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Old 01-04-13, 07:26 PM   #1
Burton
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Internet purchases

Some Internet purchases can be cheaper than buying at the store next door. On the other hand - some can make the LBS look like apple pie and ice-cream.

Ordered some discontinued stuff on-line before Christmas and got it for about 70% off. Which is a good thing because .... shipping was an additional $100. And although it only took a week to arrive in Canada - the Post Office here (4 blocks away) has been playing with the stuff for an additional week. If it had actually been available from a local distributor - I would have had it a week ago.
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Old 01-04-13, 09:37 PM   #2
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Online has its place but I've had great luck with my two favorite LBSs. One price matches everything including online and Amazon as long as it isn't an auction or a one of a kind closeout type of deal. If it is a regular or even a sale price on a stock item, they match. They've also done a great job finding things for me. I ride older bikes and last summer my LBS found me an NOS DuraAce triple for square taper. Cost me less than 1/4 of its original price.

I bought my touring tires for this year at the other LBS and they were $5 cheaper per tire than the online price and saved me the shipping so I saved about $20 and went home with them that day. I'll order online if there is something my LBS doesn't stock or can't get but honestly it isn't that often. Only a couple of times have I found savings significant enough to justify ordering online instead of buying local.
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Old 01-05-13, 12:45 AM   #3
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Not a hard core collector of bike swag, so unless it's a critical need, I generally go through the LBS.

I bought a Banjo Brothers backpack via the LBS. Just had them tack on the item to their normal order, paid the sales tax, and went on about my business. Ordering through the LBS has two advantages (for me, anyway): 1) Additional layer of security at the POS on CC transactions and 2) it's a secure delivery location- no worries about 'missed deliveries' from UPS/FedEx/USPS, or worse, the dreaded 'knock and drop' (if you're lucky; sometimes they don't even bother knocking).
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Old 01-05-13, 01:34 AM   #4
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90% of the time, online is cheaper. I am part of a bicycle coalition which gives me 10% off everything at any LBS. Online however, still manages to beat my LBS' price. Also, UPS is probably the worst postal service. The jackass was too damn lazy to bring up my bike up the stairs, so he just left the sticker on my door; Didn't even ring the doorbell.
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Old 01-05-13, 02:56 AM   #5
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UPS is pretty bad. They dropped $400 worth of medication at my door without knocking or ringing the doorbell. Imagine if some kids had gotten in the box.
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Old 01-05-13, 06:24 AM   #6
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I shop both depending on needs. Most of my bikes are vintage and many are IGH, neither of which are supported by any LBS in the area. The one actually calls me on occasion to see if I know where to find an odd part. However I still support them by ordering tires and some other things from them when I can.

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Old 01-05-13, 09:07 AM   #7
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The 'online is cheaper' seems to be a recurring theme. Interestingly, every LBS I'm aware of has some kind of online presence. And unless a company is only doing drop-shipping - they'd need a brick and motor address to warehouse stock and people to process orders.

From personal experience, some items that make it to the website are items that we had a low demand for and just want to clear out. Of course that same item may be in high demand in another part of the country. The Internet and postal service has, in my opinion, just put more LBS within the reach of the average person.

Your thoughts?
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Old 01-05-13, 09:08 AM   #8
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Sometimes I just bite the bullet and buy from my LBS (even if they have to order the item) knowing I'm paying more but they're good folks and I like to give them the business.
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Old 01-05-13, 09:33 AM   #9
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How was it that you were surprised by the $100 in shipping? It's usually best to know what the shipping charges before placing the order, right? I've been ordering stuff since long before the advent of the internet, and it was was true then too.
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Old 01-05-13, 08:41 PM   #10
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UPS is probably the worst postal service. The jackass was too damn lazy to bring up my bike up the stairs, so he just left the sticker on my door; Didn't even ring the doorbell.
Delivery is a fast paced business. They will have worked this out with the company they are delivering for, and the rates are adjusted according to everything needed. UPS does the delivery for Amazon where I am right now and that is their standard procedure, just leave it at the door.
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Old 01-05-13, 08:52 PM   #11
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Delivery is a fast paced business. They will have worked this out with the company they are delivering for, and the rates are adjusted according to everything needed. UPS does the delivery for Amazon where I am right now and that is their standard procedure, just leave it at the door.
I didn't buy the bike off Amazon. He didn't leave it at my door. He didn't ring the doorbell either. I had to go to the building where they drop off the items that "weren't picked up".
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Old 01-05-13, 10:32 PM   #12
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How was it that you were surprised by the $100 in shipping? It's usually best to know what the shipping charges before placing the order, right? I've been ordering stuff since long before the advent of the internet, and it was was true then too.
LOL So where did I say it was a surprise? The only reason I brought it up at all is because total cost of an item is ALL the costs - item cost, taxes and transportation. And transportation costs are already included in the price when you buy locally in person. If the total of purchase price and transportation costs had been unacceptable - I never would have completed the transaction.

