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question for ski shop guys and owners. - Page 2

post #31 of 59
Shops should seriously taking notes here.
post #32 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by samurai View Post
As shop owners, you should be capitalizing on this. They're not taking advantage of you, they're doing business. You, however, are being taken because your concept of business is not of the same definition. You and your customers do not speak the same language. You feel ripped off, they don't even give it a second thought. To them, such practice is normal. Yeah, once we eliminate all competition, we can charge for 'service' and theres nothing the consumer can do. Just gotta get rid of everyone else...

Why is this practice not normal to you? Why are your customers categorized as participating in "Theft of Service?" Answer that question, and I'll come back for your "service" next year. No, he won't.

Evolve or die. Either you enter the service group, or you don't.Think about the flip side of 'evolution' for a moment, please. If I was a consumer I wouldn't want the current paradigm to ever change.

How could my shop possibly survive if they don't actually shelve any goods? uhhmmm... by being your only option?

They're a service group. Sounds more like they're your only option.

However, I'll admit, they don't limit themselves to skiing. They actually provide the service of going to people's places of work for group orders... ie- a salesman regularly attends the local High Schools and asks the coaches what he needs for his ball players. Then he orders it in the masses... which drastically exceeds any overhead he would stock. This service provides the coach with the luxury of not having to spend several days online gathering his 60person order of different sizes etc... sounds like your 'only option ski store' is also selling jock straps and footballs.

Actually, I'm beginning to wonder if the that salesman actually works for my school... he's present that often. Ahhh, I see. Group sales to institutions and leagues. The FUTURE.

This isn't just sporting goods either. I can order a custom tailored suit in my office. All I do is call the tailor and tell him to swing by sometime... lunch break on Thursday would be great, thanks. One week later and he delivers custom tailored suits to my desk. This concept blows the internet out of the water. Unless you want to save money, then service for custom items isn't the best option.

Yeah... service groups are going to bury you warehouse salesmen... just so you know.
I honestly think you are looking at Japanese culture and thinking it would work in the US, it won't... but I know you are smart enough to know that better than I do. So thanks for the condescending post.
post #33 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post
The 'problem' isn't YOU and it isn't SAC or Evo Gear, it's manufacturers selling gear for one price to retailers who book orders in mid-March and then dumping the same product in late December for a radically lower price. A lower price that isn't available to the shops who are following the set program the manufacturer's have established.
Quoted for the importance of re-emphasis!
post #34 of 59
I'm not being condescending to anyone. Get over yourself. (I don't know to whom I'm responding. I'm actually not looking at the author of the post to which I'm responding right now.)

Nonetheless, you're right. It won't happen overnight. As I mentioned, it took me a few years to get used to this business model as a customer. I'm also telling YOU to look to the future when planning your business model.

But YOU don't have to. YOU can just keep assuming I'm starting an argument. (with someone ? )

Nonetheless... your customers are actually already turning elsewhere to find the service they need. Whether that is the service you had intended on delivering is another question. And- I'm willing to bet it torments you. Hence... your reply which came minutes after my post.
post #35 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post
Shops should seriously taking notes here.
Ski Manufacturers should, seriously, be taking notes.
post #36 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
Ski Manufacturers should, seriously, be taking notes.
this business model will take years.

I suggest you lead.

(again, YOU, is the collective... and not your egocentric self sitting on the couch thinking that Samurai is actually talking to you.)

Espanol esta bien?

USTEDES- eso es para ti!

English sucks sometimes.
post #37 of 59
Thread Starter 

business model

I think I have adjusted my business model to adapt. I think most ski bums in my area can walk into my store and know i am going to take care of them. As a matter of fact if you rip and are at the mountain all of the time. I may even give you gear for free. I like the doctors and lawyers seeing the best skiers on the hill ripping on the stuff I sell. Because thats what they will want , and they will pay for it. I think whiteroom said it best and I applaud him.
My case is last year I didnt order any Atomic, last december 2 weeks before christmas Atomic offered me some closeouts at 60 percent of wholesale with dating 1 year later. Of course I bought some but why would I ever order atomic in march have them shipped in October and pay regular wholesale with jan/feb dating. The ski manufactures have to stop overproducing if they are going to be profitable, the shops are going to be profitable and the consumer is going to keep getting the best skis technology available.
post #38 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by samurai View Post

Yeah... service groups are going to bury you warehouse salesmen... just so you know. Yeah, that wasn't condescending at all.


