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Self Appointed Judge&Jury
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We price match online products regularly, it depends on the sourcing and brand. Sometimes we can't match the price but can get pretty close. Some manufactures wholesale structure makes it impossible to budge.

People sometimes bring us products to install that we have on the shelf and would have sold it to them for the same or close to the same price as they got it from at an online store if only they'd asked. Of course we'll happily install it either way and not make too much fun of them behind their back if they brought the product in (jk!) but just saying that if you're local and frequent a shop it is helpful to the shop and good etiquette to purchase the part there if they have it or can order it in a timely manner and if the price is reasonable.
Which is great except if a customer comes in and the shop looks up the price of something. It’s not close enough to what the price is online. The customer goes home and orders it online then returns to have the shop install it. It looks even worse on the customer and quite embarrassing returning to have it installed after inquiring about it. Just price match it and their wouldn’t be an issue. I understand it’s not always possible to price match an online item without actually losing money. Kind of a catch 22.
 

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Up In Smoke
Dirt Roadë
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The shop I deal with will discount the labor if you purchase the parts from them. So for the most part it seems to balance out. If you're looking for cheap parts and cheap labor then you need to find a home garage mechanic that will install your internet purchases. I don't buy parts online if I don't plan on installing them myself.
 

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Rides over things
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If I had one wish for the LBS scene, it would be a revamp of their attitudes. I'm an easy-going and friendly person. So when I go to an LBS, it always disappoints me when their staff or the owner have poor attitudes and bad customer service. In my subjective estimation, about *half* of the LBS I have visited or done business with over the last 22 years of riding have been negative experiences.

Can you imagine another industry having that kind of track record? Imagine if half of the flights you take are negative experiences. Or half of the pizzas you get from your local restaurant are not good. It's crazy. I don't know what it is about owning or working at a bike shop that creates these kinds of experiences, but I can't think of another industry that has equally poor customer service.

Perhaps the stress of owning a bike shop destroys morale and they take it out on would-be customers? Maybe the bike shop industry has profit margins that are narrower than other industries and puts stress and pressure on the shops? I don't know. But what I do know is that there is never a reason to talk down to a potential customer who simply asks a question and is looking for information.
 

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Which is great except if a customer comes in and the shop looks up the price of something. It’s not close enough to what the price is online. The customer goes home and orders it online then returns to have the shop install it. It looks even worse on the customer and quite embarrassing returning to have it installed after inquiring about it. Just price match it and their wouldn’t be an issue. I understand it’s not always possible to price match an online item without actually losing money. Kind of a catch 22.


It shouldn't be embarrassing but I understand how some people would feel it is. It's only business to me, sometimes we can match and other times no way. If we can't we remind them to bring it in for install after they get the part.

Unless the shop owner is independently wealthy "just price match(ing) it" will result in closure.
 

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Perhaps the stress of owning a bike shop destroys morale and they take it out on would-be customers? Maybe the bike shop industry has profit margins that are narrower than other industries and puts stress and pressure on the shops? I don't know. But what I do know is that there is never a reason to talk down to a potential customer who simply asks a question and is looking for information.
the two theories you floated are not far off, but like you said, they are not excuses. bike shops don't have to complete for customer loyalty in some places. where and when they do have to complete, it changes quickly. bike shops that treat customers like dirt don't stay in business, just like airlines and pizza joint that do the same don't last.

I'll flip this conversation:
as someone who has worked in a shop, I can tell you that some of the customers are just as bad. maybe we should ask that question: why do people with shitty attitudes that treat low-wage workers like garbage succeed in life at all? if you can't be bothered to return your shopping cart at the grocery store or leave a decent tip for the waiter at a restaurant, WTF is wrong with you? if you bring your janky, rusty bicycle into a bike shop and then complain that the low-wage savant who will spent four hours making your bike run like new and charged you what you agreed to pay, where did you learn that level of entitlement?
 

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^Far to many people have never been punched in the face.

Sent from my moto g(6) forge using Tapatalk
 

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Rides over things
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why do people with shitty attitudes that treat low-wage workers like garbage succeed in life at all? if you can't be bothered to return your shopping cart at the grocery store or leave a decent tip for the waiter at a restaurant, WTF is wrong with you? if you bring your janky, rusty bicycle into a bike shop and then complain that the low-wage savant who will spent four hours making your bike run like new and charged you what you agreed to pay, where did you learn that level of entitlement?
I agree whole-heartedly that too many customers are rude, inconsiderate, and don't deserve a lot of what they probably receive. BUT... if you are working, you are part of customer service. And if you are part of customer service you need to be kind and respectful, even when your customers are garbage. That's my opinion and something I do in my professional life even when frustrated or angry.

But if you own a business, and find that scenarios like the conflict over pricing keep happening, there might be an issue with how you do business. Are you wishy-washy when giving quotes? Maybe the customer thinks the price could be lower b/c you hinted it might be. Do you tend to under-bid the price and then raise it later, which leads to tension? There's a lot of customer-service functions going on during these interactions that could also be part of the problem.
 

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that gave me a laugh. if a shop can afford to just buy their employees bikes to resell, that is a seriously affluent shop.
Not always. Could be marketing plan. Pay employee a bit less, offer them "lease" on a bike, then sell as used/demo bike at 65% of new pricing. So that buyer that wants new 6000 bike, but can't afford it can by but that 1 year old "demo" bike for 4000. This happens in car dealership all the time. Race Shop "Team riders" do this all the time, but they buy at a discount and sell within 12-14 months. Some guys wait for those "team riders" to get a new bike just to score last years model at a discount. I think with bikes being as expensive as they are now a shop should get into gently used bikes, just like car dealership sell Used cars. need to find other ways to make money.

