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Saw this on Reddit, so understand the source, but looks to be a legit reply. See lots of change over the next few years with the recent acquisitions and new business models, hope the local shops survive.
 

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I've heard that

I heard that it was due to increased shipping costs and the loss of some market share in WW boats. They have decided to start shipping directly and that might be due to smaller preseason orders. The down side for the consumer is that you will now have to pay the shipping costs that the retailer ate in the past and you won't be able to roll "demo charges" into the purchase price. The good side is that everyone will have the ability to work directly with the manufacture themselves you will now get to give your feedback directly to the builders. Kayak retail might be going the way of the dodo if paddlers don't continue to buy locally all the manufactures might stat selling directly and just doing regional "demo" events each summer.
 

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It is true.....

Yes, Liquidlogic is going direct, how it all shakes out is yet to be seen. As far as the Dodo; perseverance, passion, customer service, instruction, river beta, and of course water will keep the core shops going. Water is the the only uncertainty...

TMCK

Keep the Hairy Side Up...
 

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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.
 

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No Liquid Logic or Native at Summer OR. I got an email the next week explaining that LL was only going direct to consumer.
 

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here is an example:

Fluid sells/sold direct when they had a bunch of less than desirable outfitting in this last batch of boats for 799 w free shipping and made some money, i say some, because at 799 they did not sell many boats.

then they dropped it to 400$ shipped to your door and either broke even, or took a loss after selling out all the boats.

So.....
 

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here is an example:

Fluid sells/sold direct when they had a bunch of bad outfitting in this last batch of boats for 799 w free shipping and made some money, i say some, because at 799 they did not sell many boats.

then they dropped it to 400$ shipped to your door and either broke even, or took a loss after selling out all the boats.

So.....
Fluid did change their approach to selling kayaks NOT because of bad outfitting or other things as suggested BUT because of the issues that arose with stores that carried their boats. In light of that, they switched to an E-Online approach that transferred savings to the public and also kept their profits marginal and maintainable. The reduction is pricing was to liquidate stock. Actually, most models and sizes were liquidated at the higher price. The few remaining sizes that didn't sell were then sold off successfully at a lower price. Fluid is committed to continuing the E-Online Purchasing program and also committed to transferring the savings on the the public. With a new lineup of boats coming out - long, play, creeker - I anticipate that the E-Online approach will be good for all. It's not a surprise that other companies are addressing it and/or adopting it. It makes sense. The only drawback is not having a store to tryout the boat. The solution....have local Team paddlers or Reps that demo the products.

I'm not saying there wasn't an issue with the outfitting...there was...and that's been remedied thankfully.
 

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Fluid did change their approach to selling kayaks NOT because of bad outfitting or other things as suggested BUT because of the issues that arose with stores that carried their boats. In light of that, they switched to an E-Online approach that transferred savings to the public and also kept their profits marginal and maintainable. The reduction is pricing was to liquidate stock. Actually, most models and sizes were liquidated at the higher price. The few remaining sizes that didn't sell were then sold off successfully at a lower price. Fluid is committed to continuing the E-Online Purchasing program and also committed to transferring the savings on the the public. With a new lineup of boats coming out - long, play, creeker - I anticipate that the E-Online approach will be good for all. It's not a surprise that other companies are addressing it and/or adopting it. It makes sense. The only drawback is not having a store to tryout the boat. The solution....have local Team paddlers or Reps that demo the products.

I'm not saying there wasn't an issue with the outfitting...there was...and that's been remedied thankfully.

this is exactly what I meant to say, and I am all for it. I changed my wording to less than desirable, but it was a culprit in the mix. Like you said they fixed it quickly and have an option available for the older boats as well.

Fliud is one of the better MFGS out there. I want to show the price points as my example.
 

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Answers

Here you go... selling less in WW means direct to consumer retail. Playak
 

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GoBro
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Brick and mortar shops are dieing anyways. Why keep filtering through retail shops if everyone is just shopping online for the cheapest price anyways. Totally makes sense. As long as they keep making legit designs that lots of people paddle the opportunity to demo will always be there.

For instance without having to pay a demo fee or store involved I could paddle:

Bazooka (any size)
Remix (69/79)
Stomper (any size)
Jefe (M)
Mamba (L)
Nomad (M/L)
Karma (M/L)
Magnum (80)
Burn III (L)
Recon (L)

Definitely more boats but this is a good sampling of the in production creekers I have easy access to for demo purposes. I can hit a few rocks too which the store wouldn't like on there demo.
 

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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.
 

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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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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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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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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.
 

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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.
 

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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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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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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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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.
 
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