Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

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Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

Postby AUbicycles » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:09 am

SMH wrote:Bill Gordin can spot a ''price checker'' fairly easily these days, a customer who roams his bike shop not looking to buy but rather trawling for prices to compare with rapacious overseas online websites.

''They will take photos with their iPhone and write down things, they'll come in with a piece of paper, walk around the store … and then just walk out.''


Full Article on SMH


There has been a lot of discussion about online prices here thopugh I want to share a different point:

1. Buyers have always looked around - not everyone who walks through the door and looks has to buy. I think Bill Gordin still has a fair view as he is not challenging the shoppers - rather it is an observation HOWEVER just because a person takes a photograph with a smart phone does not mean that they intend to buy elsewhere. I for example may take a photo to record certain details - check and compare specs plus also customers may compare with other bricks and mortar retailers. In my case, I have not taken photos or done price comparisons in local bike shops with the intent to purchase online.

1. As we move into the digital age, shopping behaviour is changing and specifically on the technology side, although more and more shoppers are equipt with smart phones and in this day and age are more likely to take a photo - once again it can't be taken as an assumption that the buyer is intending to purchase online.

The basis of these comments is also the survey we conducted earlier this year on BNA (not yet released... sign up to the BNA newsletterif you want to stay informed). The fact is the shoppers use a lot of channels to research though very very few actually have ever gone into a bike shop, taken time from staff and possibly tested / tried to then purchase the item online for cheaper.
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Re: Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

Postby im_no_pro » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:15 am

I've taken photos of items in shops (not just bike shops). Occasionally it has been show I can show GLW a pic but almost always its for the purposes of price comparison, but not necessarily with online stores. On more than 1 occasion I have used the pic to get my preferred B&M retailer to price match/beat.
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Re: Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

Postby find_bruce » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:24 am

I regularly take photos of things I want to buy - usually so I can ensure it fits within my budget. It would be rare for me to show it to SWMBO though :D
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Re: Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

Postby im_no_pro » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:31 am

find_bruce wrote:I regularly take photos of things I want to buy - usually so I can ensure it fits within my budget. It would be rare for me to show it to SWMBO though :D


She doesnt get LBS photos :lol:

She got pics of things like furniture, whitegoods & appliances when we moved house.
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Re: Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

Postby RonK » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:53 am

So Bill Gordin has buyers actually come into his shop, but fails to make the sale. Yet I'm sure most buyers would say if that his prices were anything like competitive and his service was adequate, they would happily buy from him.

Customers don't need to make the often inconvenient journey to the store to compare prices. There are plenty of willing competitors on the internet, so price comparisons can easily be made in moments from the convenience of the lounge room.

So when they do enter his store, they have already done their online research and are looking for a reason to do business with him. What they probably find is woefully uncompetitive prices and poor or indifferent service.

Mr Gordin's problem is that he has potential customers enter his store but fails to convert them. His problem.
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Re: Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

Postby sogood » Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:02 am

I thought shoppers are encouraged to pull out their iPhone to scan those 2D QR codes to get product specs!
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Re: Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

Postby jonbays » Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:26 am

The local bike shop owners feel a bit hard done by because their suppliers don't sell to them with a big enough discount to make a decent profit to be able to run the shop. If he can only buy packs of 10 tyres for 20% less than the unit price I can buy one for on the internet but I don't have to pay GST and the freight is less than the GST his business model is not going to work. Price shopping always happens now it is easier and quicker with the internet on mobile phones.

The local bike shop has to offer something you can't get online like instant fulfilment, service and advice.

Having come from a small business background my Mum being in Health food and dad being in Lawn Mowers I have seen these small business profitability ruined by these emerging business trends that can't be fought by PR and need to be responded to as best you can.
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Re: Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

Postby Ignoto » Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:29 am

RonK wrote:Customers don't need to make the often inconvenient journey to the store to compare prices. There are plenty of willing competitors on the internet, so price comparisons can easily be made in moments from the convenience of the lounge room.


I agreed with everything you posted, especially this one particular section. I have a great LBS that's a 300m walk from my house, it has a lot of fantastic people, but it's biggest let down is it's website. Trying to find out a) whether they have stock in or b) how much something is requires me to call up or pop in. Whereas, jumping on Cell/Wiggle/Pushys it's all spelled out for me.

I'd love to give them some money, but it's an absolute pain trying to buy something especially when they close at 6 which is quite difficult for me to get there from work in time.

I am a serial snapper and walk out in other stores, mainly so I know how much something will cost me and to remind me what I've actually looked at.
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Re: Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

Postby Calvin27 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:50 am

This is stupid. Most bike manufacturers (or assemblers hehe) won't do online sales for QA reasons (Merida to name one). Customers are actually comparing not with online, but against bikeexchange etc.