Overall if a bike shop is going to survive you need to do things on-line cannot. Competing in part price is not one of them. Having key parts on hand, service/maintenance, customer service are places shops can win.
 

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Used Bikes ala Used Car Dealerships

Not always. Could be marketing plan. Pay employee a bit less, offer them "lease" on a bike, then sell as used/demo bike at 65% of new pricing. So that buyer that wants new 6000 bike, but can't afford it can by but that 1 year old "demo" bike for 4000. This happens in car dealership all the time. Race Shop "Team riders" do this all the time, but they buy at a discount and sell within 12-14 months. Some guys wait for those "team riders" to get a new bike just to score last years model at a discount. I think with bikes being as expensive as they are now a shop should get into gently used bikes, just like car dealership sell Used cars. need to find other ways to make money.

Overall if a bike shop is going to survive you need to do things on-line cannot. Competing in part price is not one of them. Having key parts on hand, service/maintenance, customer service are places shops can win.
I've thought of this as well, why don't LBS' sell more used bikes ala car dealerships. Or even do consignment deals with people?

In theory the margins would be better (the Gamestop model). Though maybe there's can-of-worms/headaches that can occur if the customer has a problem with said used bike and demands the bike shop cover it if something goes wrong.

Anyway, just like with cars, you probably have two types of people. Those that have to have a new car every few years. And then those that buy something used or new, and hang onto it until it dies. For the first class of customer, who always wants the latest and greatest this would seem ideal. Just do a trade-in towards the latest and greatest and not deal with the headaches of Craigslist. And then for the customer who just wants a good deal, this would benefit them as well.

Anyway, I've seen shops sell used bikes, ala demo models, but are there any out there that have prominent used bike sections? I get the feeling that next year [or whenever] COVID goes away, there will be a glut of used bikes on the market. New folks who decided this hobby wasn't for them, or they decide they want to upgrade or swap models.
 

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I've thought of this as well, why don't LBS' sell more used bikes ala car dealerships. Or even do consignment deals with people?
We have a couple of second-hand sporting goods stores that consign bikes. They seem to move a fair number of them. I've "made" thousands of dollars consigning my sports equipment over the years without having to endure Craigslist weirdness.
 

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Up In Smoke
Dirt Roadë
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Most people will get more money for their used bike in private sale and go that route
 

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Isn't that basically what "The Pro's Closet" is? I've browsed that site, but all of the bikes are still far out of my price range. It'd be nice if they had more offerings in the $500 to $1500 range. But I'm sure that brings in all of the complications of certifying cheap janky bikes, as already discussed in this thread.
 

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No it’s not rude, bike shops exist to satisfy the needs of there customers, not the other way around. So many shops have gone out of business because of arrogant and apathetic staff and owners. If a bike shop isn’t price matching Amazon in the first place they are dumb. Unlike mom and pop, online inventory doesn’t sit on a shelf it’s available to walkins and what customers are buying is free marketing and free new customer outreach. Any shop that isn’t hiring temporarily to meet demand and building out there web services to do live inventory etc is doing it wrong and deserves to lose. All shops should be integrating bike shipping into checkout as well and reselling bikes for commission online if they have no inventory, that’s a free 25% commission for hosting an image, they should also be hosting events, storing bikes, working with bike transportation for local areas etc. This industry has shed many businesses in the past and will do so again, the strong people see that and aren’t cashing in on a temporary boom, they are reinvesting it.
 

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If a bike shop isn’t price matching Amazon in the first place they are dumb.




It depends but I'd say in most cases the opposite is true. Price match if you can of course but not at a loss. Most people seem happy to pay a little more for the convenience of picking a part off the shelf.
 

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I am a customer, I just bought 600 in random parts I’d be lucky to find scouring all of the shops in 1000 mile radius of SoCal, I bought 2 r900 discs from an online dealer in Ireland for less than 1 preordered here if my bike shop would even bother right now. If you think people would rather scour the internet for parts than walk into a bike shop that had them for the same price, which should be higher margin givin there buying power btw I can assure you online shopping exists solely in pricing and inventory. I worked for 20 years on crm (customer retention management) software and am currently developing a retail app for the us so I have some experience with this. This is the 21st century, you can either do lower margin volume or rot.
 

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I always give my LBS a chance. When I ask for pricing they know I've done my homework and will quote me a price that is win-win. If its close enough I'll give them the business.
 

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Perfect example right now of lbs derangement syndrome, I call the shop where I just bought my giant and the girl answering the phone, doesn’t bother saying the store name when I answer, tells me they don’t sell giant bikes lol and says they don’t do bike maintenance.....ok I’ll do it myself and not bother your business with my patronage again.
 

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No it’s not rude, bike shops exist to satisfy the needs of there customers, not the other way around. So many shops have gone out of business because of arrogant and apathetic staff and owners. If a bike shop isn’t price matching Amazon in the first place they are dumb. ...
Correction - bike shops exists to generate enough $$$ for owner to survive + make some profit if possible. Satisfying customer needs is just a way to get to this :D
Price matching to online shops is often not possible because online prices are lower than prices LBS is getting at distributor. Dumb would be if LBS would match this price and generate loss with every sale....
LBS should try to get closer to online prices and work more on services which online shops don't offer - servicing bike without shipping and waiting, suppling small parts right away, organizing social events, group rides, etc...
 
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