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Posted: Wed May 11, 2005 3:23 pm
by Windzup
One example of a concept gone wrong that killed an entire sport, Windsurfing. I grew up in Las Vegas, where in the 1980's there was a highpoint for windsurfing and at one point there were 3 shops in town.

Now, with a capitalist interest in business survival, these shops promoted the sport and grew it to the largest point the region had seen, with 1500 people attending weekend competitions. These shops laid the ground work for local promotion, and they backed it up with in store customer service and instruction.

Years later when I hit high school and finally got some wheels, there was not a single shop or instructor in town to be found, and on a good wind day there may be 15 guys at the beach.

Turns out that while I was studying in school these dedicated shop owners closed one by one, unable to compete with catalog sales and direct sales from manufacturers.

So when the time came, unfortunately there was no one to teach me to windsurf or show me what gear I needed for my area. Sure I could buy a rig online, if I knew what to look for. But that thought quickly disappeared when I realized I would be alone on the beach with no one to show me how to properly rig the gear, let alone use it.

So my lust for wind turned to power kites and paragliding and now I am a proud kiteboarder. I look back on other industries mistakes, and my passion for kiteboarding won't allow me to jump on the band wagon and help destroy my favorite sport.

The bottom line is without local retailers the sport won't grow, and with them it grows massively, and safely.

Brian Schenck
Ozone Kites USA

Posted: Wed May 11, 2005 6:14 pm
by Toby
there are always pros and cons.
I don't see a con when copnaies offer direct sales for parts no shop stocks.
But this will increase customer service big time and much appreciated by the consumers.

Congratulations, Takoon just opeend an online store for accessories!

NEW : Shop on line all TAKOON accessories !
All TK goodies are now available on the takoon website. Be the first to receive the hottest stuff in your mailbox.
Get ready for summer : wallets, DVD, car seat covers will make the difference on the beach.
All those accessories to be delivered all over Europe within 48 hrs. Summer is coming, make it hot !

Posted: Thu May 12, 2005 2:15 pm
by xray
I fully support your idea Toby. Shops never have a complete productline and that is very frustrating from time to time. DIY is way better. Anyone in need of a good shopsystem? ;-)

Posted: Thu May 12, 2005 10:51 pm
by Fabjet1
GOOD JOD TOBY!!!!!!!!!!

Posted: Fri May 13, 2005 12:05 am
by vietkiter
Ah... this is like trying to find Nanking in a Japanese textbook or Tiannamen in a Chinese history book...

It was not long ago that "retail shops" were the focal point with customers... you know the good guys as opposed to the bad Best guys...

Now, people are ready to admit retail shops are "underscaled" and "inadequate" to meet "all" the needs of customers? This is what I have been saying from the beginning as to why a Best bladder/fly lines costs a fraction to order versus any one else's...

Now the "Industry" is claiming direct accessories sale is suddenly a "win-win" situation? Certainly for the brands, distributors, and customers... but in no way "a win" for the shops... please this is a Gumball'est PR spin...

If Takoon can ship items direct in two days, it certainly can due virtual warehousing for retailers for a nominal fee... as usual, it's the spin doctors at work again...

Let me paint for you how this will play out... first its the accessories... once the brands/distributors have adequate interface with end customers... this will fairly quickly escalate to excess stock and eventually new kites...

If the industry really want to support the shops, then develope a virtual regional inventory of accessories and due a next-day delivery service for shops...

Otherwise... call it for what is really is... the "hated" Best business model

Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 12:39 pm
by Marizu
Windzup wrote:One example of a concept gone wrong that killed an entire sport, Windsurfing. I grew up in Las Vegas, where in the 1980's there was a highpoint for windsurfing and at one point there were 3 shops in town.
This is an interesting perspective, but I have a different one (I do appreciate that I wasn't there so you may be correct for your case).
Non-national sports tend to move in cycles of popularity (BMX, skateboarding, rollerskating, fondue), all the while having a few keen enthusiasts keeping the torch alive between cycles.
Kitesurfing is cool now and everybody wants a piece. There are shops everywhere. People like me are travelling 100+ miles from the cities to get to the beach. After a couple of seasons, the shine will have worn off, everyone will know someone that has had a real kitemare and the general population will not be so keen to have a go. Some will drop out because their progress won't be fast enough (i'm seeing this already) and, here in the UK, some will just get sick of being cold :)
The shops won't all survive and you will be left with 15 guys at every beach...

The mail order issue doesn't just affect our sport, it is an issue for white goods, too. Increasingly people inspect and choose products in a showroom and then buy them off the internet.
I tried to buy a dishwasher in a store and they told me that it would be 2 weeks delivery so I bought it from the internet, got 30% off and got it quicker!
Many kite shops are unable to carry all of the stock that they sell. A friend of mine 'ordered' a kite at the shop and it took the distributer 3 MONTHS to get it to the shop and then they were charged more because it was a 2004 model! Hmmm....

The market will decide for better or worse...

Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 10:57 pm
by Kiteboarddog
Support you local shop!!!!!!!!

That being said I will buy an occasional used kite off the web.

I think that there would need to be a firm line between things like bladders and such as compared to Bars and harnesses.
The accessories should be the place you make your profit margins and I agree there is no profit in trying to stock bladders or small parts for everything.
On the other hand take away Bar and line, Harness, spreader bar, foot strap, etc sales you take a big profit center away from your loyal dealer.

This should be thought through very carefully and handled with good communication to your dealers!!!!!


Posted: Fri May 20, 2005 3:16 pm
by 72kiteboarder

Posted: Sun May 29, 2005 10:17 am
In general (electronic stuff, etc.) I'm a nearly 100% online only buyer. I know the price is great and I know what I want.

Recently, my harness exploded while riding and there was wind forecasted for the next day. Without my local shop there would have been way to get a new harness in time. Or the online bought harness would have had the wrong size and I'd have to send it back and wait for an exchange.

I know the margins for kite and board sales. They are ridiculous with the discounts the customers ask for these days.

If the kite producing companies take the sales of accessories under their control, there is no way a shop can survive. Flexifoil, Ozone, Takoon and maybe already some others offer brand "fan" articles on their websites. That's ok, because most shops do not stock those articles anyway.

Robin - Submit your Kite and Kiteboard Reviews

Posted: Mon May 30, 2005 9:35 pm
by tux
good point, I forgot about the bladders! They are always very hard to get and I remember many postings about where to get this or that fronttube.
And no shop will stock any fronttubes!!!
The trouble is when a brand have not a tube, not in Italy, not in Europe, and finally not in Maui Haway..... :evil: