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Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Angry Singlespeeder: Don’t “Showroom” Your Local Bike Shop [MTBR]


Brendan Collier of The Hub Cyclery in Idyllwild, CA works in front of a warm fire.
Editor’s Note: The Angry Singlespeeder is a collection of mercurial musings from contributing editor Kurt Gensheimer. In no way do his maniacal diatribes about all things bike oriented represent the opinions of Mtbr, RoadBikeReview, or any of their employees, contractors, janitorial staff, family members, household pets, or any other creature, living or dead. You can submit questions or comments to Kurt atsinglespeeder@consumerreview.com. And make sure to check out Kurt’s previous columns.
The other day I was at my neighborhood bike shop when I saw this schmucky looking dude trying on some cycling shoes. I too was checking out shoes, but only ones that were on sale because, well, I’m a cheapskate. After trying on three pairs of spendy carbon sole shoes, Schmuck seemed to find a pair he liked. So instead of putting the shoes in the box and walking to the register, he pulled out his smartphone and took a picture of the shoebox.
Considering I still rock a dumb-phone and am clueless about anything related to apps, I asked him what he was doing.
“There’s this cool app that lets me check to see if I can buy these shoes for cheaper online,” said Schmuck. “Yep, here we go. Sweet. I can get these for $75 less on Amazon!”
Schmuck got up, put the shoes back on the rack and walked out the door. For a fleeting second I thought it was a damn good idea for an app, but then I realized something; as much as I think Strava sucks, trying out products at your local bike shop, then using your smartphone to buy it cheaper online is even worse.
What Schmuck was doing is called “showrooming” and it’s become a huge issue for independent bike dealers worldwide. According to marketing research companies Aprimo and Forrester Research, one in five consumers are now showrooming, and one in three leave the store like Schmuck, and then purchase the product from a competitor.
I don’t care if you want to go to Target or some other big box, corporate-owned store worth billions of dollars and showroom a set of cooking pans or a Dutch oven for your wife, but woe to the schmucktard who walks into a local, family-owned bike shop and showrooms.

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