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Old 07-18-2016, 03:49 PM   #21
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This is part of the new world order - right?

West Marine kills mom and pop chandleries...

Amazon Prime kills West Marine?

Or is there room in the marketplace for all to coexist?
Recently, I was getting pricing for anchor chain. I called 3 stores in my area, 2 local and 1 chain (guess who). Store 1 was $3.26 a foot. Store 2 was $2.89 a foot. Store 3 was $5.11 per foot. When I asked why the difference, store 3 told me that was their retail price, but they would beat any other brick and mortar store within 50 miles. So much for who is killing store 3.
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Old 07-18-2016, 04:05 PM   #22
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I love and hate Amazon and Amazon prime. We use it as it's very convenient for some things. We use their store card to get the 5% discount. However, I felt like Walmart was a bit predatory, and I feel the same way toward Amazon. I wish their plan was for co-existence but it's not. Walmart has one segment at a time run businesses to their deaths. They decided they wanted to sell more of certain items than anyone else and just took the business. Now Amazon is doing the same thing.

What I find though is that I buy the nickel and dime stuff on Amazon. We might get bandaids or gloves or masks or toothbrushes and toothpaste. However, I don't buy larger items there. I go to a store I like, find it, buy it. One above spoke of using the store to look at items and then buying from Amazon. I probably do more of the opposite, use Amazon to read the reviews and then go to the store. I've never purchased a single item on Amazon that cost as much as $100, probably not even $50. My typical order is 6 items totaling $75. I buy items there that I'm too lazy to walk around stores for or that I can buy in volume at so much less with them. More and more stores are matching too. If I'm going to buy a $300 product I want to buy at a place that if there's a problem I can walk back in there with it.

We shop a lot at Bed, Bath and Beyond and we use coupons. I remember buying a new showerhead there. I got it home and the plastic tubing had an awful smell. Then I read reviews. I boxed it back up, went to BB&B, exchanged for metal. I probably could have saved a little at Amazon, but taken days going back and forth.

We own small stores so we have a very vested interest in seeing them survive and we use local businesses for everything we reasonably can. Women aren't going to buy clothing online or buy it for their husbands online. Furniture is another thing. And there are still good local appliance stores and home theater stores. I like face to face dealing and not through skype. We use that to see our niece when we're not there.
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Old 07-18-2016, 04:18 PM   #23
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Couple of real questions; How did you know they bought online after fitting in your store? Why would someone buy elsewhere instead of your firm?
1st, I ran a small business, 2 full time people (myself and one other). Pretty hard to miss that kind of shopper.
2nd, Serial numbers and no warranty card. Online merchants purchase the product outside the USA, so no USA warranty card or warranty.
3rd, They told me. Not ashamed of it. Said it was all about price.

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Second, I've run into the other scenario a bunch while traveling. Our ski boat needed a repair on the second day of vacation, and the local dealer very first thing, asked if we bought it there. No we had not, because we were 1400 miles from home. We needed help. Unfortunately, they "couldn't get us in" until sometime after our vacation ended. So, we had three weeks on a lake with no boat.


Because of that mentality, in my business, we treat all customers equally; First in, first out. Same price for all. Got a problem that puts you dead in the water, we'll figure out how to get you up and running asap. No matter where you bought your unit. That probably is one reason we're the fastest growing and number one company in our industry.
Apples and oranges. My store was not a destination business. It was located in a small city. The people who came through the front door were locals. There were some exceptions, people coming to take specialized training from me or ride my charter boat.

I made a practice of putting my good customers first. You spend thousands of dollars with me on diving equipment, you get better service. You spend thousands on line and only give me your tank refills and service work, well you can wait till after I take care of the people who kept me in business for 20 years.

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Old 07-18-2016, 05:35 PM   #24
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I use Amazon as a very last resort for anything, and can't imagine ever using them for a boating item. 1st preference is for a good local independent retailer, next choice are vendors like (and especially) Defender, Hamilton, Depco, GenuineDealz, MarineBeam and Deep Blue Yacht Supply who have reasonable prices, knowledgeable, boat savvy people, and good overall service. Amazon and its marketplace dealers can't price low enough for me to foresake those folks.
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Old 07-18-2016, 05:46 PM   #25
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When you're right you're right. I just got a replacement holding tank macerator pump off eBay, and it's so pathetic it does not come close to self-priming, even at 18" above the tank, when it's specs claim 4' dry and 5' wet self-priming.
What chance of money back I wonder..? I thought the rusted TMC one it replaced was bad enough. It never self-primed either, but I had a way of priming it so it worked - until it seized. That trick does not work with this one. Ok, its Chinese made - should known I guess...
You should have no trouble getting a refund from an ebay seller. If your claim is reasonable. Ebay sellers value their rating bigtime which is out there for all to see unlike some other sellers. I would be surprized if they didn't make good. I like to but online b/c I don't loke to pay sales tax. All things equal I would rather give it to UPS than the state. At least they earn it.
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Old 07-18-2016, 05:49 PM   #26
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Interesting Amazon experience:

When I was doing my refit, I needed a specialty adapter that the manufacturer offered (I called them). They wouldn't sell it to me direct and couldn't point me to a dealer who offered it. They suggested I google the part number. The only place it showed up was the amazon market place. Coincidentally, the vendor was in the same city and state as the manufacturer. The vendor's other offerings were all other uncommon items from the same manufacturer. Guess that was there way of not selling direct but getting all of the uncommon stuff available.