Retailers need to know the days of impulse uninformed buying are long gone.
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Re: Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

Postby Dimis » Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:54 am

jonbays wrote:The local bike shop owners feel a bit hard done by because their suppliers don't sell to them with a big enough discount to make a decent profit to be able to run the shop. If he can only buy packs of 10 tyres for 20% less than the unit price I can buy one for on the internet but I don't have to pay GST and the freight is less than the GST his business model is not going to work. Price shopping always happens now it is easier and quicker with the internet on mobile phones.

The local bike shop has to offer something you can't get online like instant fulfilment, service and advice.

Having come from a small business background my Mum being in Health food and dad being in Lawn Mowers I have seen these small business profitability ruined by these emerging business trends that can't be fought by PR and need to be responded to as best you can.


...and here is a man who exhibits a good grasp of the playing field.

+1

If you want to place blame - Place it on suppliers, and companies like echelon who are the middle men who get fat off the gravy of exclusive supply deals, that give both consumer and store owner little option or opportunity.
DO NOT place the blame on the consumer.
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Re: Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

Postby jcjordan » Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:07 pm

Australian businesses have always been a bit on the slow side to work with emerging trends, just look how long and how much resistance there has been to extended trading hours.

I have a few friends who own bike shops and I can still remember when they took the view that they would not help or work with people who bought stuff on line.

I kept saying to them that they should take the opportunity to work with the changes to the market. Start helping customers find the right stuff online and make money fitting and servicing.

Sure the distributors wont like it, but the fact is in 90% of the time you can get the stock cheaper and quicker from the online stores.



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Re: Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

Postby gorilla monsoon » Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:22 pm

RonK wrote:So Bill Gordin has buyers actually come into his shop, but fails to make the sale. Yet I'm sure most buyers would say if that his prices were anything like competitive and his service was adequate, they would happily buy from him.

Customers don't need to make the often inconvenient journey to the store to compare prices. There are plenty of willing competitors on the internet, so price comparisons can easily be made in moments from the convenience of the lounge room.

So when they do enter his store, they have already done their online research and are looking for a reason to do business with him. What they probably find is woefully uncompetitive prices and poor or indifferent service.

Mr Gordin's problem is that he has potential customers enter his store but fails to convert them. His problem.


I think you are being a bit unfair to Bill on the strength of one newspaper story, Ron. Bill's making an observation to a reporter and you have him tagged and bagged as a poor businessman with an attitude and high prices.
Like I said, a bit unfair.
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Re: Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

Postby lobstermash » Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:37 pm

jcjordan wrote:
Sure the distributors wont like it, but the fact is in 90% of the time you can get the stock cheaper and quicker from the online stores.



The trouble is, if you upset the distributors, they can make life very hard for you. There are a few business models popping up about the place in a number of sectors (usually specialised sectors), that avoid using distributors and importing straight from manufacturers. They usually get trashed pretty hard by the distributors and their networks, and often have slightly more than their fair share of QC issues because they don't factor this side of the business into their workload.
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Re: Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

Postby RonK » Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:41 pm

gorilla monsoon wrote:
RonK wrote:So Bill Gordin has buyers actually come into his shop, but fails to make the sale. Yet I'm sure most buyers would say if that his prices were anything like competitive and his service was adequate, they would happily buy from him.

Customers don't need to make the often inconvenient journey to the store to compare prices. There are plenty of willing competitors on the internet, so price comparisons can easily be made in moments from the convenience of the lounge room.

So when they do enter his store, they have already done their online research and are looking for a reason to do business with him. What they probably find is woefully uncompetitive prices and poor or indifferent service.

Mr Gordin's problem is that he has potential customers enter his store but fails to convert them. His problem.


I think you are being a bit unfair to Bill on the strength of one newspaper story, Ron. Bill's making an observation to a reporter and you have him tagged and bagged as a poor businessman with an attitude and high prices.
Like I said, a bit unfair.

Unfair? No more unfair than assuming that everyone who takes pictures of products and notes prices in his store wants to compare them with online merchants.

Any sensible buyer is going to compare prices with other nearby bike shops at the very least.
Last edited by RonK on Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

Postby simonn » Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:45 pm

gorilla monsoon wrote:Bill's making an observation to a reporter


The observation shows that he does not seem to understand his customers (or perhaps market he is playing in).
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Re: Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

Postby casual_cyclist » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:02 pm

jcjordan wrote:I have a few friends who own bike shops and I can still remember when they took the view that they would not help or work with people who bought stuff on line.

That's interesting. I had a different response to my LBS when I asked for some prices. The shop owner laughed at the prices, told me they were less than he paid wholesale for the same items, told me that he could not even supply some shimano items (adding that was not good enough), gave me some good advice on which parts to purchase, told me to buy them online and he would be happy to fit them and gave me a great price on a build. I'm happy to send as much business his was as I can with an attitude like that. If he can't make any money on parts, he may as well make it on providing great service at good prices.
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Re: Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

Postby human909 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:12 pm

I was working weekends in retail a couple of years ago in a store selling products for my other hobby of rock climbing. Outdoor recreation equipment and clothing has a similar retail market to cyclists. Retailing here isn't exactly price competitive. But this store was successful because it hired staff with great product knowledge which isn't always the case in the industry.

