Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Retail Issues 3

In reply to Darren's comment:

If a magazine inspires a person to buy an item of 'lightweight' kit rather than a big and bulky item from the supermarket, then great. It is a simple premise - carry lighter kit, expend less energy per mile, walk further. People can say that lighter kit is nonsense as you just need to exercise more. I see it as a joint approach (hence attacking Bennachie regularly). If you are replacing kit, why not consider the weight and volume as well as cost and performance. Don't just look in the supermarkets or high-street shops, but consider all the options.

Do you find all the kit options in magazines? No, but some are better than others. Magazines have their limitations on reviews, which is why I like the annual gear reviews.

Forums (eg Country Walking/Trail and TGO folk on OutdoorsMagic) allow us access to advice that we have never had. Previously books, clubs or mates would be it. Niche markets exist in many retail sectors, so why is it different for the outdoors? In wargaming, it is mainly a niche market, and the few big players often get slated for their markup and blister-pack approach. This is because some customers feel left marginalised.

Now, there is nothing wrong with businesses making money. A lot of businesses would like the profits that companies like Tescos have, but look how few (inter)national supermarkets there are in comparison to corner shops. Each provides a different service, and each has a different business model. The aim of both is to make money. One achieves customer loyalty mainly through a pricing strategy, another through business location and convenience. Unlike foodstuff, online shops can offer both convenience and pricing strategy, but have different problems (eg not being able to physically try out gear).

That is why a Day Zero event, amongst others, would shake up the UK outdoors market. If the big guys are dominating the market, the niche players need to use their small size to an advantage. The Internet offers a great opportunity for retailers and customers.

I still like escaping to a gear shop on a lunchtime. Especially when the sales are on.


WD said...

I think we will have a fantastic conversation next week on the hill about this.
Let's finish this off there round the camp fire, and let our blogs move on in the interest of our readers.

John Hee said...

Oooooo not a camp fire. That'll get us all in trouble.

Gathered around the BushBuddy just doesn't have the same ring somehow

AktoMan said...

I have no intention of chatting about the future of retailing when we meet up. It'll be exciting things like ... err ... folding sporks and buffs ...

As to fuel. I intend cooking on gas. No-one seemed to support the esbit system on OM. I'm looking forward to seeing the solid fuel stove in action, John.

John Hee said...

Not me matey. I tried solid fuel years ago and that was enough for me then

John Hee said...

Not me matey. I tried solid fuel years ago and that was enough for me then

AktoMan said...

Who's bringing the BushBuddy then? Or is that a double entendre?