But - the total combined price was still only about 50% of the original list price and .... it was a LOT cheaper than buying the individual components from six different sellers and paying six individual shipping charges!

Last edited by Burton; 01-05-13 at 10:37 PM.
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Old 01-06-13, 12:21 AM   #13
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I've shopped more online but was usually shocked when I saw interesting things at very good prices in shops. Or, even if they weren't at the best price sometimes I was interested by the function/look of something in a store.

One of the things that makes me hesitate from shopping in person is that I often have the sense the employees might want to stare at you all the time thinking you're going to steal. It usually doesn't happen but for whatever reason, I can't completely forget the experience of being a teenager. Why do they do that anyway? I saw a floorwalker literally following like 3 or 4 teenagers in a store once but I didn't see them doing anything.
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Old 01-06-13, 12:24 AM   #14
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Online is generally cheaper. I generally purchase non-clothing items from the internet when I know what I want. But cycling clothing? It's sized all over the map. I am not a bean pole and much of the clothing is sized for beanpoles. It's depressing to try on a large jacket and discover that it does not even fit around your midsection. Then you try on the X large and it's so tight when worn over a t-shirt that you have to pass because you can't get any layers under it.

I think it's scummy to use local stores for sizing and then purchase online. But then again, if you are willing to shop around you can find suitable technical clothing that is not marketed as cycling.
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Old 01-06-13, 03:48 PM   #15
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So picked up the goodies and had good and bad luck. The good? Duty and taxes were skipped on two out of three packages. The bad? Even though the items were shipped in their original boxes and were obviously brand new - one of the 203mm brake rotors had been swapped out for a 160mm one, ehich although new, wasn't near the same quality. I'm also short brake pads and mounting screws.

Not an issue for me as I have spares, but if it had actually been a critical component - that would have really soured the deal. I much prefer to deal in person so I can confirm the purchase personally instead of relying on someone's written description. Often sellers aren't particularly knowledgable about what they're selling.

Last edited by Burton; 01-06-13 at 04:50 PM.
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Old 01-06-13, 04:20 PM   #16
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I've shopped more online but was usually shocked when I saw interesting things at very good prices in shops. Or, even if they weren't at the best price sometimes I was interested by the function/look of something in a store.

One of the things that makes me hesitate from shopping in person is that I often have the sense the employees might want to stare at you all the time thinking you're going to steal. It usually doesn't happen but for whatever reason, I can't completely forget the experience of being a teenager. Why do they do that anyway? I saw a floorwalker literally following like 3 or 4 teenagers in a store once but I didn't see them doing anything.
When they do that, it makes you want to leave the store. The sticker shock makes me bail even faster.
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Old 01-06-13, 04:24 PM   #17
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Online is generally cheaper to me too but my main reason to buy online is because products are just not or nearly not available locally for different reasons : products of next generation not available locally yet, not available at all because the market is not big enough or whatever other ROI reasons or because finding a product too specific locally wouldn't be very cost effective in terms of time/energy spent. But it always depends on the product i'm looking for. Sometimes it's even the contrary finding online some gloves which fit is nearly impossible for me
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Old 01-07-13, 01:14 AM   #18
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GP4000's $38 online $75 at the LBS

Front "AND" rear Ultegra hub $135 on line, $74 for the front only at the LBS.