Again, I'll be honest... it took me a few years to get used to not being able to buy things off the shelf. Now that I get how the society works, I love it. I love that I can have fish that was caught at 2am delivered to my desk for seven dollars... if I order it by 9am that is. On the contrary, if I actually go to a sushi restaurant, it'll cost over 20 bucks a plate.

funny how that works.

What would be funny (and topical) would be if the fisherman sold you your fish at 9am for a noon delivery, then sold the exact same fish to your coworker at 11am for 1/2 price. That's what is 'wrong' with the ski industry right now.
Samurai, I agree with you. You seem to feel that exquisite service for goods you really want/ need is preferable to 'a good deal' on stuff you don't actually need. I feel the same way.

Many people here in the States don't think that way. They, unfortunately , have many options when it comes to shopping.

I don't want to 'internet fight' with anyone right now, either.

What you are saying and what I am saying are virtually the same, having lots and lots of independantly run stores is inefficient and unneccissary, the stores and the manufacturers both lose. My suggestion is 'bring everything in-house'... your's is 'sell fish direct'. Pretty much the same thing.

To everyone else: Do you think prices will come down if any of this happens?
post #39 of 59
I'm not entirely convinced that ski manufacturers AREN'T profiting off of "late" sales of 50% off.

On the contrary, as a businessman in SE asia, I'd be willing to build a business on the assumption that 50% off (assumed) retail is actually profitable enough to sustain next year's product.

I know it will sell.

Yeah, everything at WalMart does actually cost less than a penny to produce. But you pay a penny... during the half-off sale.

American consumers actually have no idea how little their product costs.

*edit
Whiteroom- I think we all agree.

But we're not talking about providing goods. We're (I'm) talking about providing a service. You either lead that, or wonder how you got left behind while you were still trying to compete against other goods-providers.

What's your business model- goods or services?

(I don't actually expect you to respond right now... that's a huge response.)

sorry.
post #40 of 59
It is hard to shop "service" in a price driven market. On line retailers like STP and SAC really have taken on line purchasing to the next level. This has been a discussion in the auto industry for year to try to get rid of the dealer networks because it is a dinosaur in design. That is going to be impossible for too many reasons to get into here.

A smaller nimble servicing dealer that is a "demo center" is a viable direction. I have some ideas in this area that I am bouncing around.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
Add Ons:
I recall from my retail experience that salespeople are recognized and rewarded for adding on to the sale. I'm sure that must also be the case in a ski shop, goggles, gloves, tuning equipment etc. But at electronics stores, even the mighty Wal-Mart and KMarts the dreaded extended warranties. They are able to subsidize those rock bottom prices by selling the extended service plans. And, having to push those is paramount in those jobs because that's where they make their margins. Do any of you shop owners/managers see that as something that could "creep" in to the ski business, or has it already-i.e. with tuning included? I know they often offer free tuning for a year or two to close a sale. It seems to me that it would be difficult to sell a 5 year guarantee on a product that most folks see as outdated after three years. But, I've never felt the need to buy the extra warrantee for electronics either, but I've sold quite a few of them to other people so who knows..
Bike shops around here offer a "5 Year Service Policy" that covers unlimited (basic) tuneups for that period, it is offered on all new bike purchases for $69.95. It is a huge profit center for shops and it is the best value for the customer. Truly a win/win. I think something like this can be offered for tunes and calibration, but for 3 (or 5) years. Any reason to get people back into you store is a good reason.
post #41 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by samurai View Post
I'm not entirely convinced that ski manufacturers AREN'T profiting off of "late" sales of 50% off.

On the contrary, as a businessman in SE asia, I'd be willing to build a business on the assumption that 50% off (assumed) retail is actually profitable enough to sustain next year's product.

I know it will sell.

Yeah, everything at WalMart does actually cost less than a penny to produce. But you pay a penny... during the half-off sale.

American consumers actually have no idea how little their product costs.

*edit
Whiteroom- I think we all agree.

But we're not talking about providing goods. We're (I'm) talking about providing a service. You either lead that, or wonder how you got left behind while you were still trying to compete against other goods-providers.

What's your business model- goods or services?

(I don't actually expect you to respond right now... that's a huge response.)

sorry.

