Is there hope for the real shop to survive?
We continue to get "showroomed" and we especially since we have all the best of the best. Nowhere else in states around can you see in one place what we have in our store! So people come in and take notes and leave; all on my dime and it is truly putting the hurt on us big time. It used to irk us a bit, then it began to piss us off, and now it is just plain destroying us. It is not possible to continue on in the present model. The stores will be gone, all but the big ones. Then the consumer will get hurt as they will have fewer choices. The new company and idea guys, the up and comers, will have a false start as there won’t be a place to begin from. With no small buys from small stores to get their start, they will end before they begin.
Yet the internet alone is not sufficient enough to get a brand going, small brands need the collective of independent stores. Stoke the locals, get things into hands and on feet, and then it can grow. What about service when you need the quick ladder strap or a weld for tomorrow since it is going to be a powder day bro?! I could go on and on about the legitimate losses that the consumer will feel as the convenience and service fades as the independent stores fade. How ironic; they are the ones causing their own demise really.
I am Nixon dealer number one. Chad (DiNenna) packed the box himself. I am a really early Emerica Dealer—I think number five and was éS number five (RIP). I am Volcom number 17, no other store in states around had Volcom for years and years and now it is everywhere. I’m one of the first Voilé dealers and have been splitting boards, I do the best job literally in the world, for the lowest price and have been for 19 years! RVCA, Supr,a Krew, 686, Loaded, Never Summer ,Sector 9, Arbor, Neff, et cetera—I’ve been near near the first dealership and we, the collective of independent stores like mine, have partnered with them to make them who they are. They did not do it themselves and we did not do it ourselves, but at this point they have abandoned us as if they did do it themselves. If they were my little brother I would beat the crap out of them and make them change!
And worse yet, we have their stuff in our stores so now we are reduced to a convenient showroom for them to sell more and more. If the stuff was not available for purchase but just viewable online, the kids would buy from us in store. What a great idea…that would work! Then you would have a common "go to" place in every town, a hub if you will of info and know how to disseminate info and to get local knowledge. A place where groms can become team kids and employees and learn the trade firsthand.
Oh wait a minute…that is the existing store model. Oh, that can't work anymore since manufacturers selling consumer direct have reduced us to not much more than slaves who show their goods. We are no-cost showrooms, actually we pay them to be their showroom! And the internet in general has allowed margins to erode since online stores are driven by price alone.
Don't tell me the internet is convenient, it is not! Convenience is what stores offer. Come on in and buy it and walk out with it in your hands or under your feet. And no shipping cost. That is more instant and thus more convenient! And it is a much more green approach. I just thought of a bumper sticker. “Pollute the world: order small items direct online.” Think about what we do. We bundle together the best we can all items from a given vendor and it comes to our store efficiently in as few boxes as possible. Then in one location we place the items out to see and we do it with our hands, humans actually do it.
Now bust apart the way it works online. Many people ordering small little boxes of stuff that get taken to them and put on their doorstep. I know what you are thinking but it gets worse. They already were in my store validating and taking notes "showrooming" me so they already used up my, minimalistic as it can be, carbon footprint, only now to add to the overall footprint by having UPS, Fed Ex, et cetera drive around even more. The consumer is having their cake and eating too on my dime at my expense. And the impact on the environment is greater. And local business is dying off and thus taxes will rise as the tax base shrinks. Local wages will go down as there is less opportunity.. All these people buying from brands that they don't even know are big corporations that are using simply them. They have become for the most part useful idiots and still they drive around with Co-Op and keep it green stickers on their car, notice I didn't say bike? We as a store purchase as little as possible from these brands. This is due to the fact that they are not selling well so it is a reaction to the market demand and shift caused by dumb distribution choices made by suppliers.
This makes me sick I will stop now.
p.s. Learn from History. Research the Specialized bike model. Consider Bike is larger than snow and then consider Spcialized is number one, and then consider their internet controls are strong, full pop, never discounted, and distribution is tight. Number one with tight distribution and no discounting! Isn't that they way it used to be when we were growing? Now snowboarding is static and/or shrinking. Get a clue people!!