Deep V rim, $60 on line free shipping, $80 at the LBS plus fee for special order totals about $100-$110, I can order it myself.

I rarely order clothes/shoes online as I want to try fit first. I will buy from the LBS on sale. I'm not one of the scummy people.
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Old 01-07-13, 05:02 AM   #19
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I buy a lot of clothes on line because the stores refuse to stock things in the tall sizes. I needed a pair of slip on rubber boots for my dress shoes the other day, only one store out of 7 that you would think would carry them had any in stock, they only had 5 pair in the medium and small size, I needed large...and they wonder why they are loosing sales to the internet?

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Old 01-07-13, 05:57 AM   #20
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I buy a lot of clothes on line because the stores refuse to stock things in the tall sizes. I needed a pair of slip on rubber boots for my dress shoes the other day, only one store out of 7 that you would think would carry them had any in stock, they only had 5 pair in the medium and small size, I needed large...and they wonder why they are loosing sales to the internet?

Aaron
Just curious Aaron - how do you know for sure if an online store actually has anything in stock? Some of them are apparently only electronic store fronts and the merchandice is drop-shipped from the manufacturer. I find it tough to tell myself. The last stuff I ordered was from a Hong Kong address but was shipped from a Beijing address - and it was discontinued items. I can't figure that out!
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Old 01-07-13, 06:03 AM   #21
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Yeah, it's a complex affair for me, deciding where to buy. I really like having LBSs where I can get something immediately, and where I can go talk to someone and see products. I'm lucky to have at least a couple LBSs that are good, and one I love. The one I love has great people and an actual product selection; too many shops these days are corporate outlets, and just stock brand lines of stuff, rather than selecting what's cool, best, or high value.

So I want to support those guys, but often I find they don't have what I want, and if it's going to take them a week to order in what I can order in in three days, and the price differential is great enough (including shipping), then sometimes I just do it myself online.

Tree Fort is that "love it" LBS for me, and coincidentally, a strong online seller, so they get 98% of my business, in-store or online...either way! Seems that local Performance and REI stores get most clothing business, though; just bigger selections, mainly, as fit is difficult for me.
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Old 01-07-13, 03:03 PM   #22
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Just curious Aaron - how do you know for sure if an online store actually has anything in stock? Some of them are apparently only electronic store fronts and the merchandice is drop-shipped from the manufacturer. I find it tough to tell myself. The last stuff I ordered was from a Hong Kong address but was shipped from a Beijing address - and it was discontinued items. I can't figure that out!
I usually buy from companies with a known track record, like LLBean or Eddie Bauer, etc.

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Old 01-08-13, 07:28 PM   #23
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I would prefer to buy accessories from my LBS, but limited stock and high prices push me to Amazon for everything I've bought so far besides the bikes themselves (this is true for any retail store though, not just bike-stuff). Amazon is great, they have near everything in stock, good prices, and free two-day shipping. However, I've read in several places that Amazon Canada is not nearly as good as in the US.
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Old 01-10-13, 09:40 AM   #24
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The answer here is be an informed buyer. I use both my LBS and the internet.

For instance right now I am doing yearly maintence on my bike and trike. I bought a pair of SPD pedals from my LBS since they were within a dollar or so compared with the internet. On the other hand I bought a couple of chain rings for my trike, and got 2 for less than the price the LBS wanted for one. If the price is within a few dollars at the LBS I alway by locally. There is a good advantage to have a good relationship at a LBS for small parts etc, and usually you dont have to wait for delivery.
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Old 01-10-13, 01:56 PM   #25
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I've mentioned this before but ...

Where we lived in Australia (and we are returning to that area at least temporarily), the nearest LBS was about 100 km away. We would drop in if we happened to be in the area getting other stuff (like groceries or hardware stuff), and if the place had something we wanted in stock, for the price we wanted, we'd get it.

But otherwise we were presented with two choices ...

1) The LBS would tell us that they did not have whatever it was in stock, and they could order it. It would take roughly 6 weeks to get in, and we would have to travel 100+ km to go get it.

Or

2) We could order from one of several online places we use, and within a week, it would be delivered to our door ... cheaper than the LBS and free shipping.
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