One quick point, then I'm off to download some porn.

Samurai, you are a teacher, correct? The cost of your 'product' isn't the dollar amount it takes to keep you alive and in a classroom. It's everything it took to get you to that classroom, right? The education you recieved, the life you've lead to gain 'life experience', it's everything, not just $xx.00 per hr to keep you there, right? Do you see where I'm heading?

Anyway, to answer: Service. The only thing different with buying a ski from me vs. Sierra Jim is the handjob. OK, I jest. We're all selling the same 'stuff' so the 'experience' is all that differs. The problem is, at present, we can't 'charge' for service before there is a sale. We have to hope the customer will say "OK, I want this product, you have it, the price is acceptable. I'll take it." We can't say "you must pay to look, try on is extra" and hope that works.
post #42 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post
To everyone else: Do you think prices will come down if any of this happens?
No.

But that's not my concern... nor is that "exclusive" service.

My shop is service-oriented. (virtually all shops in JP are service-oriented.)

they replace overhead with service.

that's it.

the price doesn't hit us customers at all... for better or for worse.

We just can't have it today... which goes back to fighting the "I want it now" crowd... as deemed to be American customers.

Perhaps there is business in not providing goods today for customers that use those goods for seasons on end. It's not like skiers throw their goods away when it stops snowing. You may be able to apply the converse logic that skiers also don't actually need it now.

I don't know, but surely Japan isn't that unique.

*edit

I'm not talking about teaching... I'm talking about buying skis. Literally.
post #43 of 59
If I were running a ski shop I would have a selection of skis available for customers to demo. I would advise them on which skis they should buy. I would allow them to deduct the price of their demo rental from the MSRP of the ski they buy from me after deciding which ski to buy based on their domo experience. Granted there would have to be some sort of stipulation to prevent them from, deducting their demo fees for the $1500. skis from their purchase of a 200 ski. That way the customer gets to buy the ski for 1/2 price and I get full price for the ski. The customer is happy with the demo service. If the customer doesn't buy, I've made money on the demo.
post #44 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by samurai View Post
they replace overhead with service.
that's it.
the price doesn't hit us customers at all... for better or for worse.

I don't know, but surely Japan isn't that unique.

*edit

I'm not talking about teaching... I'm talking about buying skis. Literally.
Samurai;

Are skis and similar products sitll exhorbitantly expensive in Japan compared to the US and other countries? Or, has geography corrected that some now that most are produced closer to Japan than US or Europe? My point is that I'd think folks in Japan or other markets whenre prices are MUCH higher would be even more likely to shop a local store, make a selection, then go order it online. That's what really kills local retailers. The do all the work to make the sale then get screwed. btw, I can tell by your posts (and cause you're from MN) your a good guy with principles so I doubt you'd do something like that unless the folks at the shop were rude. I'm just sayin' it must happen even more there.
post #45 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
That is called Theft of Service.
Its not theft. You need a new deal with the customer. Tell them they will pay for your boot fitting services wheter they buy boots or not. Demand a good faith deposit. Srsly.
post #46 of 59
All i can say is that I have purchased equipment from ptex1 and he seemed cool. was cordial via email and equally as cordial via phone. i'd recommend him/his shop to somebody based on my brief interaction with him.

now not sure if this fits the whole rant/theme, but i've noticed that while the internet is great for scoring cheap stuff, it seems to be limiting what the actual stores have in stock.

for example i needed hiking boots this summer. i have a relatively normal sized foot up front, but hella narrow heels. i went to the 4 core outdoor/hiking stores in the immediate SF Bay Area (SF/Oakland/Berkeley) and they basically all carried the same stuff...non of what they carried actually fit my feet.

but how can i buy online if i have to try on the freakin' boots?

so, is it possible that the whole online Tramdock/Backcountry/SAC deals are actually hurting the consumer by somehow causing a backlash that limits what a store actually has in terms of physical stock (for another example REI has maybe a 2 dozen hiking boots/shoes at the store, but they have like 4+ dozen online).

