Would you shop at a LBS that charges $5 to browse?

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Re: Would you shop at a LBS that charges $5 to browse?

Postby FuzzyDropbear » Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:05 am

Had a good chuckle at that article. I sympathise with the issue of internet purchases, however it's up to the store owner to combat that in their own fashion. In Ballarat, I love our homebrew shop, I hate buying homebrew supplies online and from retailers solely because the shop is so good, they're awesome people who freely give out advice and are always up for a chat and have fair prices on things. Yes, they are more expensive than online stores, however, I'm willing to pay that for the service you receive in the shop (the service is the best I've had in any store in Ballarat).

With bike stores, I've been stuffed around in most of the stores so I'm not really loyal to local providers, although lately I've had good luck with the local Trek dealer so I'm buying most of my stuff through them.
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by BNA » Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:27 am

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Re: Would you shop at a LBS that charges $5 to browse?

Postby RonK » Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:27 am

This story was shown on TV last night. I thought the shopkeepers' tactics were particularly unintelligent.

She wasn't really talking about browsers at all, but about people taking up her time asking advice and then buying elswhere.

Perhaps a more intelligent approach would have been to offer a consultation and advice for a reasonable fee, and then discount the fee off the price of future purchases.

Dumb, dumb, dumb. I predict this business won't be operating in 6 months time.
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Re: Would you shop at a LBS that charges $5 to browse?

Postby RonK » Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:29 am

brett.hooker wrote:I still do more buying at my LBS than online because of the service and advice they give me... It costs about 10% more

Really? Do share the location of this apparently competititive store.
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Re: Would you shop at a LBS that charges $5 to browse?

Postby Howzat » Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:43 am

Computer fairs charge a $3 cover fee. A lot of shopping centres charge for parking. Didn't seem controversial at the time.

Ross wrote:Online shops still need to have stock, still need a premises to hold this stock in, still need telephones, need computers and IT support... So where are all these cost savings?

Good point. I can think of some on the consumer end, which don't show on the stores' books - eg petrol savings, tax savings (for overseas shops), being able to shop after business hours.
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Re: Would you shop at a LBS that charges $5 to browse?

Postby Abby » Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:54 am

I'm pretty sympathetic with the shop owner.

People seem so quick to slam her. But all she is trying to combat is the old 'pick her brains for her expertise' and then shop elsewhere. Everyone keeps saying that small business needs to change their business model or die - and so she tries something new, but is slammed for it!

What you never see is news articles talking about customers using small businesses for their expertise, then buying online or from the no-service multimationals for a cheaper price... Apparently that is all OK... :rollseyes:

Clearly, she could have implemented this better. But at least she is trying something new, and not just rolling over and clinging to her usual business model...
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Re: Would you shop at a LBS that charges $5 to browse?

Postby Magnum9 » Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:16 pm

There is a LBS that charges $20 to try on shoes if you don't buy.
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Re: Would you shop at a LBS that charges $5 to browse?

Postby Xplora » Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:40 pm

The actual news item on TV was clear - shop owner doesn't want online freeloaders getting info from her. It was quite clear - salespeople don't get any reward for their time without a sale. Her expertise and time is definitely worth money. She can't charge for it without a sign.

This was the key take home for me - 4 people were charged that day, and 3 didn't mind paying at all. :idea:

Let's get real about the charge. People will not visit her shop to browse. They go to buy. It's a gluten free shop, it's not a luxury goods store like a LBS/shoes/handbags/music instrument store. It's a bit ridiculous to imply that a store selling nonessentials could get away with this unless they were doing something worth it - nudey supermodel shoe salespeople? I dunno. But my experience with gluten free people is that a freeloader would be real easy to spot, and the business owner has realised that they can't afford for these people to waste one moment of her time.

This is the new economy...
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Re: Would you shop at a LBS that charges $5 to browse?

