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drninja


Sep 16, 2010, 8:50 AM
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Training Equipment Store?
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Hi all,

I want to get RC.com's feedback on an idea. I've been using the forum as an info resource for a while, and I know a lot of you guys are super smart and dedicated climbers. I'd really appreciate any input you guys have.

I'm considering opening an online store selling climbing training supplies (holds, finger boards, DVDs, etc). A few months ago I wanted to buy some training stuff and had a tough time finding a store that had everything I wanted. What I want to create is a store that sells climbing holds, training boards, and other training equipment from a lot of different manufacturers. I also want to provide customers with a large amount of information on training sciences and methodologies. My goal is to make it easy for climbers to find training equipment and information.

I've talked to my climbing buddies, but I really want to get the input of everyone on RC.com.


My questions are:

What value could we offer that would make my store stand out to YOU?
What problems have you had buying these types of products in the past, and what would have solved them?
What other climbing products (training or otherwise) have you had trouble finding or would you suggest we carry?


Thanks! Sorry if this is vague. I'm still brainstorming. Blush


spikeddem


Sep 16, 2010, 10:27 AM
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Re: [drninja] Training Equipment Store? [In reply to]
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Hmm. I haven't ever had any issue finding anything.

Really the only thing that a place such as gearexpress.com doesn't have is The Self Coached Climber. On the other hand, retail for The SCC is about $35.00, but I can get it off Amazon for $23 (new).

Finding holds and hangboards is a total non-issue.

In reply to:
What value could we offer that would make my store stand out to YOU?

Umm, free shipping on every order no matter the size? Something tells me there is a reason that other sites don't do this except for special sales weeks and whatnot.

The one value I can picture is shipping to places that have a much more limited number of options than we do in the states. It's somewhat common to hear people in some other countries lament that they don't have access to some good or prices that we do in the States. I know nothing about legal issues regarding sending packages as a business to other countries though...kinda sounds like the same issue above (why aren't other companies already doing it?).

In reply to:
What problems have you had buying these types of products in the past, and what would have solved them?

Hmm. None. Seems to me the idea of a "one stop shop" is obsolete when it comes to the internet. The only time it isn't, is if someone wants combined shipping. Even then, considering a potential customer is buying holds, training boards, training guides, etc, I imagine that their order would be over the common $50-gets-free-shipping deals (or similar) that many websites have.

In reply to:
What other climbing products (training or otherwise) have you had trouble finding or would you suggest we carry?

Never had an issue finding a climbing product.


acorneau


Sep 16, 2010, 10:33 AM
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Re: [drninja] Training Equipment Store? [In reply to]
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Dr. Ninja,

I applaud your interest, enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit.

I am not your target audience, because like many others I don't train for climbing, I just climb.

However, if I were into training I would want a business/web site that focused on...

Products like hang-boards, rock rings and campus strips. There are plenty of websites that focus on hand holds and you would be needlessly repeating that work.

Training-specific materials like The Rock Warriors Way and The Self-Coached Climber, various work-out routines, nutrition, etc.

Maybe articles on complimentary activities like yoga, pilates, running, weight training, etc.


Sorry if I'm no help, but good luck with your endeavor.


spikeddem


Sep 16, 2010, 10:40 AM
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Re: [acorneau] Training Equipment Store? [In reply to]
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Acorneau makes a good point that I hadn't considered in my post. How much original content will you be having?

Perhaps having a forum dedicated to training would help bring people in (and cash through advertisements). People could have training logs and whatnot.


rmsusa


Sep 17, 2010, 9:02 AM
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Re: [drninja] Training Equipment Store? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
What I want to create is a store that sells climbing holds, training boards, and other training equipment from a lot of different manufacturers. I also want to provide customers with a large amount of information on training sciences and methodologies.

I like the idea, but wonder if climbing is a big enough market to support the operation. Focus could be widened to other types of training like yoga, weights, running & bike?

There are lots of physical stores that sell all kinds of gym equipment and seem to do OK. Most of them don't have the information aspect and that really appeals to me, personally. The climbing stuff could exist alongside yoga mats, metronomes for running, weight gloves, dumbbells, wrist GPS, etc. and make the store unique to people. It would be a big deal to have ALL the scientific (and otherwise) training literature. I think that would get you some good sales.

Have you been to active.com? They don't sell stuff but the information and community aspect is great.

PS - I sell internationally. The only way it works is wholesale. Don't expect anything from that direction.


(This post was edited by rmsusa on Sep 17, 2010, 9:03 AM)


olderic


Sep 17, 2010, 9:12 AM
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Re: [drninja] Training Equipment Store? [In reply to]
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You're never ever going to make any $$$ dealing with hardcore technical gear. The only way you will make any $$$ is via clothing. This cycle repeats itself over and over in sport after sport in store after store (either virtiual or brick and morter).


drninja


Sep 17, 2010, 9:54 AM
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Re: [olderic] Training Equipment Store? [In reply to]
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Wow, I'm really surprised at how helpful all your responses have been. I'll try to address everyone below.

In reply to:
Seems to me the idea of a "one stop shop" is obsolete when it comes to the internet. The only time it isn't, is if someone wants combined shipping. Even then, considering a potential customer is buying holds, training boards, training guides, etc, I imagine that their order would be over the common $50-gets-free-shipping deals (or similar) that many websites have.

Interesting point, and I agree for the most part. The internet itself is a one-stop shop. For me, the advantage is combining shipping (save $), saving time by not placing multiple orders at different sites, and getting my stuff at the same time. Also, making it easier for people to find and compare products.

