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I get it now. Retail has changed.

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I get it now. Retail has changed.

Old 09-01-18, 11:57 AM
  #1  
TiHabanero
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I get it now. Retail has changed.

In Seattle right now with my son and his best girl. She just ordered a pair of cycling shoes online and showed them to me using a picture on her phone. Very excited. Ordered through Walmart using an app that searched for the model at the lowest price.
I am a big advocate for supporting your Local Bike Shop, and purchase only from my LBS as I really feel it is my responsibility to support my neighbors instead of some kid working in a warehouse 2000 miles away. I asked his girl what motivated her to purchase online. This is what she said:

I don't want to try shoes on at a shop and buy from someone else. It doesn't sit right with me.

The local shop had the brand, but not the size. I can get them in one day from Amazon, and can return them with no restock fee or shipping charge!

Selection is enormous and virtually unlimited, why limit myself to what the shop wants to sell me? Aesthetics are very, very important, and it is much more convenient to shop online for the style and color I like.

The price was amazing. I got the shoes for $40 from Walmart. In the Shop they were $140 and on Amazon $70.

When asked if the price were the same in the LBS, would that make a difference, she replied, "Yes, if they had my size, but not if they had to order it." She also noted that if she had to go to several shops to find the style and color, she would not do it, and just buy on line because it is far easier and convenient.

In conclusion it seems the motivation to purchase online is more complex than low prices, but low prices is close to the #1 reason. Convenience and selection is really the driver, then price. Brick and Mortar does not stand a chance with the current generation unless they have something that cannot be ordered online and is very desirable. What manufacturer is going to be able to create supreme desirability long term? SBC and Trek are able to do it now, but 10 years from now I do not see it as realistic to expect them to not sell online. "Fit" was the big push to make a shop desirable and unique, however that can be achieved online now. Retail has changed.

As my son noted, consumers are more informed today than in the past and don't need a salesperson to give them their opinion when the internet has thousands more and can create a consensus among their peers. This is more useful than one guy's opinion looking to sell you what he has at his store. Of course I quipped, "So it is more like group think rather than individual decision making." To which he replied, "Yes." Much more was discussed, and is important to my observation, however these reasons are the most outstanding.

Sure am glad I only work part -time and for fun in the shop. In no way would I ever contemplate opening a B&M store today.
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Old 09-01-18, 12:04 PM
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Walmart creates ghost towns , so don't invest in commercial real estate,
where a Store is proposed to be built ..

Put it into low income housing, since that is all that will be paid.
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Old 09-01-18, 12:05 PM
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Yeah, the demise of bookstores and record stores was especially sad, IMO, but this kind of commercial evolution is inevitable.

Bike stores seem to be hanging on, at least in my neighborhood.
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Old 09-01-18, 12:53 PM
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The last time I stepped in a bike shop over two years ago, I spent about $50 on two brake cables, about 48 inches of cable housing the guy cut from a big roll, and two no name water bottles with the bike shops logo on them (both leaked at the valve). The only reason I didn't turn around and walk out is because I'm too nice. It's not my responsibility to support anything but my personal finances. My only exception would be a Performance Bike store, but the nearest one to me is an hour and a half away.
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Old 09-01-18, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
In Seattle right now with my son and his best girl.
How many girls does he have ... and does he make them wear numbered jerseys denoting their status in his life ... or maybe "Best," ""adequate," "back-up," "desperation"?
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Old 09-01-18, 12:59 PM
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"back up" lol
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Old 09-01-18, 01:00 PM
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it will force the B&M retailers to keep up with trends with a more keen eye while also making the manufacturer give more authority to the store front to pull specific inventory should they wish to maintain numbers in sales.
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Old 09-01-18, 01:07 PM
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There's been a lot of talk about brick and mortar going away. It's just going to change. Buildings are going to transition from shops to showrooms and social places. Think about the #1 problem many shops face: "we can't have everything in stock". This issue is seriously alleviated when you only need one item of each size and one item of each style. For example, if I want a blue Shimano shoe in size 45, the shop doesn't need to have that in stock. They just need one size 45 Shimano pair and maaaybe a sample swatch of the color I want. Even that isn't completely necessary with good screens and photography.

if brick and mortar stores try to compete with online stores simply by being stores, of course they'll struggle. They need to actually leverage their advantages such as service, repair and human interaction. This is a good thing because salesmen can't get away with selling you crap or being aholes anymore. They also can't get away as easily with being incompetent mechanics because word gets around and that's a substantial portion of their profits. I say this is a good thing. Incoming hate from LBS owners who refuse to embrace change in a rapidly changing economy.
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Old 09-01-18, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
How many girls does he have ... and does he make them wear numbered jerseys denoting their status in his life ... or maybe "Best," ""adequate," "back-up," "desperation"?
Maybe he gives them Jersey's with Monday, Tuesday Wednesday etc..............
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Old 09-01-18, 01:10 PM
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online will dominate but the elimination of brick and mortar would depend on every single person learning to service their bikes and that is not happening. for service and resell the lbs is hard to beat
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Old 09-01-18, 01:32 PM
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I am not worried about bike shops going out of business, they're going to be here for a very long time.
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Old 09-01-18, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
The last time I stepped in a bike shop over two years ago, I spent about $50 on two brake cables, about 48 inches of cable housing the guy cut from a big roll, and two no name water bottles with the bike shops logo on them (both leaked at the valve). The only reason I didn't turn around and walk out is because I'm too nice. It's not my responsibility to support anything but my personal finances. My only exception would be a Performance Bike store, but the nearest one to me is an hour and a half away.
Fortunately your neighborhood Performance Bike Store is close...

