Questions about purchasing bicycles and parts
I am looking for a starter bike for my wife. I had a look at importing something from china, and they look similar to what is in the supermarkets. I went to some LBS's around the place. To be honest there they were , the same Chinese models at hugely marked up prices.
Either they are buying the cheap stuff to compete, or don't realise that in the mind of the public, we want some thing better, I just don't know.
I still find the giant dealer to be good local value and a fair bit of choice. But I can understand folks frustration over cost of end product.
what is the average mark up for bike and bike products these days? (ball park figure) 30%? Does this translate to what you see online in comparison?
2011 Kona Dew Plus (commuter)
2012 Focus Cayo 2.0 (road)
I am unsure of bikes, however in the products we sell retail which would be similar in many ways we need 55% to break even.
Traditional bricks and mortar shops typically want 50%, I wouldn't say that's an unfair markup either. It just is what it is.
Most of the 'fat' in prices lies in between the manufacturer and retailer, a.k.a distributor.
Part of the answer is adopting a direct to manufacturer purchasing route (I believe Cycling Express are doing this, at least to some extent) but this doesn't make sense for shops unless they're moving high volumes quickly.
The real issue here is that most shops are unable to hold/move large volumes of stock and the cost associated with doing so, which is why distributors do provide a valuable service. I think some of that 'service' gets lost in translation, as distributors and shops (distributors especially) get so caught up in the day to day machinations of business that they forget that they're here to serve an end customer. That results in stories going around not unlike those before... waiting 4 days to hear availability from a distributor via a bike shop.
So that pretty much leaves us at square one - shops not getting product for the prices that enable them to be competitive. Where do we go from here? Who knows. What I do know is that the problem isn't going to be solved discussing things on a forum, and I'm sure there are at least a couple of movers and shakers that own bike shops and they're out there attempting to solve the problem. I do hear Claude at Megabike/Euride in Adelaide has attempted a top-down (manufacturer>distro>shop) integration... will be interesting to see how that plays out.
As I said earlier these threads go around and around in circles and cover the same ground, only reason I replied is cause you're from Adelaide Shav and you seem like a nice guy
Until the bike stores here can go straight to the manufacturer and avoid the ridiculous importer / distributor costs that they have to currently pay, they'll never be able to compete.
There's a person on here who works for one of the larger shops (don't want to name him without permission) but they no longer sell Shimano in their Aussie stores for the simple fact that the cost he must pay for say 1 x pair of Dura Ace C24 wheels (this was the example he gave me) was more than me and you could buy them from Wiggle etc for, and not just by $50 mind you.
So by the time he puts his shop mark up on there and pays the postage to freight the wheels to his shop from the importer, he's already $300 behind the price the customer can buy them for in the UK.
It's a typical vicious circle
- customer wants the local product at a similar-to-internet price.
- shop can't sell for that price as it's costing him at this point.
- customer buys them online.
- shop complains to importer that his high buying price is costing him sales as the customer is buying off the net for heaps less.
- importer says he can't drop the price as he only brings in 'x' amount at once, so doesn't get the same sales discount as Wiggle / CRC etc who buy in bulk.
- importer can't / won't buy in some large quantities for the simple fact that he doesn't want to be left with excess stock, knowing that most people will still buy online.
- shop says as a result, they won't carry their line any more.
- customer goes online and pays $40 for a DA chain, not $100 here.
Proudly "a hater of academics with helmet cams"
Summed up nicely.
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Thanks mate. Yeah I too have heard Claude is looking to revamp things with Euride. I hope that works out. It would be good to have an all in one shop that can cater to all those things we want and more.
2011 Kona Dew Plus (commuter)
2012 Focus Cayo 2.0 (road)
Even if the store prices were the same as online, why would I go to a store if the customer service is under par.
All this focus on price is not showing the complete picture.
Stores need to invest in staff training as many of the staff couldn't sell a puncture kit to a cyclist in a hurry with a flat tyre. I suspect Aussies who've never been out of the country just expect and put up with rubbish service.
When I stayed in NZ for a number of years (Levin) the LBS staff made a point of trying to get you to talk and they wanted to know your name so
they could remember it for next time.
The focus was on repeat business and thats a foreign concept to many here.
On the odd occasion I get good service here it comes as a shock, but I do reward it by coming back. If everyone just puts up with it, then positive reinforcement
Surly Ogre, Carry Freedom Y-frame Trailer, Extrawheel trailer.
I must admit I am a kiwi by birth and did my 'time' in kiwi land before moving here in my 30's. I was shocked by the lack of client focus and customer service in my industry.
That'll never happen. Manufacturers don't do "small" orders and most of them carry little if any stock on hand. Everything is built to order usually requiring substancial production runs.
Bike shops should look to move to a services model. They'll always have a place selling complete bikes since these are difficult to freight and require assembly which not everyone can do.
Yeah Deon, no doubt.
Big manufactures like Shimano aren't fussed about the 'small' Aussie orders either. Stores like the big UK and US ones keep their coffers full, and they know that they make money regardless of where the consumer buys their product..
