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Would you pay extra to support your local ski shop? - Page 2

post #31 of 48
I think part of what is going on is the "grocery store coupon" effect.
(Also known as the college tuition model.) Push up the stated MSRP
price, and sell a few at full price. But make sure there are ways for those
consumers with price resistance to pay less... coupons or financial aid
or obscure web sites.

But I agree with Whiteroom that things are getting out of hand and are
probably not sustainable. When the "obscure" web sites get too easy to find, the manufacturers are losing the benefit of having it both ways.

I find it sad. I LIKE small, friendly stores. I pay a premium to support some, but I'm inconsistent. I buy wine at a small local shop, at probably
a 10% premium. But I go to Home Depot (partly cause I never did like my local hardware store very much, and they close early).

How about ski equipment? Also mixed.

My skis - local, but during pre-season sale (still not super cheap - $800 w/ bindings. I later saw them a little cheaper at another brick and morter store).
My sons skis (2 pair) - internet. One pair demos, with bindings. The other came new with bindings I mounted myself.
My goggles - big box sports store, probably just as bad as internet in the big scheme of things.
My son's prescription goggles - internet, and probably no choice.
My son's coat - local, full price (more than the skis).
My son's boots - local, during season, at regular store price (which was still a lot less than MSRP).
Son's Poles - local.
Socks - local.

My own prediction:
"City" ski shops will mostly disappear, or become a minor sideline in a bigger store. Many "resort" shops will survive.
Once enough shops disappear that the manufacturers stop worrying about
competing with their own sales channel, they will start selling direct, do more just-in-time manufacturing, and reduce the surplus pool. THere will be fewer great deals, what will be left will be deals on unpopular models or strange sizes.
post #32 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuki View Post
And therein, lies the crux of the dougnut!

... $75 for the mount. They tacked on an extra $50 in one season directly due to people walking in with stuff bought on the net.

Now do the math. Since they won't give you a nice discount on the bindings for the cyber skis, and you pay shipping and you pay a premium for the mount, how much have you saved. Now add the gas and travel time to reach a shop (see below).
New binding /ski systems are changing this. I bought a pair of Head skis with the Railflex binding over the internet, and all the online retailer needed was the boot sole length and din to "mount" them (if you aren't familiar with the Railflex binding, it takes under a minute to adjust them to any sole length after removing the one screw in the middle). This takes the local shop completely out of the loop, unless you want to have a release check done. Maybe a good test of a shop's integrity would be to ask how much they charge to mount a Railflex binding on a Head ski that already comes with the plate.
post #33 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post
Once enough shops disappear that the manufacturers stop worrying about competing with their own sales channel, they will start selling direct, do more just-in-time manufacturing, and reduce the surplus pool. THere will be fewer great deals, what will be left will be deals on unpopular models or strange sizes.
Interesting and very plausible. Ski shops going the way of the butcher shop (we actually still have one here. I shop there because the guys are nice and their beef jerky is the bestr.

I know the manufacturing has changed so that they can crank out skis to meet demand, and inventory control has inproved with better info tech.

North Face closed an outlet store recently. They get their manufacturing done on demand in China and just don't have enough overstock to fill the outlet stores.

( the next big issue--those North Face items sold on ebay direct from China--extra free lance runs of the actual item)
post #34 of 48
I would like to clarify one thing about my posts on this topic:

I don't think it is WRONG for consumers to seek the lowest price available, let's face it a Volkl off eBay is the same as a Volkl in a 'Boutique Shop'. The product doesn't change, advice and knowledge may differ...maybe. What I think needs to happen is the manufacturers need to change, expecting a consumer to pay more to 'support' a local shop is not going to happen. I wouldn't do it. There are times I buy things I want immediately or need to try on, etc. I also like instant gratification, so buying and having it right away is important to me. I order stuff online, I buy stuff on SAC (and i can buy stuff shop form...SAC is often LESS) I like to save some of the money I work for. Expecting people to 'pay more' is futile. What IS possible is to stop the excess product being dumped (IN season) on the web. No one who is the end consumer wants to hear that...but if you like being able to go into a shop and fondle gear it's the only way for sustainability.

The 'deals' wouldn't neccissarily go away, just stop selling this seasons skis to SAC mid season at an enormous discount. People see the price there and assume (incorrectly) that every shop 'could' sell those skis at those prices and see a profit. They assume that the shops are greedy and SAC is trying a 'different business model' that is less profit but high numbers. That is NOT what is going on.
post #35 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post
every shop 'could' sell those skis at those prices and see a profit. They assume that the shops are greedy and SAC is trying a 'different business model' that is less profit but high numbers. That is NOT what is going on.
Hey, that's what Cupolo's told us, and you know they wouldn't lie!
post #36 of 48
I am decidedly NOT in the business of keeping businesses alive when I can get products for a better price elsewhere. I'm not really concerned with the manufacturer's pricing models or how they dump their inventory.

