, and they they can do their own printing if they want to. That is VERY well received.

Staples/Business Depot in Canada (may be the same in the US) has adapted well to the new way people shop. I can order items on-line and get them delivered, free, to my door the next business day. The price is the same as the retail prices in the store. The web ordering system lets me keep shopping lists. FutureShop, Canadian Tire, and other large retailers have also been adapting the same way, and it seems to be working for them. Its true that smaller retailers won't have the resources to do this, but they smaller retailers are probably better served by the service model (or service-with-goods model) than trying to compete strictly as goods suppliers.
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Old 07-08-05, 05:06 PM   #22
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Usually true. However, sprtymama and preownedbikes get good feedback and offer warranties.
I noticed sprtymama sells a lot of 'road racing bikes" for around $300.00. Linky What are these and are they any good? I see they're Motobecanes, but I'm not familiar with anything they've made in the last 20 years or so.
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Old 07-08-05, 08:07 PM   #23
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My opinion is when I find a good shop with the kinds of parts I look for, I will buy LBS....until then, online for me.

My biggest gripe is that even the big shops here seem to have far less parts availibility than the tiny shop I used to go to in cali.....and they were mostly a cruiser/mountain bike shop, yet they still had all kinds of oddball parts around...
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Old 07-09-05, 02:06 AM   #24
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For some things you can be smarter by sampling a product in a store, and then buying it online for cheaper. Its not good for the store, but it will more or less get rid of the prospect that the product will not be the best product for you. This is best used to buy bikes or parts where a big discount can normally be made, there really isn't much difference between one Trek1000 to another.
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Old 07-09-05, 05:31 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twahl
Now this is nearly 3 weeks later, or 17 days after I was told it would be ordered, and $15 more than I was told. I was going to leave it there, so the guy decided he'd "let me have it for what I was promised" like he was doing me a favor.
Dealer cost on the LH Sora (double) is about $28, the triple $37. Yeah, he was doing you a huge favor.
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