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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2004 12:48 am 
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Dax wrote:
...
My guess is the retail market will never go away completely, but I bet we see a trend develop where more manufacturers who feel their name is good enough to stand on its own without retailer support, break away and start selling direct.
...


Maybe, but it could take a lot of balls for the first of the established
manufacturers to make a move in that direction. One former "big name"
paraglider manufacturer (FreeX) tried it and it all but destroyed their
sales in the USA (and, I believe, in many other countries too)
They started selling direct to the public in Germany (their home country)
and Austria and any other country that was not, at the time, served by an
established FreeX distributor. Almost immediately they were ostracized by
dealers in counties where they did have distributors (such as here in the
US) as those dealers perceived that buyers could now easily work around
the their distributor/dealer network to get huge discounts (which someone
who traveled to Europe, or knew someone travelling there could easily
do)

Now with the dealers (and schools) not only withdrawing support for FreeX
but actively working against their reputation the one remaining US distributor
(in Colorado) gradually went under and it became all but impossible to get
a FreeX glider in the USA even if you wanted one.

This example may not 100% reflect the Best Kiteboardin situation as
paraglider most pilots relaly have a requirement for local support for
things like annual inspections and lineset replacements (you don't want to
have to ship it overseas every year) and FreeX was formerly a 'conventional'
operation which changed over to direct marketting - not one that started
marketing direct from scratch.

Since I've never flown LEIs it is hard for me to get a feel for how big of an
impact not having local support for kites would be ( My G-Arcs are pretty
much a DIY type deal as far as repairs--and even performance upgrades--
go ;) ) but if that's not too big of an issue then the fact that Best is
starting out with the direct approach may favor their success - but I
wouldn't hold your breath for other manufactureres following suit anytime
soon.


Steve T.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2004 1:09 am 
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sq225917 wrote:
...people sell direct to get market share by driving cost down, but as volume goes up the logistics of this change heavily and without the ability to pre-sell stock to dealers to get a lump of cash in, you have no control over your cash flow at all and become purely reactive to sales demand.
...


If kites sell then the manufacturers get money. If market share goes up
manufacturers get more money. All that 'pre-sales' to distributors does is
provide some of that money up front but if they are confident that their
lower prices from direct supply will generate more sales then they may be
quite willing to forgo that 'up front' money. The only risk is if, for some
reason, their product looses popularity (see my other post), not that that
they will collapse for want of a little money up-front.

Your gobbledygook above sounds suspiciously like the ramblings
of a spare cog trying to justify its place in the gearbox ;)

Steve T


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2004 12:43 pm 
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its all about the growth thing, new brand saturated market, dealers not interested, sell direct lower price gives them differentiation, but as the market for their product grows which i'm sure it will, the logistics of service and support will become a big problem for them. just like selling over the web to anyone who wants a kite regardless of training will become a problem to us all.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2004 6:36 pm 
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sq225917 wrote:
...selling over the web to anyone who wants a kite regardless of training will become a problem to us all.


Right now, anyone who wants to buy a kite without training can do so ...
All the "bricks and mortar" stores can do is advise their potential buyers
to get training or insist that they are competant before selling a kite.. in
which case the customer can lie about his ability or go elsewhere and
will find someone willing to sell him a kite.

An Internet based company can offer a potential customer the same
advise and warnings and insist on the same level of ability as a
conventional store, and can also be ignored and lied to by the customer.

If a guy comes to your store and asks for the top-of-the-line newest
model Slingshot and while you're at it he'd like a new $700 board, and he
claims to have three or four years experience do you make him ride in
front of you to prove his ability and refuse to sell if he doesn't. I doubt
that many, if any retailers would turn down a big sale unless the customer
openly admits or otherwise discloses that he has no experience.

End result ... if a person wants to buy a kite without training he will get it -
with or without new Internet retailers springing up. If an online retailer
wants to refuse sales to inexperienced customers he can ask exactly the
same questions that the conventianal store ask can before selling.

Conclusion : on-line retailers will probably make no difference to the
safety of kiting. (except inasmuch as the increased number of kiters on
the beaches and waters may indirectly, adversely affect safety statistics.

Steve T.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2004 6:50 pm 
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I've personally seen retailers selling kites to people with absolutely no experience. Sure they give them the brochure for the local kite school, and the lecture about how they need training, but they still sell them the kite.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2004 11:50 pm 
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Location: Madison, Wi. Cabrinha, Slingshot, Blade, Axis, Mystic, NP Surf.
Looks like the race just got more interesting. Suprised it took this long for the kiteboarding industry to get to this point.