They closed the one in Eugene. I think there may be one up in Portland, but it would be a pretty brutal ride to get up there and back... especially if I didn't have the parts needed for my bike.

Every once in a while I'll check out a LBS. Sometimes I'll pick up something small.

A couple of years ago I was in a LBS. Bike tubes, $8 each. And they tried to sell me brake pads that didn't fit the bike I was working on, claiming the right pads were not available.

I did buy the tubes, but not the pads.

Since then most of my tubes have been bought online for $1 to $2 each.
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Old 09-01-18, 01:43 PM
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Thinking of shoes... I'm not sure why bike shoes have to come from a bike shop. I suppose the bike shop might help with fitting cleats and training first time users. Selling and possibly installing pedals?

But, I could imagine a shoe warehouse that would sell bike shoes, soccer shoes, golf shoes, running shoes, hiking shoes, etc...

Have it well stocked with 10+ brands of cycling shoes, and several models of each brand. Plus, all sizes (with enough of each size that if they sell ONE pair, they aren't short).

Custom insole fitting?

I tend to buy E-Bay shoes, but it can be a bit of a crap-shoot. I've discovered that Lake shoes tend to run about 1/2 size too large (they also sell half sizes), but still are comfortable.

Heck, a good shop might even take trade-ins.
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Old 09-01-18, 01:58 PM
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Its not just bike shops, it is all sorts. I spent the morning looking for motorcycle helmets, four shops, not a single one that fit my head, and lttle selecton in any of the stores. Most seemed to stock colors that matched their bikes as teh important factor. I'm resigned to ordering a few online and sending back the ones that dont fit my too oval of a head.
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Old 09-01-18, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
I don't want to try shoes on at a shop and buy from someone else. It doesn't sit right with me.
FWIW, I respect the above position. The girl is buying where she shops. Fair enough.

The U.S. is way overbuilt in retail. Possibly by a factor of 10. Here's a stat I just now looked up. We have "around 29K SF of gross settable area per 1,000 people, compared to 2,856 SF/1,000 in the U.K. and 2,691 SF/1,000 in Europe". The stat comes from this recent Forbes article; https://www.forbes.com/sites/bisnow/...-why-it-might/ .
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Old 09-01-18, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by smashndash View Post
There's been a lot of talk about brick and mortar going away. It's just going to change. Buildings are going to transition from shops to showrooms and social places. Think about the #1 problem many shops face: "we can't have everything in stock". This issue is seriously alleviated when you only need one item of each size and one item of each style. For example, if I want a blue Shimano shoe in size 45, the shop doesn't need to have that in stock. They just need one size 45 Shimano pair and maaaybe a sample swatch of the color I want. Even that isn't completely necessary with good screens and photography.

if brick and mortar stores try to compete with online stores simply by being stores, of course they'll struggle. They need to actually leverage their advantages such as service, repair and human interaction. This is a good thing because salesmen can't get away with selling you crap or being aholes anymore. They also can't get away as easily with being incompetent mechanics because word gets around and that's a substantial portion of their profits. I say this is a good thing. Incoming hate from LBS owners who refuse to embrace change in a rapidly changing economy.
services being top notch can only take you so far. If you never sell a product, the chances of someone bring you anything to service would be very low.

Going in to a clothing store has always been a major letdown in my experiences. They carry ALL the sizes but the size that fits me. How many times have you gone looking for new jeans to find all combinations of these numbers for waist & length: 28, 30, 36, 38, 40, & 42 Very rarely do you see available something with 34 & when you do it's in a wrong combo. How many are a 36x28 that the shelves are overly loaded with falling 36x28? Yet the size I am in search of is always OOS & "special order" or not available for ordering at all...
Big & tall always cracks me up. Tall sizes always start at "large tall [LT], but never once have I found in a store to offer in the "big & tall" something in the sizes of ST or MT. Most medium tall clothing is stashed randomly in the regular fitting clothing sections. Never once have I ever ran in to a small tall. My nephew would probably like clothing for x-mas if he was gifted ST shirts & 32x34 [or 32x36] jeans instead of that popular gaming system & that trendy toy action rifle.... well maybe not, but at least I'd know it fit him if I could find a ST! Looks like regular fit creeping up small shirts & senior citizen spandex waisted slacks he'll forever receive...
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Old 09-01-18, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
FWIW, I respect the above position. The girl is buying where she shops. Fair enough.

