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Today I got the chance to talk with this guy who was a big shot venture capitalist. Basically his message to me was that far and away, the most important aspect of online shopping is price, and that he did not believe that an online retail business could be succesful if it charged retail prices and had some other, different draw. When I see online bike retailers, I tend to believe this.

If an online retailer charged regular (~lbs) prices, and had some other draw, would you shop there? And if so, what might attract you to that website? (for example a rewards system or something).

PS: don't worry, I'm not some undercover marketing person for Nashbar or something. This guy just got me really interested in this, and kind of pissed that price is the only thing people think about when buying online. I work at an lbs, so I am definately not an online shopper.
 

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The other draw

Convenience and selection. People who live in remote areas count on the ease of shopping online, rather than driving 50 miles to the nearest LBS to pick up a part that may not be stocked by that shop.

To answer your question more directly, I can't think of some other draw or catch (like rewards points) that would entice me if the online retailer charged list price. It's going to be the combination of several factors such as price, convenience, selection, customer service and some other draw that's going to keep me coming back.

Bob
 

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conjoinicorned
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kind of pissed that price is the only thing people think about when buying online.
that's why i buy online. i do all my own work. the only customer service i require is if i get sent the wrong part. the only way i'd look beyond price is selection, but i'll often wait for stock to get a better price. mtbr.com is filled with "enthusiasts" just like me, who have little need for a middleman (the lbs). what possible draw could a website hold, beyond price?

sorry dude, don't be mad... ;)
 

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big_b said:
, and kind of pissed that price is the only thing people think about when buying online.
Not many people are looking (or able) to develop a LBS-like relationship with an online retailer. I have ZERO loyalty to any online shops. I go where the price is lowest, provided of course they have acceptable customer service. In otherwords, no Beyondbike or airbomb. :eek:

What else should we think about when buying online? Selection? Well, if they didn't have the part we want we wouldn't be buying from them. Website layout? I like a smooth interface but in the end it's all about the prices.
 

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dirty trail dog
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I buy online because of selection. The closest shops to my house don't have jack and I am never able to find what I need. I need some XTR shifter and brake cables....No shop within 50 miles has them in grey. They can order them, but it will take two weeks. What am I supposed to do? If shops around here carried more selection, I'd use them, because after it's all said and done, online price plus shipping charges comes out to about the same, or close enough that I personally don't see any benefit. For example, I bought a trainer online for $20 less than my LBS had it. Shipping was $18. I had to wait a week to get it. Was that worth it?
 

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If I can pick it up locally for the same price than why in the world would I want to have to wait on the stuff and pay shipping.

I buy on line in two cases, it is quite a bit cheaper to offset wait and delivery fees or I just can not get it locally, but if the price is even close I am going to buy it locally.
 

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Online shopping is all about price and selection....they are generally cheaper and I can get the part as soon as I need it. It also helps that I do my own work.

However I work both sides of the fence as I have a good reputation with the local shop. They are aware that I buy the "big stuff" online and I buy all the small stuff there...tubes, housing, cables, brake pads, etc... and still get a 10 percent discount for no real reason other than I am a friend of the shop and try to send them as much business as I can in our small city.

But even though I get a small price break locally, I still buy big ticket items online...I guess I just like the control of knowing what I've ordered and when it will be delivered.

In a related note, I would hope that all LBS would put up a website with ordering capability. It could only help a business in my opinion.
 

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I recently (Well not so recent. Middle of December) decided that I wanted to replace my old shock with the new Manitou Evolver ISX-6. I went to my LBS and gave the manager the details and asked him to get me a price. The suggested retail is approximately $450. When I had not heard from them by new year, I placed an on line order at $430. I still have not heard from them and I've been in the shop a few times, plus they have my phone number.:rolleyes:

Ronnie.
 

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Don't skid
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Bedise price, shipping time is important to me. I regularly buy from Pricepoint, Performance and CBO. In some cases I get my parts the next day, never more than two days. My LBS cannot order a part that fast for some reason and even if they could it would be more expensive. I have found that the shipping from these companies is so good that I get frustrated when I order anything else online and have to wait more than a few days to get it.
 

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I do both. I shop online and buy at the LBS. But now adays the prices of complete bikes online are so competitive. Take for example Woodstock Bikes. They offer a FS model called the 707, for about $899. But if you go to a Trek dealer, you'll find a Trek Fuel EX6 for about $1399. They're practically spec'd the same so to me, why spend the extra few hundred if I'm essentially getting the same bike.

Don't get me wrong, Trek makes some awesome bikes, but when it comes to price, sometimes I'm on board with online retailers.
 

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IMO a online shop would have to screw up really bad for something else to beat price and selection (I'm thinking of beyond bikes/airbomb). I do get stuff at performance (never the best prices - maybe that should be their motto) sometimes because I have a performance credit card, but that still ends up being a matter of price (if I have a bunch of $10 coupons that I didn't pay anything for I'm effectively getting a better price).


Don't take this the wrong way, but IMO the LBS generally can't really cater to a high-end customer. We tend to be picky, and you can't stock everything we might buy. True you can order it, but I can probably get it online faster and shipping ends up costing less than tax most of the time. And price; someone has to pay your wage, yet you offer no added value to someone who does their own work and knows what they want. For many it seems like supporting an LBS is simply a matter of charity.
 
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