There seem to be many older players in the LBS market who simply aren't keeping up with the times and aren't giving value to their customers. Around inner Melbourne I've see dozens of new LBS pop up in the last 5 years catering specifically for the local customers. They're successful because they are bringing bikes and accessories catering for their local market. Bike stores around here have fewer generic MTBs, road bikes and hybrids and instead have useful city bikes.

Abbotsford cycles doesn't even sell bikes and they're successful! They stock a full range parts at reasonable prices and offer top service.
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Re: Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

Postby bychosis » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:18 pm

I have done the same, take pics to compare items. Nt so much in LBS though. I think that doing so is fair enough in retail, but I personally draw the line at taking the salespersons time and knowledge and then taking my business off to the Internet. If I'm trying on shoes etc and using their service of products on the shelves they deserve my coin.
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Re: Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

Postby im_no_pro » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:23 pm

A bit more reading can be done here or you can just google 'showrooming'
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Re: Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

Postby rudeboy » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:25 pm

If he assumes the changes to the $AU will only make items dearer online and not filter through the B&M stores, it must mean that his prices have remained high when the $ was trading more favourably.
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Re: Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

Postby im_no_pro » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:25 pm

rudeboy wrote:If he assumes the changes to the $AU will only make items dearer online and not filter through the B&M stores, it must mean that his prices have remained high when the $ was trading more favourably.


Combination of that and the distributors will be hedged for 6-12 months if they have any clue.
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Re: Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

Postby jcjordan » Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:06 pm

lobstermash wrote:
jcjordan wrote:
Sure the distributors wont like it, but the fact is in 90% of the time you can get the stock cheaper and quicker from the online stores.



The trouble is, if you upset the distributors, they can make life very hard for you. There are a few business models popping up about the place in a number of sectors (usually specialised sectors), that avoid using distributors and importing straight from manufacturers. They usually get trashed pretty hard by the distributors and their networks, and often have slightly more than their fair share of QC issues because they don't factor this side of the business into their workload.


While I agree to a point. If the customer is buying off o/s retailers and bringing in the part I doubt the distributor can do much.

That being said I do know that the distributors are getting annoyed by the fact that a lot of shops just won't stock parts that are not competing.

I saw in a store not that long ago and heared a member of staff talking to a rep being told that there was no point holding any of the products or any of the parts above the most basic. The rep was getting frustrated as he wanted to put up a display (with the new group set they expected the store to buy mind you) as advertising.

The staff member pointed to a much earlier version of the group set which they had not been able to sell for the last couple of years.

The comment that really sticks was if they sold that old group set at cost it was still more than the new one from the UK.

I really think this really shows were we are in Australian retail.

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Re: Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

Postby r2160 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 4:02 pm

I recently went into a LBS very close to my work. This time I was only after a small water bottle for work.

Not only did they overcharge me, but when I realised I had been overcharged, I went back and, very politely, wanted to sort it out.

He grabbed a bottle, checked and initially told me that I had purchased a different bottle. I showed him the bottle. H then walked over to the container holding the bottles, told me the price was written wrong, and tore the incorrect price off and put it in the bin. He then simply stared at me.

However, I believe an advertised price is an advertised price. I then suggested that rather than refund me the difference, I would be happy to purchase a couple of cables. Still a difficult thing.

I then asked about the price of an item for my bike that was valued in the $000. After being quoted 30% more than anybody else I have priced in Australia, he then proceeded to give me attitude.

Never, never, never again

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Re: Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

Postby alburycycling » Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:27 pm

The exact opposite experience for me.

I had such great service from my LBS, I chose to buy replacement tubes, computer and helmet from them knowing I could get better pricing online.

I make a point to thank them for their outstanding service every time I go in and get looked after, and they always seem to go out of their way to do their best for me.

With that being said, my bike wasn't expensive compared to many there, nothing I purchased was the 'top of the line' so no reason they should be falling over to look at me.

Then, when I took my daughters bike in for some advice, they gave her bike a full service and clean for nothing but a thank you.

I've made it a point to tell anyone I know about the service I got from them - I would rather pay 10-20% more for my accessories to get looked after and get advice when I need it.
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Re: Watching shoppers snap and walk out (SMH)

Postby hangry » Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:53 pm

I like to believe it is my right to look and see what the best price i can get and shop around
I do that when i'm clothes shopping, i'll take a quick photo with my samsung, go to david jones and myer and compare
We do it with shopping and groceries so why cant we do it with a bike shop

The only thing that i have bought locally is my cannondale road bike and thats because i can have a ride and see if i like it
Things that i have bought online include seatposts, handlebars, bar tape, bibs, jersey, socks, waterbottles and trainer.
I have found items as mention above are too pricy
I want to help and buy locally and develop a relationship with my local bike shop
But when i can save hundreds of dollars which can go towards something else, i dont see why not
For instance, a tacx booster cost $350 online whereas the local store were still pushing out the tacx satori at $350
As a consumer i want the most up to date item i can get my hands on and best value for money

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