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December 13, 2005

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Tim Jackson- Masiguy

All very good points of discussion from you and Phil and Fritz.

It is very hard for a retailer to survive in the market without being a specialist at something. It's also hard to survive without having a varied array of ways to sell and things to sell- gotta have a bunch of stuff. Both things seem to conflict with each other.

I agree that retailers have to have an electronic footprint of some kind. They have to be able to reach out to the customers/ consumers who are already out there on the web.

As a manufacturer, I need retailers to survive. For them to survive, they need to do things that keep them selling bikes (hopefully my bikes). Learning to compete better is a big ingredient. Smarter not bigger.

Fritz

I guess I should point out that our location is very unique. We're 15 miles from Boulder, Colorado. Everyone shopping for a high end bike (of any type) goes to one of the shops in Boulder. You can get last year's top-of-the-line model for cheap from a swap meet from a professional racer. I can go down the highway to (an unnamed, well-known bike builder) where they keep their "seconds" and get a nice bike for about half price. So the paint job is a little flawed, it's still a great bike.

In my city, then, high end just doesn't get the business. But there's still plenty of biking by people who will never race, but they're sophisticated enough not to buy from the mass retailer and sport shops. It's where most of the money is going here.

John Satory

Fritz: Thanks for your comments. I'm sure that you would agree that those stats are pretty commonplace. There are more shops doing the bread and butter bikes than are doing the high-end. I would bet that most of them are struggling. I think that the closer you are to overlapping the price points and the products that the big-box stores (Wal M@rts, etc) the tougher it's going to be. It takes quite a few hybrids and comfort bikes sales to match the profit make on one higher end bike. One of these days I want to post about IBD Econ 101. I think that you'll find it interesting. Finally, You have to realize that there's more than just one type of buyer of high-end bikes...

Philip: Thanks for your comment and your kind words. I agree that it would require a substancial population base. It's not only about being different, it's about being the best (which in and of itself will differenciate you from the others). Please do keep checking back and commenting when you see fit.

Arleigh: Thanks for your comment. I'll check them out!

arleigh

blacksheepcycles.com

check it out - might be the closest you'll find

Philip Gomes

Here in Sydney we have around 125 bike shops so this would be quite a task because many of the shops cover the range from low to high. There are more than enough options for the customer to find what they want in this environment.

However it's an interesting idea and one that may make it possible to differenciate yourself from the rest of the regular bike shops.

I remember someone once telling me about that kind of outfit in Holland, so it is possible.

I think that specialist retailer can only exist in a large urban environment where there are more than enough discerning customers to go around, small towns.......now way.

Anyway this is a wonderful blog John keep it up mate, your views are alwways interesting and worth talking about.

Philip Gomes

Here in Sydney we have around 125 bike shops so this would be quite a task because many of the shops cover the range from low to high. There are more than enough options for the customer to find what they want in this environment.

However it's an interesting idea and one that may make it possible to differenciate yourself from the rest of the regular bike shops.

I remember someone once telling me about that kind of outfit in Holland, so it is possible.

I think that specialist retailer can only exist in a large urban environment where there are more than enough discerning customers to go around, small towns.......now way.

Anyway this is a wonderful blog John keep it up mate, your views are alwways interesting and worth talking about.

Fritz

John, we have four bike shops in my city of 81,000. Number 1 and number 2 are older established shops with loyal customers. They sell a mix of bikes, but anything high end pretty much has to be special ordered.

Bike shop number three opened about five years ago to meet the needs of people shopping for high end bikes. The owner, Pete, is a really nice guy, but he almost went under before he started selling the cheap and midrange bikes three years ago. He's still struggling but at least his head's above water.

Bike shop number four opened this year, again to meet the needs of people shopping for high end bikes. It took them all of two months to figure out that low-end is the bread and butter of the bike biz. Their shop is now dominated by cruisers and comfort bikes.

The guys buying the high end bikes tend to be the least loyal, I think. They're the ones hunting for deals on the Internet and going to swap meets. They're also the ones who know how to fix their own bikes and build their own wheels and own the equipment to do it all.

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