Proudly "a hater of academics with helmet cams"
Like a few of us I began buying most of my parts from online stores as the prices were ridiculously cheaper than most LBS
So far I have only had to send my Look pedals for a warranty claim and that was dealt with within 2 weeks which was fair considering that travel time back and forth.
Have always said that I would purchase my bikes locally and that's been true of all of my bikes as I would rather send it back to a shop than overseas if something needed repairing /upgrading etc
I understand the frustration LBS encounter with pricing especially when the official pricing can't compete with online retailers but more often than not I'll always give first go at the local shop and have been pleasantly surprised with their competitiveness.
Find a shop that listens and understands what you require before making a decision I do understand that they run a business so I can't expect insane reductions on everything that they sell but have peace of mind that if I need support they are there.
2013 Kona Paddy Wagon
2012 BH Ultralight Enve
2011 GT Zaskar Carbon Pro
2007 Apollo Record
2009 Apollo Record
For what is worth two weeks ago I experienced what the difference between buying online and buying retail can be.
My wife sought a replacement lamp for our home theatre system from a local showroom/retailer. They quoted around $480, did not have it in stock and would take about thee weeks.
We knew that when we bought it lamps were an expensive thing but this still seemed a bit stiff. So she went online to a dot-au site. She placed the order at $78 including delivery.
That extra $400 would have bought us nothing. We would have had to wait a similar or longer time than we expect from the online source. We did not get any advice as it is a simple catalog item with a part number stated in the owners manual. We required no demonstration or explanation. The only thing $400 would have paid for was a barrier between us and supplier and a need for us to make two or more journeys.
While bricks and mortar places often claim they provide a service, I have heard commentators opine that so do online. It is just not the same service. For many purposes it is a service that the customer is maybe more interested in. I have also heard opinions that the bricks and mortar retailers need to start screwing their landlords for floor rates more in line with what apply in similar overseas place rather than simply accepting oligopoly gouging and passing it onto the hapless end-customer. Competition from online could force some to do so.
Put in simple terms:
Unchain yourself-Ride a unicycle
When I was working on a dealer model with Pro-Lite most stores were asking for 75%
I abandoned that business model pretty quickly since giving a dealer 75% margin meant I would need to sell items well below cost.
It seems it's not just the local lbs who will be disappearing..
I was checking out accessories for a Telstra wireless modem, the manufacturer had an external antenna for $34.90usd the Australian distributor retailer had the same thing for $99,
How much profit do Australia stores think they need to make?
Or do they have there heads in the sand hoping customers don't know about the internet and hoping it will go away?
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I do wonder what we are wishing for though...A few years ago like maybe 10 I started buying my clothes overseas online as I generally couldn't find my size/quality for price.
Now when I look about I still can't find my size as apparently I have grown since I left school or they don't make kids like me anymore or something...however I have noted the pricing has come down but so has the quality offered at places I used to rely on for having reasonable items for sale.
Yes I can understand like for like for ridiculous price differences etc are not in this group of observations. However I do wonder what we will do if the retailers start to stock brands never seen on line and so forth and so on which must be their eventual logical outcome. Or worse some sort of fruit works around the fair trade practices act to fix prices as they want them to be fixed and this is the only choice for consumers.
Online retailers will get better with sizing. I imagine something like an app on a phone which uses the camera to measure you and recommend/tell you your size for a specific garment (note specific, not a general size). In the UK and US, apparently, a lot of online clothing retailers include postage paid return envelopes so you can return things at no cost due to fit (or whatever). With wiggle you can take things to a 3rd party returns place to return it for free. In fact, wiggle provide an Australian address for returns too.
I'm sure a lot of tailors were saying similar things when factory made clothes started being manufactured (which was not that long ago either - 100 years or so).
Best of all for you, you will probably find it much easier to buy clothes in your size as you will not have to traipse around to find a shop which stocks it.
All these things are solvable. The best/cheapest/most efficient way of doing so has not been worked out yet. I love it. I hate shopping.
Drifting OT, but I do think this is a serious long term issue for the country.
It's not just the LBS, or even just retail that's going offshore. Manufacturing is largely already gone, and big dents are being made in IT and Accounting. The move to a global economy could leave Australia as the big loser - we're one of the most expensive places to do business in the world.
The notion though that we'll fix this by paying over the odds at the LBS is a joke though
Rumour has it Shimano Au will soon be selling direct to the public. That'll upset no end some LBS owners.
I find it generally takes a lot longer to get parts from your lbs, generally find either they order the wrong item or the distributor sends out the wrong item or it just isn't available and they rarely call to let you know what is happening. I bought a bike last week from an lbs but the experience has convinced me I will build my next bike as I have done in the past.
Last time I checked, 2015 Distance: 1284km Time: 59hr Rides: 47
I bought a new bike last week from a LBS. But I wanted to know a bit more about tapered steering tubes and non-standard stem sizes and asked.
So the bike shop assistant said it was no big deal, it just meant that I could flip the stem either angled up or down depending on how aero I wanted to be...
Hehe...good one Danno.
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...
Thats a joke. If they try sell their parts to consumers at their current wholesale prices it'll still be cheaper to buy from overseas at retail...
I didn't say it was a good idea. I doubt it's true anyway.
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