I think there are a ton of creative ways to add a lot of value for customers. Look at Zappos. Everything they sell is a dime a dozen, they don't have the lowest prices, but people buy from them like crazy.


In reply to:
Umm, free shipping on every order no matter the size? Something tells me there is a reason that other sites don't do this except for special sales weeks and whatnot.

The reason is because a lot of this stuff is expensive to ship (heavy, big), and most retail companies have to pay their fulfillment house a lot of money to store and ship product.


In reply to:
Products like hang-boards, rock rings and campus strips. There are plenty of websites that focus on hand holds and you would be needlessly repeating that work.

Thanks for the reply. I am more interested in the training side as well. I'm not sure there's much money in holds unless you are selling to commercial gyms and moving a large quantity.


In reply to:
I like the idea, but wonder if climbing is a big enough market to support the operation. Focus could be widened to other types of training like yoga, weights, running & bike?

PM'd you. Market size is my #1 concern. That's why I'm here getting everyone's insight. But broadening the focus requires a much larger inventory, startup costs, etc.


In reply to:
You're never ever going to make any $$$ dealing with hardcore technical gear. The only way you will make any $$$ is via clothing.

Would you mind expanding on this? It's really interesting that you say this. Any insights as to why clothing is so much more profitable than technical gear?


Thanks again for all the replies! Looking forward to hearing some more.


gmggg


Sep 17, 2010, 9:58 AM
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Re: [drninja] Training Equipment Store? [In reply to]
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drninja wrote:
In reply to:
You're never ever going to make any $$$ dealing with hardcore technical gear. The only way you will make any $$$ is via clothing.

Would you mind expanding on this? It's really interesting that you say this. Any insights as to why clothing is so much more profitable than technical gear?


Thanks again for all the replies! Looking forward to hearing some more.

It's just a numbers thing.

1.)The margins on clothing can be up to double that of larger equipment. Most clothing is at a 50% margin, hard goods are anywhere from 35-25%

2.)In general clothing is cheaper and more readily replaced/supplemented than gear.

There's a reason you see last years clothing at 50-60% discounts and a great gear discount is 20%.


olderic


Sep 17, 2010, 10:21 AM
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Re: [gmggg] Training Equipment Store? [In reply to]
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gmggg wrote:
drninja wrote:
In reply to:
You're never ever going to make any $$$ dealing with hardcore technical gear. The only way you will make any $$$ is via clothing.

Would you mind expanding on this? It's really interesting that you say this. Any insights as to why clothing is so much more profitable than technical gear?


Thanks again for all the replies! Looking forward to hearing some more.

It's just a numbers thing.

1.)The margins on clothing can be up to double that of larger equipment. Most clothing is at a 50% margin, hard goods are anywhere from 35-25%

2.)In general clothing is cheaper and more readily replaced/supplemented than gear.

There's a reason you see last years clothing at 50-60% discounts and a great gear discount is 20%.

margin is part if it but a bigger part is you have a much bigger audience interested id looking the part as opposed to playing the part. And even the players are more likely to bug clothing repeatably and on a whim.

A lot of big players - Eddie Bauer LL Bean, REI and so on - started out dealing primarily in serious technical gear. Not any more. Same thing has been repeated by many small players. I personally have known a lot of enthusiastic stater-uppers who have started up a climbing, biking, skiing, running, blading, etc. - business for serious athletes. Can't make a go of it without diversifying. For all his creativity, ingenuity, talent and drive - do you think that YC would be where he is today - do you think that the GPIW would have evolved into BD - if it wasn't for Patagonia?


gmggg


Sep 17, 2010, 12:55 PM
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Re: [olderic] Training Equipment Store? [In reply to]
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olderic wrote:
gmggg wrote:
drninja wrote:
In reply to:
You're never ever going to make any $$$ dealing with hardcore technical gear. The only way you will make any $$$ is via clothing.

Would you mind expanding on this? It's really interesting that you say this. Any insights as to why clothing is so much more profitable than technical gear?


Thanks again for all the replies! Looking forward to hearing some more.

It's just a numbers thing.

1.)The margins on clothing can be up to double that of larger equipment. Most clothing is at a 50% margin, hard goods are anywhere from 35-25%

2.)In general clothing is cheaper and more readily replaced/supplemented than gear.

There's a reason you see last years clothing at 50-60% discounts and a great gear discount is 20%.

margin is part if it but a bigger part is you have a much bigger audience interested id looking the part as opposed to playing the part. And even the players are more likely to bug clothing repeatably and on a whim.

A lot of big players - Eddie Bauer LL Bean, REI and so on - started out dealing primarily in serious technical gear. Not any more. Same thing has been repeated by many small players. I personally have known a lot of enthusiastic stater-uppers who have started up a climbing, biking, skiing, running, blading, etc. - business for serious athletes. Can't make a go of it without diversifying. For all his creativity, ingenuity, talent and drive - do you think that YC would be where he is today - do you think that the GPIW would have evolved into BD - if it wasn't for Patagonia?

That's what #2 says! And the concept is true across virtually all industries from sports teams to auto companies.


drninja


Sep 22, 2010, 8:20 AM
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Re: [olderic] Training Equipment Store? [In reply to]
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That's interesting. I hadn't thought of the clothing margins before. FYI, the tech equipment manufacturers I've talked to average about a 40% margin. The good news is that selling clothing is fairly easy to get into.

I really appreciate all the input. Anybody have any more thoughts? Thanks!


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