Anyway, sorry if i hi-jacked, but ptex's OP just made me think about the limited choices there seem to be at physical stores (this can be applied to ski shops, as well, as pretty much all the shops here in the Bay Area seem to carry the same skis and boot selection, generally speaking that is).
post #47 of 59
Interesting thread. All business are getting squeezed on price. I just bought my wife a lap top on Ebay from the company store of Fujitsu for $350 less than they had it listed for and $800 less than when it was introduced in November of 2007.
Excess inventory is always marked down to eventual give away prices to move it. The trick as an independent shop is to order less than demand will be, to sell out in December, while margins are the fattest. If you order less the manufacturers will eventually make less.
The public that is in the know, including yours truly, doesn't buy gear until it goes on sale. If there was no excess inventory, we would quickly get out of that habit. Frankly, eliminating the excess inventory issue would be very good for the industry, as there are boutique manufacturers whose skis I would love to try, but at close to $900 a pop I can't justify the expense knowing the big manufacturers will have similar equipment at seasons end for $400-$500. If that didn't happen, I might pop for the boutique skis that I never see on sale.
post #48 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Crab View Post
Jeez, Maggot, lighten up. There are plenty of impressive shops and great people around the Wasatch. Like Deep Powder House at Alta for one. Sure, some salespeople have that big ski god ego thing- where have I heard that before ? I usually buy my hardware in summer, at the shops, at about what online prices are. I paid full retail for my Mantras- hated doing it, but that was the only option, for the aforementioned reasons. Everyone I know in this industry (well, almost everyone) sure as hell ain't in it for the money.
Sorry if I ranted and raved a bit too much. Maybe I'm just bitter from spending a few years in Bozeman, nothing but mediocre or absolutely horrible shops that somehow stay in business just fine. ptex1, I'm sure you're familiar with them already, but if not, if you want some great examples of how not to run a ski shop, hang out around PHD skis in Bozeman for a while.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
Try that in a skirt
Believe it or not, there is a huge bias toward selling pretty stuff to women. This is not unfounded, because the shop owners have to "read" the customer, and there are plenty of people out there filling the stereotypes.
see Philpugs posts in the Graphix thread.
Oh I know. Like you said though, there are tons of women out there that just want whats pretty because they only use it for a couple runs in between drinking at the bar. There is also a tendency to sell women much more forgiving skis/boots than they really need. I've seen a few ripping women I know get convinced they need tiny tiny little noodles for skis, which hasn't worked out well.





The internet has had a bigger impact than cheaper prices though, people can now do 90% of the research for buying gear online. They no longer need a shops advice or opinions. True, plenty of skiers never needed that anyways, but whatever.

The internet has also helped tons and tons of indie companies thrive, which while awesome for the consumer and the sport as a whole, further cuts into brick and mortar shops bottom line. What needs to happen is more ski shops need to start carrying stuff from small companies, which I know some are doing.
post #49 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post
That's the problem for smaller shops, they don't have the ability (capital) to take, say, 100 pairs of one model of ski (in odd sizes) at one shot.
Sure they do. It's called financing. It's called taking on risk. Business do it every day. To say that my local shop couldn't open up a website to do what SAC and Tramdock are doing isn't really true. The business model may not be worth it, or maybe it takes the right person to find and build the value.
post #50 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by billyymc View Post
Sure they do. It's called financing. It's called taking on risk. Business do it every day. To say that my local shop couldn't open up a website to do what SAC and Tramdock are doing isn't really true. The business model may not be worth it, or maybe it takes the right person to find and build the value.
HAAA HAA Ha... so topical right now. Credit lines, that'll fix EVERYTHING.

At least read what I wrote before quoting me. I said SAC and Tramdock are NOT the 'problem', the theoretical 100 pairs of skis is the 'Problem'. More stores selling skis below cost would help how?
post #51 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiteroom View Post
HAAA HAA Ha... so topical right now. Credit lines, that'll fix EVERYTHING.

At least read what I wrote before quoting me. I said SAC and Tramdock are NOT the 'problem', the theoretical 100 pairs of skis is the 'Problem'. More stores selling skis below cost would help how?

Maybe I misunderstood you when you said: "That's the problem for smaller shops, they don't have the ability (capital) to take, say, 100 pairs of one model of ski (in odd sizes) at one shot."

I was just pointing out that they do if they want to evaluate the competitive landscape, determine that there is room for a new business model or distribution channel, gather the resources (i.e. - find financing if they don't have the $ to do it themselves), put their neck on the line a little farther than they already are, and follow through.