The U.S. is way overbuilt in retail. Possibly by a factor of 10. Here's a stat I just now looked up. We have "around 29K SF of gross settable area per 1,000 people, compared to 2,856 SF/1,000 in the U.K. and 2,691 SF/1,000 in Europe". The stat comes from this recent Forbes article; https://www.forbes.com/sites/bisnow/...-why-it-might/ .


Interesting. 40% of US retail is in shopping malls (!), according the the article.
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Old 09-01-18, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
Going in to a clothing store has always been a major letdown in my experiences. They carry ALL the sizes but the size that fits me. How many times have you gone looking for new jeans to find all combinations of these numbers for waist & length: 28, 30, 36, 38, 40, & 42 Very rarely do you see available something with 34 & when you do it's in a wrong combo.


I tend to like size 33. 32 is too small, 34 is too big.

I have shortish legs, so just about any length will work, depending on how much cuff is sitting on the shoe, 33x30 or 33x32???

But, yes, I know the feeling of digging through enormous piles to find that one gem.

Fortunately cycling clothes tend to be stretchy, and not as size specific.
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Old 09-01-18, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
The U.S. is way overbuilt in retail. Possibly by a factor of 10. Here's a stat I just now looked up. We have "around 29K SF of gross settable area per 1,000 people, compared to 2,856 SF/1,000 in the U.K. and 2,691 SF/1,000 in Europe". The stat comes from this recent Forbes article; https://www.forbes.com/sites/bisnow/...-why-it-might/ .
The US likes to super-size everything.

When I was in Italy, things were quite different, with malls of tiny family run shops that would sell one item like bread or cheese. It made shopping quite different as one would have to go to a dozen shops to get one's groceries.

And, I think there was strong legislation favoring the micro shops.

It has been a few years so I don't know what it is like now.

However, I have to wonder if that ideology is also suffering with the internet. Yes, a bread store might survive. However, one of the issues with the LBS and bikes is SELECTION. There are just too many choices for a small shop to keep up. And, stuff changes so quickly. Stock up on 6800 parts... and it is now obsolete.

Hit E-Bay, Amazon, or a big online retailer, and the possibilities are endless. Many items just are not available locally, and have never been available locally.
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Old 09-01-18, 02:41 PM
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I just visited a bike 'store' for a consultation on a problem I'm having. They have a few new bikes on display and an adjustable stand with easy adjustments for seat height, seatpost setback, ST angle, distance between seat and bars, etc., etc. ,etc.. Their business is bike fitting, bike service, and bike/parts sale. But the bike sale is based on a consultation and some time on the adjustable stand. The guy said once he can dial in a fit, he can match a rider to a bike. Then, if he makes the sale, he orders and sets up the bike. Bikes start at about $1,000. He generally sells $2k-$4k bikes, but can go much higher.

His take is that the B & M bike business lies with the chains and boutiques. I think I'm convinced.
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Old 09-01-18, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
However, I have to wonder if that ideology is also suffering with the internet. Yes, a bread store might survive. However, one of the issues with the LBS and bikes is SELECTION. There are just too many choices for a small shop to keep up. And, stuff changes so quickly. Stock up on 6800 parts... and it is now obsolete.

Hit E-Bay, Amazon, or a big online retailer, and the possibilities are endless. Many items just are not available locally, and have never been available locally.

If the LBS was capable or ordering the parts I wanted with a polite attitude without adding typical hefty difference in price to what I can order them for, I'd have no real issue walking in there store to give them business.
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Old 09-01-18, 02:57 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
services being top notch can only take you so far. If you never sell a product, the chances of someone bring you anything to service would be very low...

Most independent auto repair shops never sold a car.
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Old 09-01-18, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Fortunately your neighborhood Performance Bike Store is close...
Back home in DFW one was 10 minutes away and another two were 30 minutes away. The closest bike shop near me now is a 40 minute drive, and being a Trek dealer about all they have is Bontrager everything. Most the clothing is Pearl Izumi and if you can find anything in a medium you're lucky. There's nothing cool to look at, I don't even go there to browse. Just a waste of gas.
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Old 09-01-18, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
Most independent auto repair shops never sold a car.
Dear sweet baby Jesus. If the bike industry goes the way of cars then it's only a matter of time before bike mfgs make it impossible for the home or independent mechanic to repair their bikes. I guess that's one benefit of currently having most repairs done by the shop that sold the bike - there's no incentive for mfgs to sabotage their bikes.
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Old 09-01-18, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
services being top notch can only take you so far. If you never sell a product, the chances of someone bring you anything to service would be very low
I actually think the trend is for more shops that just do service or sell just a few bikes as a sideline. Some of these are making it by being the local assembly option for the online retailers as well. There's various sizes of LBS around my area, and the general rule is to survive, you need to have a lot of bikes or a really good reputation as a mechanic. Some of the bigger stores around here also have great service departments. My impression is that the mechanics around here are always busy except in winter.
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