This whole discussion reminds me of the sheer lunacy of buying american cars solely to support american car companies: if the japanese government really wants to pay part of a car's cost for me, I'm all for it. It makes no sense at all for me to pay more money for the same product; if other peoples' pricing schemes allow them to sell more cheaply, I can see no reason to pay extra. The same logic applies to purchasing skis: if someone else takes a hit willingly for me to get cheaper skis, I'm not going to lose any sleep over buying 'em!

Regarding service in ski shops. With all due respect to those who own/manage/work in competent shops, I'd say that the top 10% of employees in the top 10% of shops actually know what they're doing. In 'reputable' shops, I've had 5% base bevels put on my skis (I said grind flat, thank you very much), too-long mounting screws used resulting in bubbled bases, misaligned mountings, prepaid products that were never ordered, and countless heaps of useless and/or blatantly false advice given to me. If I weren't exhausted, I'm sure I could think of plenty of additional examples. I can think of four things that a shop can do for me that are legitimately necessary:

1) base grinds/repairs: I can't have a wintersteiger in my basement. I also don't have a base-welder, though that could be arranged.
2) Mountings: I will presumably learn to mount skis using paper templates myself. For now, I'm dependent on a shop for this.
3) Demos: Testing skis on snow is important. A smart shop, it seems to me, makes an absolute killing renting demo skis at $35-$60/day. That's 10 rental days to pay for that pair of skis.
4) Boot work: In many cases, good bootfitters work away from general purpose ski shops, but I'll include them here for good measure.

I suppose it's nice to be able to try on jackets in a shop, look through goggles, or play with retail-priced skis, but seriously, folks: Until a shop starts adding enough value to offset the insane (from a consumer's perspective) premium on buying gear from a shop, I've switched over to the internet. If I need to have skis stone ground, I'll get that done. If I need to have bindings mounted (and nobody can/should fault me for reusing my bindings!), I'll pay someone to do them or learn to do them myself. For bootfitting I wind up at a specialist bootfitter anyway (and their skis are usually race stock at racer prices anyway!) What I'm not going to do, and what's not fair to ask of me, is that I spend twice as much to support a local shop staffed full of people that know less about their inventory than I do. You can find a much better and more complete answer to just about anything you'd ask a shop employee by going online and searching the forums here. Next thing you know, there'll be a thread titled "Support your local shop: Pay twice as much and quit posting on epicski"....
post #37 of 48
So Glytch, it's OK to go into a local shop and try on jackets and boots and then order off the net?

Or, do you order and then send the stuff back a few times till you get a good fit? How much can a bootfitter do with boots that just don't fit? There is only so much you can do with packing, stretching or grinding any boot.

E-Bay ..... If I had a $1 for every bogus item (how much Spyder stuff was real??) on the net this year I could retire. Even the collector car ads are showing some bogus stuff now. I scanned last night and there were ads ... like ... an Aston Martin DB-4 ... BUY NOW for $9,500 .... Cobra 427, BUY NOW for $13,500 and the pics showed cars that were almost mint.

Uh huh! : I trust the net alright.
post #38 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glytch View Post
I am decidedly NOT in the business of keeping businesses alive when I can get products for a better price elsewhere. I'm not really concerned with the manufacturer's pricing models or how they dump their inventory.

This whole discussion reminds me of the sheer lunacy of buying american cars solely to support american car companies: if the japanese government really wants to pay part of a car's cost for me, I'm all for it. It makes no sense at all for me to pay more money for the same product; if other peoples' pricing schemes allow them to sell more cheaply, I can see no reason to pay extra. The same logic applies to purchasing skis: if someone else takes a hit willingly for me to get cheaper skis, I'm not going to lose any sleep over buying 'em!

Regarding service in ski shops. With all due respect to those who own/manage/work in competent shops, I'd say that the top 10% of employees in the top 10% of shops actually know what they're doing. In 'reputable' shops, I've had 5% base bevels put on my skis (I said grind flat, thank you very much), too-long mounting screws used resulting in bubbled bases, misaligned mountings, prepaid products that were never ordered, and countless heaps of useless and/or blatantly false advice given to me. If I weren't exhausted, I'm sure I could think of plenty of additional examples. I can think of four things that a shop can do for me that are legitimately necessary:

1) base grinds/repairs: I can't have a wintersteiger in my basement. I also don't have a base-welder, though that could be arranged.
2) Mountings: I will presumably learn to mount skis using paper templates myself. For now, I'm dependent on a shop for this.
3) Demos: Testing skis on snow is important. A smart shop, it seems to me, makes an absolute killing renting demo skis at $35-$60/day. That's 10 rental days to pay for that pair of skis.
4) Boot work: In many cases, good bootfitters work away from general purpose ski shops, but I'll include them here for good measure.

