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I want to support my LBS, but...

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

I want to support my LBS, but...

Old 06-27-14, 03:25 PM
  #51  
Leinster
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Originally Posted by Doolittle View Post
Fair enough, but I think those are pretty important things to many cyclists. Depending on what and when you're buying, prices in shops can be relatively competitive too, especially with complete bikes.
Absolutely they're all important, and they're the main reasons why B&M shops still exist. I was just saying that it's highly unlikely for a LBS to carry a product that can't be found online. Barring shop-brand jerseys or water bottles or other merch, of course.

Shops can definitely be competitive on price with the net, obviously. Their problem is stock. I bought my bike at REI for less than I could find it online anywhere (even the REI website). A LBS near me had the same bike in stock for a similar price, but not in my size. Your LBS might have an awesome deal on what they have in stock, but that's not much use if what you need isn't in stock.
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Old 06-27-14, 03:46 PM
  #52  
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If you dont want to have a LBS anymore then do not buy from them. If you want them to stick around in your town, then do.
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Old 06-27-14, 06:17 PM
  #53  
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Originally Posted by PodiumCycling View Post
If you dont want to have a LBS anymore then do not buy from them. If you want them to stick around in your town, then do.
That's a nice sentiment and all but it's a bit Pollyanna-ish. It's not, nor will it ever be, cut and dry. The traditional LBS model needs to change and adapt to provide valued deemed worthy via physical presence. Unfortunately the main direction of the NBDA is guided by a bunch of old guys whose stance has decidedly been - those internet guys must be doing something wrong so we need to fight their pricing. That stance will lose over time.

There is no price elasticity in this business. Pretty much everything is extremely commoditized (unless it's surrounded by made up pseudo-science).

In general though, and this is speaking as a "CEO" in this industry - customers need to keep buying what they find in terms of value from the channel they value. If the LBS (IBD) plans on sticking around they need to find a better way of articulating and capitalizing on their best value. Arguing over non-value-added transactional dollars is a truly losing proposition.
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Old 06-27-14, 08:33 PM
  #54  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
+1

A bicycle shop is a business, not a charity. It is no different from a clothing store, jewellery shop, bookstore, or electronic goods shop.

If I can conveniently get good prices in any of those places for whatever I'm in the market for at the time ... great. If not, I move on to the next place ... which may be another shop a few blocks away, across town, or on the internet.

These days, with the increased convenience and lower prices of internet shopping, if bicycle shops want to stay in business, they need to focus on something the internet cannot provide ... service. Outstanding, good, friendly service. We should not need to bring a case of beer to a mechanic to encourage him/her to do a good job tuning or repairing our bicycles ... that service should be provided to the absolute best of their abilities with pride and without bribes. Same with customer service in the sales part of the shop. We should be provided with excellent, knowledgable, helpful customer service. That kind of service may encourage us to return to the shop because even if their prices are higher than the internet, we would know that along with those prices we are getting the best service possible.
I agree, especially with the bolded part.
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Old 06-28-14, 03:33 AM
  #55  
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Originally Posted by Leinster View Post
Unless you're counting intangibles such as customer service, repair and service plans, a friendly chat about who's going to win the Tour this year, and leading a Sunday shop ride, I don't think there's any physical product that a LBS can offer that the internet can't.
That's about all a LBS can offer anymore ... customer service, repair and service plans, a friendly chat about who's going to win the Tour this year, and leading a Sunday shop ride.

So why don't more LBSs focus on that and improve it?
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Old 06-28-14, 04:10 AM
  #56  
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My own anecdote: I decided to go clipless a while ago so thought I'd order the pedals online to save money, and then go to the LBS to get the shoes since I'd need to try them on. I ordered the pedals, then went to the LBS asking about shoes and the guys asked me what type of pedals I had. Type? Uh, there are types? D'oh, the clipless type. I had no clue there was more than one type! So he explained about the different types and what I'd like and I told him that I'd buy the pedals from him and just cancel my internet order. He then explained everything very clearly and setup the cleats on the shoes for me. So I guess if you know what the heck you're doing then getting everything off the internet works but if you're clueless like me the LBS provides a great service.
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Old 06-28-14, 06:50 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
That's about all a LBS can offer anymore ... customer service, repair and service plans, a friendly chat about who's going to win the Tour this year, and leading a Sunday shop ride.