I understand your point in the current environment with regard to credit. Somewhat irrelevant, but I understand it. Many business successes have been started with small loans, and even by people having a great idea or vision and financing it with their credit cards -- it happens.

The ski shops that survive will find new ways to provide value to their customers. It's not as if this is a new story that is internet related. Try to go down to your local hardware store lately?

Small, core groups of consumers won't stop the flooding tide of the masses. If a shop wants to cater to the core skiers, they need a business model that can make money doing that.
post #52 of 59
OK, here's a business model that is a little different. Folks in the quiver thread are taling about having quiver stashes in multiple cities or even different countires. How bout a chain of ski shops more like a Blockbuster where you can buy an annual membership then just drop in and take whatever three pair you want from what is available. This differs from demo because of the membership pricing.

I'd never invest in this business plan but I'd certainly consider signing my kids up as members while they learn to ski instead of buying them new skis every year. Not sure if it is even remotely viable but it is an idea.
post #53 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post
That is called Theft of Service.
I didn't call it that, I just said I winced.
post #54 of 59
Lots of great points made in this thread regarding the state of affairs in the ski industry. I think at the end of the day the ski equipment manufacturers dictate the retail environment that has been created. If you're a smaller specialty shop , you are going to be very vulnerable carrying certain brands and models. There's too much product out there, that increases every year. New gear is kind of an indulgence for most skiers which motivates them to shop for the best possible deal available for that product or a functional equivalent. The internet provides the best previaling prices for every consumer. So if you know what you want there is little justification to purchase from your local shop at higher prices. Its a big mess for sure with more and more shops closing their doors every year due to the prevailing circumstances and largin erosion. If you have to assign blame, I think the ski companies have created this situation and are more inclined to continue with past practices than take a risk and produce less and try to reduce inventory in the pipeline which will support higher retail prices.
post #55 of 59
If you're at the base of a mountain you will always get the impulsive buyers, and clothing is nearly always, at least for myself, something you need to buy in person. Of course a shopper could always just try on your clothes and then buy it online, but I have not seen as much price discrepancy with clothes as I have with gear....which makes buyers even more suspicious that skis purchased in person are over priced. I got a better deal in person for my Spyder jacket than anywhere I saw online, and I got to try it on, and I got immediate satisfaction.
post #56 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post
OK, here's a business model that is a little different. Folks in the quiver thread are taling about having quiver stashes in multiple cities or even different countires. How bout a chain of ski shops more like a Blockbuster where you can buy an annual membership then just drop in and take whatever three pair you want from what is available. This differs from demo because of the membership pricing.

I'd never invest in this business plan but I'd certainly consider signing my kids up as members while they learn to ski instead of buying them new skis every year. Not sure if it is even remotely viable but it is an idea.
Its an interesting idea, but what benefit would this have over current demo-ing.
post #57 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richie-Rich View Post
Its an interesting idea, but what benefit would this have over current demo-ing.
You pay one price to borrow any ski at any location for a season-get a membership card. Going to SLC? Drop in to the shop when you get there and grab a pair of Gotamas tuned and ready to rock (no pun intended). Slide them in the drop box on your way to the airport. Get home and pick up a pair of SLs after work to ride EC ice next weekend before you head for Hunter. They'd sell most of the worn gear at the end of the season and have bigger quantities of current year models, but a few old standards as well. I guess keeping the same ski in different sizes would be the biggest challange, but not so much since these days skis only come in a few sizes.
post #58 of 59
Quote:
Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
now not sure if this fits the whole rant/theme, but i've noticed that while the internet is great for scoring cheap stuff, it seems to be limiting what the actual stores have in stock.
An example in an unrelated field -- there are no longer ANY technical book stores near MIT. In fact, as near as I can tell the Harvard Coop is the only place with any sizable scientific/technical selection left in all of Massachusetts.

The twin pincers of Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble have pretty much killed the bookstore category.
post #59 of 59
I'm not in the ski industry businesswise but I am in an ever changing one. I work for a large defense contractor and like the ski industry is having the way it does business changed by the actions/reactions of the customer. There is a good book to read called "Who Moved My Cheese." Two trips to the outhouse and you're done with it. It's a short read on how to deal with the changes and what happens if you refuse to accept it.

In a global economy enabled by the internet, business as usual is a constantly changing business. The trick is to find your niche in it for today and start figuring out what it's going to be tomorrow.
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