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Old 08-24-2014   #11
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1492
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 283
No retail dealer = no demos = fewer sales.

Not sure how this will all shake out in larger population areas, but here in Jackson, if the shop stops carrying a boat line and making demos available, the boats pretty much disappear from the local paddling population (that happened here when Rendezvous stopped carrying Pyranha). LiquidLogic's whitewater line is shrinking anyway (no new playboats, creekboats, and only the Stinger as something "new?"), but if you can't look at, sit in, compare and PADDLE a boat before you buy it, are you really going to just send $1,200.00+ straight to the manufacturer and wait for your new boat? Or are you going to buy a boat from the shop that took the time and effort to bring in demo boats and take the losses that come from keeping a full demo/rental fleet for you to try... hmmm.

I for one will NEVER again buy a new boat that I haven't demo'ed at least once in the type of water in which it was meant to be paddled. Made that mistake one time, and regretted it thoroughly (and is it happens, that was a LiquidLogic boat, the Gus).

We don't see any Fluid kayaks around here, and very few Pyranhas anymore. If LL goes direct-to-consumer, it will only be a matter of time before all we see will be Jackson, Dagger, and WaveSport. The ability to "try before you buy" is crucial to sales numbers, customer satisfaction, and in my opinion, well worth paying the boat shop their percentage for providing a substantial demo fleet to enjoy and compare designs almost at will. Regional "demo weekends" put on by traveling factory reps will not be able to make up for the loss of demo boats provided by your local shop. I predict that LL stops making whitewater boats within the next 3 years after going direct-to-consumer. Sad.

So many rivers, so little time..........
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Old 08-24-2014   #12
duct tape's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1974
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 636
I like going to the shops, looking at the gear, asking a lot of (probably annoying) questions. Trying stuff on and demoing. I've gotten great advice and gear from lots of people, including Bobby at CKS, Matti at Ten Mile, Ron and Kurt at Riverboat Works, and the folks at Confluence, DRE, and AAA. Here's hoping they remain open and successful.

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Old 08-24-2014   #13
Westminster, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 286
I think it is a good thing for retailers and consumers that LL did go direct sale. It was just a matter of time before retailers started dropping the LL product anyway. Earlier this year I had heard that LL almost doubled their shipping to the retail stores. I can think of at least one store that was going to cancel all their orders for the year. The rep stepped up and was offering to pick them up and deliver them to the store himself. I would think this is a bigger hit to the reps who make money off getting products in to the stores. I imagine their role would/should transfer more in to a public role. The Reps and team paddlers will need to be at more events getting people in to their boats. Having demos, paddle with the pros, etc. Sure, shops will miss out on selling a few whitewater boats a year. At the end of the day there are not many people who pay retail for a kayak. Even when they go to the shop some kind of deal is worked out. The shops make more money selling the accessories than boats.
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Old 08-24-2014   #14
Lotus, California
Paddling Since: 2014
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 6
I totally agree with WyoPdlr1. I would not buy a boat that I could not try out first. I have been talking to our local dealer about a new LL boat. The shipping costs are around $400! Made the choice buying a demo boat vs a new boat a no brainer.

As far as online buying vs the local dealer goes, I will always support the local dealer. Our local dealer (River Store, Lotus CA) is huge on promoting the sport and provides the best customer service in the area. You can read online all you want but when you want expert advice that you can depend on the local dealer provides it.
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Old 08-24-2014   #15
one legged wonder's Avatar
Ouray & Buena Vista & Winter Park, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 292
Originally Posted by bobbuilds View Post
Well, if that is the case the shipping should be included in the price, or the price should come down on the boat.

LL and or anyone had mark up on their product so they made a profit and the shop made a profit. margins are from 35%-50% depending on what the shop buys, and at what time etc...

I am not going to try to tell how it all works, I only want people to be aware that MSRP to the MFG is a large increase in PROFIT to the MFG there for we should see a decrease in price, free shipping or something to offset what the Dealers were making.

If they sell direct at $1,000+ and make the custy pay shipping, you/we are now getting jacked.

I boat Jackson Kayak, their boats coast 1200$ but I get every dollar of that in use or other before the boat is done.

I dont and wolud never paddle dagger/WS because it is impossible to get a warranty from them, and if you do its a hull you put together or they want 600$ or something nutty like that.

