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Pricing Differentials; Store Vs Online

Old 02-04-15, 12:42 PM
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Jed19
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Pricing Differentials; Store Vs Online

I had a dinner date with my son at his college last evening, and since I got there early, went into a big bicycle store very near campus that had almost all kind of bicycles (even saw one tricycle outside). I wanted to buy a Park Tool CNW-2 Chainring Nut Wrench, but was surprised to see a price of $19.99 on it. Asked the guy at the counter if the pricing was a mistake, no, he responded. Well, this morning I bought exactly the same tool on ebay for $4.40, with free shipping.

I have not been in a bicycle shop in a while, since I do a lot of my own maintenance, but how can bicycle stores live with these kind of pricing differentials? Just asking, not interested in starting a flame war.
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Old 02-04-15, 12:45 PM
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Caveat emptor
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Old 02-04-15, 12:54 PM
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I'm all for "support your LBS" but $20 for one of those pressed out pieces of tin seems ridiculous. For the record I've bought tools at my LBS and paid prices that although more expensive than online, certainly weren't that ridiculous. For example I remember buying a Park PW-5 pedal wrench for $14, and I think they go for around $11 online.

BTW I don't know how accurate it is, but this website seems to suggest the MSRP on that tool you bought is $4:

Park Tool CNW-2 Chainring Nut Wrench > Accessories > Tools > Crank & Chainring Tools | Jenson USA
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Old 02-04-15, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Jed19 View Post
. . . how can bicycle stores live with these kind of pricing differentials? . . .
So you compare one store with all "online." Park's recommended retail price is $8 while many LBSs sell it for less.

Just asking, i
s your post a troll?
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Old 02-04-15, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by AnkleWork View Post
So you compare one store with all "online." Park's recommended retail price is $8 while many LBSs sell it for less.

Just asking, i
s your post a troll?
Like I said, I have not stopped in a store front bicycle shop in a while. Just genuinely shocked, that's all. I went in there really to browse, but then realised I could use a chainring nut wrench.
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Old 02-04-15, 01:06 PM
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They just scrape by , in this town , Paying off the bank loans in 3 months of busy summer traffic has to cover the rest of the year.


maybe your job is ready to go online and you will be waiting tables or something else .

we are interdependent..

Last edited by fietsbob; 02-04-15 at 01:22 PM.
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Old 02-04-15, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
They just scrape by , in this town , Paying off the bank loans in 3 months of busy summer traffic has to cover the rest of the year.


maybe your job is ready to go online and you will be waiting tables or something else .
Okay, thanks for the positive input though
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Old 02-04-15, 01:27 PM
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Go price an aspirin at a hospital. Same thing.
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Old 02-04-15, 02:31 PM
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At the bike shops I frequent, the deals they give me when they're in a good mood offset the occasional full-retard component price. If I don't need something right now at that price, I'll simply state, "I don't need it $20 bad". Sometimes that encourages a price knockdown, sometimes not, but I've never seen umbrage to my frankness. Also, it helps to build a relationship where you always pay in cash and don't ever need a receipt. We're moving into dark times and people are learning how to play the game to survive.
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Old 02-04-15, 02:43 PM
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I buy both on line and at the local bike shops. I check the price on line, and then go to the bike shop. If it is not too much more I buy locally. Some things have a mark up that is too much to over look.
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Old 02-04-15, 02:54 PM
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My guess would be that the $19.99 price is a mistake despite what the counter guy said. That is WAY over the retail price and I have never seen any Park tools marked up so high anywhere.
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Old 02-04-15, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
I buy both on line and at the local bike shops. I check the price on line, and then go to the bike shop. If it is not too much more I buy locally. Some things have a mark up that is too much to over look.
+1

I'll also price an item online and then stop at the shop.
IF they don't have it, I'll ask if they can get for X$.

If for an example, an online item is $32 at my door, I'll ask if they can get it for $35, if it's not in stock.
That way, they know I'm willing to give them an extra $3 in order to buy from them.
IF it's in stock for $40, I'll probably just buy it and have it now.

They have the option to say no, but so far they've been willing to do it with "a smile" and still seem glad to see me when I come in.
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Old 02-04-15, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by AnkleWork View Post
So you compare one store with all "online." Park's recommended retail price is $8 while many LBSs sell it for less.

Just asking, i
s your post a troll?
My lbs prices are full MSRP. And I don't live in the middle of nowhere...We have plenty of stores/services around here.
To me, they don't need to exist. They are always slow to service your bike, always out of stock, always more expensive than online. While most bicycle stores are blood sucking monsters, some stores adapted to the changing market, and majority of their business is in online sales.
With QBP (Quality Bicycle Products), biggest distributor, maker and marketer of cycling products, there is not much choice what they can sell. Most are selling the same products/accessories, so it just comes to the price and availability.
Online prices are and will be much lower. Out of stock items at your lbs, are the same as in stock items at online stores. Most places offers 2-5 days shipping, often a free one.
My lbs are ordering each Wednesday, and orders are coming each Monday. You may be waiting 11 days for the part, if you ordered it Thursday... Out of stock items are happily called "Custom order" and carry an additional shipping price.
There is even much bigger difference between online and lbs prices when it comes to brand names, quality and options. You can buy Park Tool item for $20 at lbs, same one for $17 online/$15 on sale OR you can buy different brand which offers same or similar quality for $5... I don't know anyone who is willing to pass on the savings.
Lbs are happy to carry known brands...they are easier to sell, and comes with shiny marketing tools. No need to stock shelves or save space on them at online stores...Most of them are just virtual hubs, and part of huge distribution network...They can sell everything for less, and everything is in stock...
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Old 02-04-15, 06:34 PM
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As I understand it, although I don't work in the bike industry so this is pieced together from bits of information here and there, if QBP sells an item to the bike shop for $100, the bike shop's full retail price will be around $160, more or less, and some online retailers might sell it for $120 plus shipping, more or less. If the bike shop has to charge sales tax, maybe the end price to you is $170 or so. With shipping but no sales tax, maybe the online price is $140.