1st. Competition is good.

2nd. Bestkiteboarding is going after market share and will get a very large portion in a short time with this pricing.

3rd. Now you will probably see Darwins survival of the fittest in action and start to see consolidation in the next few years. Once the market prices drop, so will profits and companies will dwindle and/or consolidate. The sport will conitnue to grow solidly.

4th. Most likely...3-5 years from now, with fewer player in the market, there's a chance that prices will again rise. Just an opinion based on other business models.

I applaud Best's efforts to offer better pricing to the consumer only if the product is as good or better than the rest. IE: Dell.
Ride hard.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2004 12:40 am 
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toyletbowl wrote:
4th. Most likely...3-5 years from now, with fewer player in the market, there's a chance that prices will again rise. Just an opinion based on other business models.


I bet you eventually we see prices much higher than today's, and much lower than today's. Every market seeks to get to a point where a product at every price point can be offered. Right now there's usually only about $100-$200 dollar separation between a "high end" kite and a "low end" kite. I bet you with kite prices dropping below $500, you see companies starting to diversify a lot more the difference between their levels of kites.

Also right now the expensive kites are the high AR kites.. Soon we could see companies producing high end and low end kites reguardless of AR. So you might have a company that offers both an expensive low AR kite, and a cheap high AR kite.

Point being is it has nothing to do with how much it costs to produce and sell the kite, or what the kite is in terms of performance. Its all about how much the consumer is willing to spend on the kite they must have. Guaranteed reguardless of how much they can save by cutting out the retailer, direct sales manufacturers will always have a product that costs just as much as the one sold at the store.

So don't you guys worry, if you want to spend $1000+ on a kite, you'll still be able to :wink:


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2004 3:33 am 
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I really hope thprices turn out to be excellent, as a lot of kiteboarders will benefit from that.

HOWEVER, I got to read more about Kite-Ho contests than how important kite design, innovation, & quality is to them. I would really rather see a company:

1. Put money into innovation - Making the best kite possible

or

2. Put money into LOW production costs - Making the gear as inexpensive as possible.


If I want to look at girlies, I'll just pick them up myself - Don't tag them on to the price of the gear. :D


Hoping for the Best (pun intended!), expecting something less...

Sid sends


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2004 11:18 am 
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Business model successful or not - I would be willing to buy my whole 2004 collection from these guys, if the following hypothesis is correct.

If I put the pieces of the puzzle together, Eric Herstens and team in Cabarete have all the latest cad/cam technology, know-how (can't remember the designers name), test-riders & conditions (Cabarete - can't get better than that for time on the water). Plus, they've been at it for a while now, I spoke to someone in Holland that had an EH kite proto, he was totally stoked.

So....if the above is correct = ie EH + Best are officially married - I'm up for it. I would even go as far as take an el cheapo flight from Europe to Florida to pick up the gear, worth it in my book if you purchase 3-4 kites.

But...just some clarification required: are Eric Herstens and his kite designer indeed the guys behind the kite design? The final BEST product will indeed be the result of EH's R&D efforts? This is what I would like to know.

If yes, then it is a no-brainer: high quality at low cost. Service is not a priority for me, as long as the product is in stock when I need it (no waiting around while the kite is ordered, manufactured, etc.).

Another question is that of timing: April will be my time to change quiver (since all major brands will have 2004 kites on the market by then), if BEST delays shipments beyond that month then I would have to pass up. When is production and operations going to officially start?

Steve


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 17, 2004 3:13 pm 
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steve_t wrote:
Business model successful or not - I would be willing to buy my whole 2004 collection from these guys


Best has contracted Eric Hertsens & Peter Stiewe (EH) to design all kites; high performance line, mid aspect line and low aspect line. Both Eric & Peter are hard core riders: Eric is one of the best wave riders in Cabarete and Peter is a kite loop machine. EH has set up a state of the art Research and Development center in Cabarete. This R&D center has received a tremendous amount of attention from the industry as one of the breeding places of kite boarding innovation. EH possesses the necessary equipment including a CNC 3D plotter table, highly specialized CAD software, and computer controlled industrial sewing machines to produce and test prototypes on the spot based on the feedback and direction given by Shannon Best & team. Once a proto type is rigorously tested by Shannon, the best team, Eric & Peter and it meets the “Bestâ€


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