Postby FuzzyDropbear » Thu Mar 28, 2013 1:58 pm

Abby wrote:I'm pretty sympathetic with the shop owner.

People seem so quick to slam her. But all she is trying to combat is the old 'pick her brains for her expertise' and then shop elsewhere. Everyone keeps saying that small business needs to change their business model or die - and so she tries something new, but is slammed for it!

What you never see is news articles talking about customers using small businesses for their expertise, then buying online or from the no-service multimationals for a cheaper price... Apparently that is all OK... :rollseyes:

Clearly, she could have implemented this better. But at least she is trying something new, and not just rolling over and clinging to her usual business model...


If this is the case, where she's charging people who are picking her brains but don't giver her their custom, then I can understand that [she is providing a service by giving advice, don't see lawyers, engineers, anyone providing free advice, why should business owners?], but the media has been marketing it as she's standing at the door charging $5 entry. Which is, of course, a better story than 'Small Business Owner Charges for Expertise'. And this is one reason I don't usually pay attention to news reports, they're edited and condensed and don't show the full story and sometimes even include fictitious statements.

Xplora wrote:...Her expertise and time is definitely worth money. She can't charge for it without a sign...


When I consider the time I've spent getting expertise out of the local businesses that I shop with, they definitely should be charging me more for their time :lol: That's the beauty of a real store with friendly people, vs the internet store which relies on you doing your research before purchasing or expect you to go google your problems rather than helping you find solutions.
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Re: Would you shop at a LBS that charges $5 to browse?

Postby AUbicycles » Thu Mar 28, 2013 3:12 pm

Perhaps improving sales technique and customer communication could help, does the shop owner really know that the people are asking for advice in order to purchase online, and do they know that the advice is that good? Perhaps the advice given turns people off, dare I say the attitude (speculation based on the ratbag comment).

With the exception of very large retailers, I wouldn't expect a large percentage of store customers visiting purely with the goal of getting info and purchasing online. A decision to then purchase online after enquiring could be based on numerous reasons where there is some kind of dissatisfaction or non-committment instore.
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Re: Would you shop at a LBS that charges $5 to browse?

Postby Xplora » Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:09 pm

^^^ There is a big difference between a salesman and a product expert. The area we are talking about - food allergy specialist - isn't going to attract great sales staff. They will sell houses and cars and other emotional purchases. Necessities are more a "take it or leave it, I'll be alright" proposition, and most entrenched small businesses in these areas are just like that.

It is WAY too much to expect these people to behave like a slick multinational in their tactics, approach and execution.

No one is forcing us to deal with these businesses anymore. If you want that relationship, this woman wants you to pay if you don't pony up.
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Re: Would you shop at a LBS that charges $5 to browse?

Postby casual_cyclist » Thu Mar 28, 2013 4:47 pm

I would not pay to browse at my LBS because I don't purchase goods at my LBS. However, if my LBS carried the same brand clothes as I buy online, I would pay to try the clothes for size. It would save me a lot of time if I could size up and then purchase online, rather than trying to guess from bodgy sizing guides and having to post back an item for exchange because it is too big or small. I would definitely pay for that service.
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Re: Would you shop at a LBS that charges $5 to browse?

Postby coyote » Thu Mar 28, 2013 7:31 pm

MarkG wrote:I remember that ski shop that was charging $50 to try on their ski boots as people were going in to size up the brand and them buying them on line.
That I can kinda sympathise with.
Charging people to go in and browse tho is a bit of a step too far.
I also notice this new policy came in to effect on Feb 1st, so I wonder how old the story is (Slow news day) or how well it's been received in the ensuing two months..


I know of a bike shop that charges $15 to try on shoes, as alot of people try shoes in the shop for size, say thanks just looking and then go and buy on line as they now have their shoe size. :shock:
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Re: Would you shop at a LBS that charges $5 to browse?

Postby ldrcycles » Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:32 pm

Ross wrote:http://www.news.com.au/business/your-business/celiac-supplies-in-coorparoo-brisbane-charges-5-to-browse/story-fn9evb64-1226607041430


The first thing I noticed was that they were incapable of spelling COELIAC correctly even once :roll: .
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Re: Would you shop at a LBS that charges $5 to browse?

Postby foo on patrol » Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:08 pm

Nup get stuffed and walk out. :roll:

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Re: Would you shop at a LBS that charges $5 to browse?

Postby Baldy » Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:41 pm

Its rare that I go into a shop without know exactly what I want, I can't think of an example even. Oh unless you count gifts then yeah I do it all the time...

My name is not Peter so don't rob me.
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Re: Would you shop at a LBS that charges $5 to browse?

Postby marcs350z » Sat Mar 30, 2013 11:21 am

It's one of the benefits of having a local shop, you can go in browse, try things on. For them to give up that freedom for the customer, it's basically saying they don't want our money. Considering that most other shops do not charge fees to browse, they are just making themselves less competitive to other brick and mortar shops, as well as online shops.
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Re: Would you shop at a LBS that charges $5 to browse?

Postby evangelion » Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:36 pm

ZERO chance Id pay or ever go to such a store or remotely even recommend them for anything
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Re: Would you shop at a LBS that charges $5 to browse?

Postby petie » Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:49 pm

I would not pay to browse at an lbs. Maybe if they all charged to browse I would go in once a year or something.

The main problem I have with the idea is that more often than not, even if the lbs has an item I'm interested in, they don't have my size or other equivalent products to compare. Why would I cough up a fee if I had reason to think I wouldn't even be able to purchase the item I entered the store to buy?

For example I recently bought a new MTB helmet. I thought I would be a savvy shopper and call the distributors to find out who stocked which brands locally. I then called the various recommended stores to confirm they had stock, or even just a few display stock so I could try them on. Unsurprisingly, this cut down the number of stores I needed to visit. I then dutifully traipsed around the stores trying to buy a nice new helmet that I might have read a review of (I was looking for a high end helmet here, $200+...). Finally at the fourth store I found some helmets of decent quality, a reasonable range, reasonably priced but with meagre stock levels. I eventually settled on a helmet only to find they did not have my size in stock and weren't sure if they would ever get any more in stock. After a bit of tooing and froing we settled on a slight discount for a shop soiled helmet with no box, owners manual or warranty info. Not really ideal when you just dropped a days pay or more on a helmet... Now, if I had to pay to get into each store, I have a strong feeling I would be one pissed off customer who would be going online and stuffing the trying-on caper.

As for it being morally wrong to try items on in-store and then buy online, I am very doubtful of that. Take my example above, even if I had wanted to I couldn't have bought in-store at 3 out of 4 shops. And I don't think it would have been wrong to walk out of the fourth store and buy online considering I only had the option of buying a shop-soiled item. No matter how helpful the staff might have been, there was no concrete date given even for an individually ordered item! Why put yourself out with some poorly applied moral when you can spend your money much more comfortably and reasonably somewhere else??
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Re: Would you shop at a LBS that charges $5 to browse?

Postby Ken Ho » Sat Mar 30, 2013 4:44 pm

She is changing her business model, to get rid of peole from who she makes no money.
Restuarants often charge booking fees, hotels expect up-front payment as time of booking, all strategies designed to weed out the flakes. Pubs and clubs charge a cover charge.
I doubt that the way it was presented in the media is the way that it will work in the store. I can see a friendly smile and a quick explation dismissing it for actual buyers, and those who had planned to not buy slinking straight back out the door.
People who buy will not pay the cover charge.
There are plenty of tyre kickers who will size ukp in a shop, then buy on line.
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Re: Would you shop at a LBS that charges $5 to browse?

Postby Marty Moose » Sat Mar 30, 2013 6:19 pm

Too the op Answer is No :)

Sent from my MB526 using Tapatalk 2
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