I suppose it's nice to be able to try on jackets in a shop, look through goggles, or play with retail-priced skis, but seriously, folks: Until a shop starts adding enough value to offset the insane (from a consumer's perspective) premium on buying gear from a shop, I've switched over to the internet. If I need to have skis stone ground, I'll get that done. If I need to have bindings mounted (and nobody can/should fault me for reusing my bindings!), I'll pay someone to do them or learn to do them myself. For bootfitting I wind up at a specialist bootfitter anyway (and their skis are usually race stock at racer prices anyway!) What I'm not going to do, and what's not fair to ask of me, is that I spend twice as much to support a local shop staffed full of people that know less about their inventory than I do. You can find a much better and more complete answer to just about anything you'd ask a shop employee by going online and searching the forums here. Next thing you know, there'll be a thread titled "Support your local shop: Pay twice as much and quit posting on epicski"....
The orginal question obviously implied a competent shop.:
post #39 of 48
The Net has opened up every consumer's inventory options to the infinite. This applies to new, used and older model new equipment of every type. Every year more people are buying more product on the Net. There is no way small local shops can compete with that. In order to survive they need to work their service nitch with fitting, tuning and customizing equipment. If I can buy stuff from anywhere in he world and have it delivered to my door in a few days then so can ski shops. I see them becoming ordering centers in the future where they have demo equipment to fondle and try, but they go on the net and find the best deal and then order and set it up for you. It makes no sense for them to pre-season order a ton of skis/boot/clothes and try to guess what they can sell and how much they can sell it for.
post #40 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post
The Net has opened up every consumer's inventory options to the infinite. This applies to new, used and older model new equipment of every type. Every year more people are buying more product on the Net. There is no way small local shops can compete with that. In order to survive they need to work their service nitch with fitting, tuning and customizing equipment. If I can buy stuff from anywhere in he world and have it delivered to my door in a few days then so can ski shops. I see them becoming ordering centers in the future where they have demo equipment to fondle and try, but they go on the net and find the best deal and then order and set it up for you. It makes no sense for them to pre-season order a ton of skis/boot/clothes and try to guess what they can sell and how much they can sell it for.
I actually see a value in the local shop maintaining some stock, since there are some of us who decide to buy things in a hurry because of trips, etc. and we want to be able to walk out the door with the merchandise rather than wait ten days for this to arrive and then another three days to get it mounted. It's fun some times to be able to buy today and ski tomorrow. You won't get this with an online retailer.

Also, as regards channel stuffing, I don't see this going entirely away even if the smaller shops continue to go out or business. The bigger chains will still continue to order things and there will be leftovers for much the same reason, that is some people want to come in and try the stuff and then walk out with it. Unfortunately, a lot of the chains only stock mediocre intermediate equipment which is of no interest to most of us on this web site, so if big chains continue to take over I don't think this is a good thing. It's a lot like Walmart driving Toys-R-Us out of business by focussing only on the most popular toys, it results in less selection for most people.

I also think ski manufacturers will be somewhat careful about getting into direct online sales because of liability and practical issues. They still need someone to mount the binders for most people and to conduct the interviews associated with this. If they start selling in competiton with their retailers then they will have to find a way to provide this service. Just doing things over the phone won't work because they don't have the boots. Will we mail in our boots everytime we need a mount?
post #41 of 48
There will be three types of ski shops in the future--

Small shops that make their income from service-- Ski boots will be major sale item, customer fitting and alignment and tuning service provide a good portion of income. A few skis and accessories get sold.

Larger shops at larger mountain that provide demos and sales and carry a fairly decent selection and reasonable discount.

Click-and-mortar large ski shops that cater to both local clients and internet customers. They'll be the only ones who can afford to stock a large selection as they can dump their extra inventory on sale over the internet.

Mediocre medium-sized shops will go out of business (good riddance).

The cause? The internet but also ski manufacturers. They make so many gosh dern models now-a-days!!! Think about how many skis a shop has to carry to have a good selection of models in various lengths for even three or four major brands?
post #42 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by mudfoot View Post
If I can buy stuff from anywhere in he world and have it delivered to my door in a few days then so can ski shops. I see them becoming ordering centers in the future where they have demo equipment to fondle and try, but they go on the net and find the best deal and then order and set it up for you. It makes no sense for them to pre-season order a ton of skis/boot/clothes and try to guess what they can sell and how much they can sell it for.
Might work, but I find it irritating when their answer to every item is "we can order it for you" I can order it too. They'd really have to be providing good prices, service, and advice.
post #43 of 48
For the most part, I do my best to support local shops. But I also remind myself that they are looking at me as a 'mark' to some degree.