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Old 07-18-2016, 06:09 PM   #27
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I buy several thousand dollars (US) a year in boat parts on line. That is also where I do my research as to what I need. I find West Marine's selection to be very limited. Can't blame them as even their Chicago store only sells the most common parts. I note much of the space in both the Chicago store and the Michigan City store is taken up by clothes.

West Marine's business plan is heavily weighted toward items which are needed immediately or touch and feel items (electronics and clothing). That is fine. They will adapt with their market.
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Old 07-18-2016, 09:11 PM   #28
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I think you are correct. Wish I bought Amazon stock a couple years ago. Straight line, upward.

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Originally Posted by CarlinLA View Post
This is part of the new world order - right?

West Marine kills mom and pop chandleries...

Amazon Prime kills West Marine?

Or is there room in the marketplace for all to coexist?
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Old 07-18-2016, 09:42 PM   #29
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I think you are correct. Wish I bought Amazon stock a couple years ago. Straight line, upward.
They're part of the "there is never enough for us" philosophy.
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Old 07-19-2016, 09:21 AM   #30
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After reading "The Everything Store" it made me realize how terribly predatory Amazon really is and what a colossal jerk Bezos is. But he's a smart dude for sure.

The company has never made much (any?) profit at all for over 20 years, but the stock has been a darling. I predict much stockholder pain eventually, but I have no idea how long the music will play.

I do download some books from Amazon for my Kindle however, so I guess I'm a hypocrite.
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Old 07-19-2016, 10:57 AM   #31
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This is part of the new world order - right?

West Marine kills mom and pop chandleries...

Amazon Prime kills West Marine?

Or is there room in the marketplace for all to coexist?

Yep, that's the way it works. Look at the retail giants of yesteryear ie: Sears, Penneys, Monkey Ward and others. What happened? Someone came up with a better idea for getting the goods to the public. Enter Walmart, Sam's Club, Costco and the big box electronic retailers. Now, maybe a better idea has come along enter ebay and Amazon. Could it be that next day delivery or even same day delivery could drive a nail in the coffin of Walmart? We'll have to see, but if it does it will affect a lot of other things. Things like automobiles, the oil business, or whatever. Just think you could have more time to play Pokemon Go.

It is surprising how seemingly small things can give a company and edge to dominate a market. Now, that's the American Way!
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Old 07-19-2016, 11:13 AM   #32
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It is surprising how seemingly small things can give a company and edge to dominate a market. Now, that's the American Way!
I don't have a problem with a company trying to make a profit, but so often I see people making shopping decisions that are ultimately against their own interests.

I have an Optometric practice in a small town. Walmart came in 10 years ago. Immediately the whole area started shopping there because in general it is a low income area. Some of the folks that shopped there were the employees of a local auto parts store. Walmart put them out of business within the first year. The local sporting goods store lasted a little longer putting the Walmart shoppers that worked there out of business.

Beyond the Mom and Pop we have a medium sized chicken production facility. They are able to sell to Walmart which is great for their business. However they are now hooked. Walmart has a business model that has them become a business's primary customer so there are some great years. Then Walmart starts to squeeze the price point. The producer has no choice but to agree because they no longer can survive without Walmart. Eventually that chicken producer will fail and Walmart will move to the next producer and repeat the process. My point is that it is those employees of the chicken producer who can least afford to shop at Walmart and support the business that will eventually cost them their job. But that is fine, once they are unemployed they too can go to work for Walmart at minimum wage and collect welfare and Medicaid to support their family while continuing to shop at Walmart because they now have no financial choice.
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Old 07-19-2016, 12:06 PM   #33
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I'd have complained to the boat mfr, the National Marine Dealers Association any other entity that could cause problems for him! It's one thing to push locals who might have bought from a nearby competing dealer to the back of the line, but quite another to refuse to help someone from too far away to take business away from him!
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Old 07-19-2016, 12:17 PM   #34
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I don't have a problem with a company trying to make a profit, but so often I see people making shopping decisions that are ultimately against their own interests.

I have an Optometric practice in a small town. Walmart came in 10 years ago. Immediately the whole area started shopping there because in general it is a low income area. Some of the folks that shopped there were the employees of a local auto parts store. Walmart put them out of business within the first year. The local sporting goods store lasted a little longer putting the Walmart shoppers that worked there out of business.