So why don't more LBSs focus on that and improve it?
Because, other than the service/repair plans, there's not much profit to be made on any of them. Should a shop pay its young sales/wrench kid to go on/lead the shop ride? Should every employee be obliged to watch every stage of Paris-Nice? Some LBS owners do have the energy and commitment to do these things. Not all do. I agree, it is a shame. Usually, the one who'll do the extra stuff is also the one who'll do a better job of truing your wheel, in my experience.
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Old 06-28-14, 07:54 AM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by Leinster View Post
Because, other than the service/repair plans, there's not much profit to be made on any of them. Should a shop pay its young sales/wrench kid to go on/lead the shop ride? Should every employee be obliged to watch every stage of Paris-Nice? Some LBS owners do have the energy and commitment to do these things. Not all do. I agree, it is a shame. Usually, the one who'll do the extra stuff is also the one who'll do a better job of truing your wheel, in my experience.
What I'm saying is that shops should send their employees on customer service training courses, regularly, every year or two ... and they should send their mechanics on bicycle mechanics training courses ... and if they opt to sell stock, they should take the time to train their staff on their stock and other options so that the staff is knowledgeable.

The focus of the shop should be excellent, above-and-beyond service because incredible, go-the-extra-mile, in-person service is the one thing that the internet cannot provide.



And yes, as a part of that, the staff should be familiar with cycling events ... international and local ... of all sorts. Racing, randonneuring, the local century, organised tours, local MS rides, etc. etc. A person should be able to walk into a shop and ask what rides/events are going to be held somewhere in the general area ... and get a list of them ... and someone in the shop should have ridden them or be preparing to ride them.

Last edited by Machka; 06-28-14 at 07:58 AM.
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Old 06-28-14, 05:18 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by Equinox View Post
I have a good relationship with my LBS. I think I'm a good customer. They are a smaller shop with limited inventory of accessories. I normally do my shopping on the internet because almost every store that I patronize doesn't have what i want in stock. i can order it on amazon and get it for a good price in a couple of days without having to waste time and gas going to a store.
I wanted a common helmet which of course my LBS did not have in my size. I am trying to be a good boy and support the local businessman. I had looked on the internet and I saw the price and if I had ordered it, I'd have it by now. I don't understand why it takes the LBS a week to get something I can get in two days. Anywho, we didn't agree on a price. I assume they will charge me msrp. I can get it for $20. less on the internet. That kind of bugs me.
Should I confront them? I want to patronize them, but not if it's at full boat for everything.
ask if they'll price-match (you'd need to price match the full price plus tax and shipping).
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Old 06-28-14, 06:00 PM
  #60  
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I really don't understand why people consider on-line shopping as something other than local. I know Nashbar has a huge warehouse not two miles from where my wife grew up. I don't know those guys... but I am pretty sure they don't "fly-in" from out of town to process the orders.

A LBS or parts supplier does a really good job... expands and wins the favor of more and more customers. Pretty soon they have stores in other city's and other states, and a healthy on line business. So... at what point do they stop being a viable LBS. When do they become something... that no longer deserves my loyalty?

I mean... when did those guys that work just down the street in that big warehouse operation stop being local?

I shop at two area LBS. And I order on line. I am tickled the shops are here locally, with local staff.... AND it's nice to see the UPS and FedEx drivers working as well. I know there is a lot of employment associated with the on line package delivery business.
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Old 06-28-14, 08:30 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
I shop at two area LBS. And I order on line. I am tickled the shops are here locally, with local staff.... AND it's nice to see the UPS and FedEx drivers working as well. I know there is a lot of employment associated with the on line package delivery business.
As a UPS driver, I appreciate your point of view!
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