driveonthebeach wrote:Let me put this out and see what people think.
Is it right for distributors to sell kiteboarding equipment directly to the consumer?
I, myself don't like it. I know of two local shops that used to be doing very well several years ago. Now the owners are complaining about lack of business. Customers would come in to see what kiteboarding was all about and end up buying a kite, board + harness and signing up for a lesson. Now it seems like these same shops can't compete with the distributors that have their banner ads all over the place advertising huge closeouts on last year's stuff.
Car manufacturers don't sell direct. You have to go to the dealer.
If the shop goes out of business there go the lessons. What shop owner is going to cater to a customer who walks in with his brand new kite that he just bought on line but who doesn't know a thing about it?
gumball wrote:As you know, Best sells direct to the customer and direct to the retailer. We don't use distributors so that mark up is passed on a savings to the customer. The 400+ retailers around the world that sell Best are having their best year ever with the waroo, they can't keep them in stock and their only complaint is that they can't get enough Waroos even though we're making them as fast as we can. I think if you take a close look, it's mostly the shops that don't sell Best that are having problems because they can't compete with the waroo on price or performance and many distributors are selling direct, behind the retailer's backs, trying to move inventory at reduced prices. The manufacturer/distributor/retailer model works ok IF there isn't someone rocking the boat and customers don't have options, but they do and Best is pretty good at rocking the boat. This whole discussion is the opportunity we saw 2 1/2 years ago when we started Best, and we have to be close to right because we're now far and away the biggest manufacturer in the industry. For example, I know for a fact that Flexifoil made 2,500 kites in all of 2006, Best makes that many in 2 weeks...
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