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Why shop at your Local Bike Shop (LBS)?

product_365912 Having just got home from shopping at my local bike shop (LBS), The Bicycle Entrepreneur (TBE), Osborne Park I felt I need to ask myself that question. I went to TBE because I had very kindly been given two gift vouchers for at a total $225.00 and one was expiring soon. I am also a customer of the store having purchased Froggie from them and Anne brought her bike there as well.

So I thought this is a great time to grab a new pair of mountain bike shoes and a CO2 pump, both items a bit harder to buy online and I thought a good use of the gift vouchers.

The purchase price for the shoes and pump came to $184.90 leaving me with $40.10 to spend on the vouchers. Well I also needed a new pair of gloves and TBE has Sugoi gloves so why not splash out so to speak. The gloves added another $44.95 to the order; all up a total of $229.85.

The young person serving me was nice and helpful and whilst he was putting through the transaction we chatted. When the transaction went through he mentioned that another $29.85 was payable and without thinking I paid it, not really registering what he said. It was then he realised that he had not processed the second $25 gift voucher. No worries, mistakes happen right. We can easily fix this can’t we.  He calls over the senior staff member who tries something with the computer, stares it and then says he can’t do anything about the error … if he tries to reverse the transaction and include the second gift voucher it will cause the till to be out of balance. What has this got to do with anything? Surly it can be easily explained, right? Furthermore  what has this to do with me as the customer? This is a store issue, not a customer issue or so I thought. How wrong was I.

The best they could offer was (a) leaving all the items with them and they will fix it up “next week” when the store manager is back (vague on when the store manager was actually coming back) or (b) take the items, we will keep a copy of the sales invoice, and will see what the store manager says “next week.”  I took option (b) and It will be interesting to see what comes of this.

What got me about all this was:

(1) Okay things happen, mistakes get made. That was no big deal and it didn’t bother me, UNTILL they couldn’t sort it … that was not impressive at all and not good customer service in my view;

(2) No discount was offered on the purchases irrespective of the gift voucher and before they new I was paying for the purchases with them. This was disappointing because I am a known customer (they retrieve my details to process the sale) who purchased Froggie from them and Anne got her bike there as well and was lead to believe that we would get 10% discount as a continuing customer much like what Fleet Cycles does;

(3) The general prices of the items in the store. That same $200 gift voucher at Wiggle or the likes would have gone much further in my opinion.

On the subject of prices.  The three items purchased where and for interests sake, some comparison prices.

Specialized Taho MTB shoes – AU$154.95 – MTBR Reviews RRP – AU$78.79

Planet Bike Red Zepplin CO2 Inflator – AU$29.95 – Phantom Cycles (AUS) – AU$25.95 – JensonUSA – AU$22.45

Sugoi  C9 Gel gloves – AU$44.95 – Campor US RRP – AU$33.75 – Seen them online for AU$16.00

Had I shopped at Wiggle I wouldn’t have got the CO2 inflator and would have possibly brought over brands or models but the above gives an idea on the pricing variance. For example from Wiggle I could have got Northwave Lizard Pro SBS MTB shoes with better fasteners for starters for $143.20

For me the moral of this experience for me is that looking around TBE pricing is still high compared to overseas, the range of items was limited (I was struggling to use up my $225.00 by getting things either I would like to try on or can’t easily get overseas), that even though I had brought previously a mid range priced (at the time) bike (over $3,000) and Anne brought her $2,000 bike there as well, it doesn’t make me a valued customer and that when they muck up, the hassle is the customers, not theirs.

So for me, shopping online from the comfort of my office chair continues to win out.

6 Responses to Why shop at your Local Bike Shop (LBS)?

  1. Greg December 29, 2009 at 7:25 AM #

    I have recently placed orders with Wiggle, Torpedo7, Ribble and Chain Reaction Cycles. From Torpedo7 I got good quality knicks for $28.99. I have been riding them all weekend and they are awesome. I checked the sizing guide carefully and they arrived the correct size for me. The cheapest I could find knicks in Perth was $40 to $50 for very cheap brands that seemed pretty thin and poor quality. The other bargain I picked up was an Ultegra Triple Chainset for the Masi for $142.69. I didn’t even bother contacting any LBS because I know they can’t compete with prices like that.