When I go into the shop to look at skis, their 'advice' is going to be colored by what they have on the rack and what they're trying to move.

I've had great luck with one local shop over the years. But I will never forget the day two sales reps there looked me in the eye and told me I'd never overwhelm those Atomic Beta Ride 9's - after a long discussion of what I was skiing on at the time, skiing style, what type of terrain I like, etc. etc.

Of course I bought them, and of course I got out there and totally overskied them.

This was just one interaction with the shop out of many. For the most part, the shop does right by me.

I don't mind paying a bit extra for local service and good advice. But there are limits. And we always have to keep in mind that everyone has an agenda. Sometimes the agenda is to foster excellent customer relationships. Sometimes it is to 'move product.'
post #44 of 48
I have a different view on this as I think good etailers are what is needed in this industry while others should not be allowed to sell any equipment. Those etailers who sell by the rules are not bad for the brick and mortar shop as we/they have a fair advantage across the board. What it should come down to is customer service. How far is your company as a brick and mortar or as a etailer willing to go to service your customer. Price here should not be the factor. Get rid of the shops that are selling current models before Feb for 50% off and save the brick and mortar shop. If everything comes down to customer service then it does not matter if someone drives to a shop or if the shop delivers to them. Some online shops can mount and get product out to customers quicker and more accurate then many brick and mortar shops today. This is not the fault of the but the fault of the brick and mortar shop for not realizing that they need to get back to basics and put the customer first. Good etailers carry most important brands and show case everything as where the B&M will choose certain models and buy light. I know that many of these B&M shops are killing themselves because they are trying to get $75 for a service that is not worth more than $40, maybe $50. Not to mention that some of them do not even know how to mount the ski they bought and they have to call someone to find out where and how to mount. You would be horrified to hear some of the stories. I hate seeing people mount their own stuff, but who do we have to blame when they go to get their stuff mounted and they get charged twice the amount it should cost. Labor is where the money and customer service is. if you give someone a good experience and knowledgeable service, they do not mind paying a little extra to get product or service from a company that takes pride in what they do and this service can be done over the Internet or in a B&M shop.

www.untracked.com
post #45 of 48
YES - support local shop

We have two types of shop here. 1 shop supplies mostly mide range to higher end product and is knowledgeable. The other is taking the price point approach and selling a lot more lower end and clearout stock. Both work. One caters to the more discerning buyer and the other to those that care more about the dollar than the product. If you don't care what brand or if it is current you can get just about any category of ski or a great price from the second shop. So a skier that just wants a Slalom ski in a 160 or something might get a three year old product that suits them if they are not too fussy about the manufacturer and if they have one. If on the other hand you prefer a specific ski from a specific manufacturer you go to the more service oriented shop that is more specialized in skiing - they are more likely to stock exactly what you want.

The first shop makes money by selling current stock to buyers that demand that stock. The second by looking hard for the bargains and only reselling what they can buy cheap. Both models work but guess where everyone goes to get their skis tuned or boots fitted?

We need the specialty shop. A lot of knowledge not readily replaced is found there. Also they can save customers big $$ by having really good repair and service techs....

One final point. The main customers of the ski manufacturers are the retailers. The manufacturers try to create demand thru advertising but one retailler orders a lot more skis than one single customer. That is why direct selling in my area is discouraged and customers are still forwarded to the dealers for proper service and sales.

Mike
post #46 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikehoyt View Post
One final point. The main customers of the ski manufacturers are the retailers. The manufacturers try to create demand thru advertising but one retailler orders a lot more skis than one single customer. That is why direct selling in my area is discouraged and customers are still forwarded to the dealers for proper service and sales.
Yes, but there is a tipping point. A good analogy (I think) is windsurfing, where there used to be a lot of local shops, but now its mostly internet (except for the shops at destination vacation spots). Similar to city ski shops vs mountain shops. And the windsurf manufacturers have started selling direct in the last couple of years.
post #47 of 48
yes, as long as the service is good and the price is within reason. I don't count in sales tax when looking at the delta. This is easy around here in West central NJ, there are no good shops! Our local shop never heard of boeri helmets as of last fall........ Important point is that the e-tailers I tend to buy from are brick and mortar shops, just with sites. Just ask dawg or sierra Jim
post #48 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post
yes, as long as the service is good and the price is within reason. I don't count in sales tax when looking at the delta. This is easy around here in West central NJ, there are no good shops! Our local shop never heard of boeri helmets as of last fall........ Important point is that the e-tailers I tend to buy from are brick and mortar shops, just with sites. Just ask dawg or sierra Jim
If you scroll up you will see that Yuki has recommended Heino's on Rte. 23. Otherwise than that I agree with you that Central NJ is a ski shop wasteland...
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