At least LL had and has the 2nd best in the states at least, and we will have to see how it all plays out.

My point is when it all goes to the MFG, alot of good can come from that, if they put the money back into the CO. I have asked Jackson to sell direct for years, why they wouldn't want the extra mark up is beyond me, and they have the strictest dealer policys to protect the dealer.

It is up to the dealer to be good and knowledgeable to the customer, and to get the demos, bring in the hard sells etc... that keep a dealer great.

Matti at Ten Mile is a GREAT example, he is always fired up, on top of the latest gear and happ's. This guy knows and loves whitewater, he brings in all the hardest to find products and goes wayyyy beyond for his customers.

I agree, that is what it takes.
Hey Bob. I just wanted to give a shout out to WS/dagger. Ive seen at a bunch of killer warrantys through them this season. we had one come through the store where the customer had a brand new boat with in a week. they have been killing it this season.... and the mark up on kayaks isnt near as big as you think it is.
!*!*!*!*!*Heidi Jo*!*!*!*!*!!
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Old 08-24-2014   #16
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1492
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 283
Originally Posted by one legged wonder View Post
Hey Bob. I just wanted to give a shout out to WS/dagger. Ive seen at a bunch of killer warrantys through them this season. we had one come through the store where the customer had a brand new boat with in a week. they have been killing it this season.... and the mark up on kayaks isnt near as big as you think it is.
I'd have to agree with onelegged on this one. I've paddled Dagger for many years (3 Nomads) and never had anything but great experiences when it came to any kind of warranty issue, whether it was dealing directly with Dagger online or through the local shop (Another solid reason to hope boats keep being sold through local shops: readily available spare parts for small problems like outfitting breaking or going missing because it was loose).

No factory wants to deal with each and every individual paddler for every tiny little problem. That is what retailers and reps are for. When you sell directly to the customer online, you have to become the "clearing house" for every tiny little problem from every slightly grumpy paddler. Local retailers and traveling reps work awful damn hard to earn the small percentage they get on each boat sold. Margins are slim for the extra service they provide.
So many rivers, so little time..........
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Old 08-24-2014   #17
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 302
Personally, I have and would again buy a boat without demo'ing. I would buy online from a brand with no local presence (liquid Logic), but I would also pay up to double the online price for the boat I prefer if it were available only locally (jackson). This goes for pretty much all other paddler gear, I get some on proform and some locally at retail.
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Old 08-24-2014   #18
KSC's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,031
I can relate to almost nothing here.

-Dagger didn't warranty my last boat.
-I've been waiting a month for my current warranty - no idea what they're going to do.
-I never get a discount on the cost of a new boat
-I almost always know way more about boats than the shop employees (though I may be an anomaly).
-If LL can offer boats cheaper and/or provide easier service, then I'm all for the move. They're a well established company with some solid designs and loyal fans.
-I do hope that local shops can find a way to stay in business, but it seems the whitewater industry is so small, most shops don't seem to be able to have the ability to keep enough stock to have what I need to buy when I go in.
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Old 08-25-2014   #19
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 13
A few points to make

-Direct to customer will make the boats cheaper much like GoLite sells all its gear cheaper to comparable models. as bobbuilds said there is no retail mark up.
-Demoing will most likely become more difficult. Especially in the West. If your cool with that than that's awesome
-It is always awesome to support your local kayak shop, They do things like throw festivals and races. They are also huge proponents for you in the WW community especially in dealing with towns and locals for you the kayaker.
- That being said I know that in the Arkansas Valley Kayak shops are doing great. And if SUPs stay cool to the greater non WW public they will continue to do well.
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Old 08-25-2014   #20
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BZN, Montana
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,489
Not all shops are equal. I stopped by from my local Bozeman shop over 2 years ago. I would just as easily purchase directly from LL as I would from CKS online or any number of others e-shops. I agree with all points KSC has.

WyoPadlr1... LL has a new boat coming out now. The stomper is only like 3 years old. Remix is a killer design. Jefe is fazed out. The last relevant freestyle boat they made was the space cadet. They've done just fine selling river runners and creekers. Saying they need newer designs while touting your love for the nomad is extra silly. Classic designs work, but they aren't sitting on their hands either.

The sunshine walked beside her
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