Beyond the Mom and Pop we have a medium sized chicken production facility. They are able to sell to Walmart which is great for their business. However they are now hooked. Walmart has a business model that has them become a business's primary customer so there are some great years. Then Walmart starts to squeeze the price point. The producer has no choice but to agree because they no longer can survive without Walmart. Eventually that chicken producer will fail and Walmart will move to the next producer and repeat the process. My point is that it is those employees of the chicken producer who can least afford to shop at Walmart and support the business that will eventually cost them their job. But that is fine, once they are unemployed they too can go to work for Walmart at minimum wage and collect welfare and Medicaid to support their family while continuing to shop at Walmart because they now have no financial choice.

This is all true. However, the retailers of yesteryear did the same thing. Sears with their catalogs were the "online" supplier of that day. Sears never made anything not even Kenmore appliances or Craftman tools. Their model was the same. They would buy up a patent, and get a supplier to make the product for them exclusively. Then they would squeeze the supplier until they would run some out of business.

Sears, Walmart and others have optical departments. The business world is a tough environment. I'm glad in some ways that I am at the end of my career. I develop and build real estate in our local region. We have to compete with large national developers and builders that are equity financed along with huge buying power. We have to stay sharp and differentiate our product and serve basically niche markets. We also develop land to sell to the larger builders who don't do their own developing. Our company has gone through several iterations of target markets. We started out building move up housing. Then we did larger homes. When that market faded in the 90s we got into targeting the empty nester with condo and town house developments. Then we started developing land to sell to others. You see how it goes. I can tell you that the length of time I have been in it several business cycles have occurred. The key is to remain flexible, and think out of the box.
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Old 07-19-2016, 12:28 PM   #35
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2006 My company harnessed major test market sales platform in HD for one of my invented construction tools. Began selling through 40 + HD stores in Northern CA; increasing store count as new stores opened. Soon my tools were outselling competitor's established "similar-trades" product line's primary building tools. Merchandiser I'd become close with at HD HQ in Atlanta was planning to increase my HD store-count up to all west of The Mississippi. Clouds of 2008 financial melt down began to show what the future held. Suddenly my displays were being trashed over the nights in HD stores... numerous ones being thrown into the crusher, others smacked by fork lift blades, some just moved into obscure corners/areas. I learned from inside-store-sources that the distributors of the competitor product "other-source" night service crews carried out the dastardly deeds. Because... HQ of competitor was getting down on the distributor to HD stores as to why their sales counts were diminishing. Eventually, from what I understand, HD HQ was contacted and told that if my tools were not removed costs would rise on several sku's. Suddenly I received phone call: "Your product has been discontinued by HD. We are beginning close-out sales today of your one sku." I replied: "We've got replenishment products going to fill reorders at five participating stores today and two newly opening stores that will have displays set up." I was told: "Do not place anymore product in HD stores, you will not receive reimbursement." I asked: "What about invoices outstanding." Was told: "Pending invoices will be paid on standard format". Person calling was not the merchandiser I'd been working with for a time - but rather - a person who I'd not known... i.e. the new merchandiser. Previous merchandiser had abruptly been relieved of duty and placed on other position... not too long after no longer with HD; to best of my knowledge, new merchandiser that stopped my tool sales is still with HD.


Yup - Just checked. Merchandiser who called to close my tools out - still in same position.


There is much more to the story; suffice it to say... the Big Boys Rule... and ... they collaborate!
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Old 07-19-2016, 12:55 PM   #36
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I don't have a problem with a company trying to make a profit, but so often I see people making shopping decisions that are ultimately against their own interests.

I have an Optometric practice in a small town. Walmart came in 10 years ago. Immediately the whole area started shopping there because in general it is a low income area. Some of the folks that shopped there were the employees of a local auto parts store. Walmart put them out of business within the first year. The local sporting goods store lasted a little longer putting the Walmart shoppers that worked there out of business.