    When I went to buy a new bike, I visited 6 LBSs first. Only one gave me decent service but could not get me what I wanted. I ended up mail ordering a bike from the Eastern States at 50% off. I am very happy with my purchase and had no problems at all ordering, having the bike delivered and assembling it.

    In my view, the only reason for a LBS is if they can provide expert product knowledge to assist customers with making purchasing decisions. In my experience they do not do this (at least not the shops I have visited). Accordingly, I choose to spend my money overseas to get a better deal and to research which products I want myself.

    Why shop at your Local Bike Shop (LBS)? I can see no reason to.

  2. Greg December 29, 2009 at 3:25 PM #

    I have recently placed orders with Wiggle, Torpedo7, Ribble and Chain Reaction Cycles. From Torpedo7 I got good quality knicks for $28.99. I have been riding them all weekend and they are awesome. I checked the sizing guide carefully and they arrived the correct size for me. The cheapest I could find knicks in Perth was $40 to $50 for very cheap brands that seemed pretty thin and poor quality. The other bargain I picked up was an Ultegra Triple Chainset for the Masi for $142.69. I didn’t even bother contacting any LBS because I know they can’t compete with prices like that.

    When I went to buy a new bike, I visited 6 LBSs first. Only one gave me decent service but could not get me what I wanted. I ended up mail ordering a bike from the Eastern States at 50% off. I am very happy with my purchase and had no problems at all ordering, having the bike delivered and assembling it.

    In my view, the only reason for a LBS is if they can provide expert product knowledge to assist customers with making purchasing decisions. In my experience they do not do this (at least not the shops I have visited). Accordingly, I choose to spend my money overseas to get a better deal and to research which products I want myself.

    Why shop at your Local Bike Shop (LBS)? I can see no reason to.

  3. craig December 29, 2009 at 12:00 PM #

    Well Andrew you know my feelings on this subject. I am currently having a whole year bike store free. Call it a stand against bad service, inflated prices and just a general feeling of getting ripped off.

    I have bought overseas now for sometime and apart from a small problem with my last wiggle order all perfect. I also order books and dvd’s OS again saving money and hassle. I have to say that even large purchases such as complete bikes are hassle free and easy if you have the confidence.

    Sorry to hear about your LBS experience but I hate to say “I told you so”

    See you out on the river soon mate

    Cheers

    Craig

  4. craig December 29, 2009 at 8:00 PM #

    Well Andrew you know my feelings on this subject. I am currently having a whole year bike store free. Call it a stand against bad service, inflated prices and just a general feeling of getting ripped off.

    I have bought overseas now for sometime and apart from a small problem with my last wiggle order all perfect. I also order books and dvd’s OS again saving money and hassle. I have to say that even large purchases such as complete bikes are hassle free and easy if you have the confidence.

    Sorry to hear about your LBS experience but I hate to say “I told you so”

    See you out on the river soon mate

    Cheers

    Craig

  5. jet December 30, 2009 at 5:49 AM #

    I do buy things at the LBS that I need quickly – tubes, chain links, brake pads, cables & housing, etc when I have time to do something with the bike then and there! I have found two bike shops to be very helpful – Cyclerama in Cannington, and Fleet666 in the city. My bike purchases at Cyclerama have been less significant than yours (I bought a CRX2, so did the gf and a mate, and I bought an STP2 and a bike trailer from them also), but they stick by their 10% discount and there are cash discounts on offer if you ask.

    I do buy a lot of stuff online though.

  6. jet December 30, 2009 at 1:49 PM #

    I do buy things at the LBS that I need quickly – tubes, chain links, brake pads, cables & housing, etc when I have time to do something with the bike then and there! I have found two bike shops to be very helpful – Cyclerama in Cannington, and Fleet666 in the city. My bike purchases at Cyclerama have been less significant than yours (I bought a CRX2, so did the gf and a mate, and I bought an STP2 and a bike trailer from them also), but they stick by their 10% discount and there are cash discounts on offer if you ask.

    I do buy a lot of stuff online though.

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