If the customer doesn't need the part right away and doesn't care about having a relationship with a bike shop, then buying online is the logical choice, especially as you start taking about more expensive parts. But I do value my local bike shop, so I buy from them quite a lot.

Personally my bike tool and part dollar gets spent as follows:

40% to my local independent bike shop. I pay full retail, and go there a lot. In return, when I need a quick repair or a favor, they help me out. If they have what I need, or can order it reasonably quickly, I buy there.

30% to the local retail storefront of a large online bike parts business, which happens to be close to my house.

30% online, which is mostly eBay for used parts.
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Old 02-04-15, 09:48 PM
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Back in the mid-1980's I ran into the same price differential from "on-line" retailer (actually it was a paper mail-order catalog back then. Anybody else remember those?) and a local bike shop. I wanted to buy a ring-type multi spoke wrench and had seen it in the catalog for about $3. I happened to be near a local high-line bike shop in town and asked about the same tool. They had exactly the same thing (same maker and model, not Campy) and wanted $12. I passed. A few days later I happened to be near another LBS and asked them about the wrench. They also had the exact same tool and wanted $4.50. I bought it without a second thought.

I have no objection to paying a bit more for immediate ownership and to support a local business but not a 400% cost penalty.
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Old 02-04-15, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post

I have no objection to paying a bit more for immediate ownership and to support a local business but not a 400% cost penalty.
+1
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Old 02-04-15, 10:37 PM
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If you want to stay poor and struggle, be an owner of a bicycle, music or astronomy store just for a short list of brick and mortars that I've done. You get really good at chasing your tail to stay open.
That said, none of us should give our earnings away needlessly. It's already been said, buy locally when you need too. If that doesn't allow an LBS or whatever to survive, then it shouldn't exist. It's up to the retailer to pursue the future in a logical, sustainable manner. We don't help by purchasing things that are grossly overpriced. If the purchase doesn't make good sense then by all means don't do it.
Overhead costs are enormous compared to the potential return in most locations. It's been an exceedingly long readjustment period for property owners who are tied to financing costs for land, property, etc. "Everything escalates except my income" is a common cry for any land based operation or tenant. Again the retailer has to readjust the future operation to compete with the "new" and future realities. Personally, my stomach wasn't strong enough and although I ruined some very fun hobbies attempting to make businesses, I have recovered some of the former fun.....
I'm not going to bother ordering on-line if I am in a store and the differential is a small percentage larger. I will not pay more than that small percentage larger because it would not be fair to me (or my family) to do so. Markups should be what they should be for the item's cost/worth, not a handout to whoever is the provider.
Now, can I go ride my Ironman?
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Old 02-04-15, 11:31 PM
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There can also be quite a difference in price between local shops. A few years ago I shopped around for a part. One shop would order it for me for $15. Another had it in stock for $18 and a third shop had it in stock for $24. I ordered it from the first store.
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Old 02-05-15, 09:58 AM
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Was just thinking about this. Went to LBS for a tube of Park Polylube to repack a BB. It was $3+ more than online, but I could get it today and it was a nice ride up to the shop. Also saw some stuff "on the hoof" for my wife's bike while I was there. They also had a basket full of water bottles that I needed and had completely forgotten about ordering online. Edit: I only needed one bottle - not the basketful.

It is a different type of serendipitous discovery in an LBS vs online. Both have it, but different. I want both available and so that means I need to pay for that privilege.

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Old 02-05-15, 10:06 AM
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We retail that chainring tool for $9.95 in our shop...

The difference between $4.40 online and $19.99 at that shop? Email that online source and ask how much same day delivery would cost.

Another difference: if you ordered chainrings or chainring bolts at full-pop retail price from our shop, we'd likely do install for free, point you toward a local co-op, or offer shop time/space/tools to DIY during our weekend open shop time.
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Old 02-05-15, 10:58 AM
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I can't imagine there are many situations where a Chainring Nut Wrench is a must-have-it today.
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Old 02-05-15, 11:07 AM
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Similar story: A month ago I took my father in-law car for a safe inspection. It didn't pass because the plastic casing for one of the side light had cracked. I asked how much it would cost to replace. They said they don't carry item like that but could call around to check. The quote coming back was $250 for the part and it won't be available until 2 more business days. Even the shop was shocked at the price for just a piece of plastic. I declined and took the car home, went on Amazon to order the item for $50 total and replace the item myself. I was willing to pay $75 or maybe even $100 but $250???
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Old 02-05-15, 11:09 AM
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I just bought one of those tools at a LBS for $6.99 + tax. I usually shop online to get prices, then decide where to buy.
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Old 02-05-15, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by kwcahart View Post
I just bought one of those tools at a LBS for $6.99 + tax. I usually shop online to get prices, then decide where to buy.
I would have gladly paid even $10 plus tax, but the $20 price just turned me off.
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Old 02-05-15, 01:39 PM
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Normally, I would defend the bike shop, but that price does seem out of line. I don't know the reason, but usually, bike shop prices on Park tools are the same as or only slightly higher than online prices.

But every business must have prices that are higher than rock bottom on some type of item. Maybe this shop has decided to do that with tools. Usually it's with things such as tubes, tires, and clothing. If they don't do this with something or other, they will not be able to survive.
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