Beyond the Mom and Pop we have a medium sized chicken production facility. They are able to sell to Walmart which is great for their business. However they are now hooked. Walmart has a business model that has them become a business's primary customer so there are some great years. Then Walmart starts to squeeze the price point. The producer has no choice but to agree because they no longer can survive without Walmart. Eventually that chicken producer will fail and Walmart will move to the next producer and repeat the process. My point is that it is those employees of the chicken producer who can least afford to shop at Walmart and support the business that will eventually cost them their job. But that is fine, once they are unemployed they too can go to work for Walmart at minimum wage and collect welfare and Medicaid to support their family while continuing to shop at Walmart because they now have no financial choice.
So true. I wish the general public could understand this but some how they just cannot grip it. Most look for the cheapest price no matter what. They think only of today. My father worked a union job most of his life. I was discussing the Oreo cookie thing with him the other day and told him I would never buy another Oreo cookie. His reply was "I don't care, I like Oreos and I will keep buying them". Hard for me to understand especially from someone who worked in a factory all his life. I think it comes down to I am thinking only of me and only today.
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Old 07-19-2016, 12:58 PM   #37
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Sears, Walmart and others have optical departments. The business world is a tough environment.
Interestingly, while we saw a small downturn in our practice when Walmart opened, it came back up in two years as patients returned to us. One thing that Walmart hasn't figured out, at least in the optical arena, is that eyecare is difficult to commoditize. Service will still win out over price in some sectors.
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Old 07-19-2016, 02:02 PM   #38
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Unfortunately, the marketplace just is as it is. Doesn't have to be right. Doesn't have to be fair. Ultimately, to fail to recognize what is going on and the changes is death. Walmart right now is doing all they can to step up their online sales. Did they wait too long? There are products that aren't conducive to online sales. Then there's service and there are service industries. I never thought the percentage of cars being purchased online would reach the current level. The dealer's defense is to sell online and to service. Certain businesses don't adapt well to online but will the next threat be a mass merchandiser, some big box?

Now, as individuals we can launch our small protests by our actions. However, free enterprise to function well has to be on equal footing and it isn't today. Are we willing to legislate to make it so? Doesn't appear so. We are fine importing from countries paying pennies an hour with no safety or work standards. Fortunately, some states have taken aggressive action to make Amazon collect sales tax but it does point to a huge gap on intrastate sales due to sales tax being only a state item. Countries put large tariffs or VAT on items imported from the US and we put very small on their items. The consumer is making all the decisions and the consumer has consistently shown that price is what matters to them. On the whole, they don't care where it was make, don't care how the workers were treated, don't care about the ethics of the manufacturer, don't care about how the retailer treats it's employees and they oppose any law of any sort that will raise their price at retail, even if opposing those laws means putting many of their neighbors out of work.

As businessmen, we have no choice but to adapt. In some cases that means tremendous change and downsizing. In others, it means a level of service that can't be provided online.

There are two choices.
1-Change the structure and rules. That is not going to happen as much as it might benefit us in the long run. It's human nature to be short sighted.
2-Change how we function within the existing structure and rules. Our only real choice.

Back to chandlery for the moment. Why does Hopcar survive? He provides exceptional service and sells products not readily available online. Also, while he has a sizable inventory, he can get you anything you want quickly. That's the model for a retailer today. He faces new challenges, but I have confidence he'll deal effectively with them.

West Marine is making a serious mistake in my opinion as they give less space to marine accessories and more to clothing. The biggest complaint I hear from people is going there and them not having what they need. Their inventories are greatly reduced so they force you to order it. When you're working on your boat, you're willing to pay a little more to get it immediately with a short drive.

In business, I stubbornly stuck to local office supply stores vs. the big ones. I didn't even require a price match. It was a sizable discount percent across the board for 100% of our business. They gave next day delivery. When I realized how great the relationship was one day was when we had failed to anticipate and needed some more binders that day. We called and we were going to send someone for them. No. The owner showed up 20 minutes later personally delivering them. I couldn't have justified him over the large stores had he insisted on full price or close to it. However, we found a way to make it happen.

Oh, and Walmart's next step has to be....they have no choice, so get on with it people...delivery. Not shipping, but local delivery. Otherwise, Amazon is more convenient.
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Old 07-19-2016, 02:05 PM   #39
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I really don't buy from Amazon for 2 reasons.

1) When I buy online I don't want to pay sales tax
2) When I was in business, I competed with companies that were more interested in market share than making a profit. It's predatory and very hard for legit businesses to deal with.

There are plenty of good firms, in adjacent states, Defender, Hamilton, Jamestown, that do internet, employ real people to talk to, don't have to charge me sales tax, and even have stores if I want to go there.

Sales tax is double taxation, I'd rather give it to UPS or FedX, they earn it.
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Old 07-19-2016, 02:13 PM   #40
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I really don't buy from Amazon for 2 reasons.

1) When I buy online I don't want to pay sales tax
2) When I was in business, I competed with companies that were more interested in market share than making a profit. It's predatory and very hard for legit businesses to deal with.

There are plenty of good firms, in adjacent states, Defender, Hamilton, Jamestown, that do internet, employ real people to talk to, don't have to charge me sales tax, and even have stores if I want to go there.

Sales tax is double taxation, I'd rather give it to UPS or FedX, they earn it.
I'm strongly opposed to internet companies not being required to collect and remit sales tax. That puts our states in a bind, costs us all some other way, and puts them on an uneven footing. And, yes, I do ship out of state and don't collect sales tax because that's not the system. The buyer is supposed to pay use tax but we know they won't.
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