Oakley and Online

Im no longer selling Oakleys in my store. I’ve been a Oakley dealer for 9 years now and every year they get harder and harder to sell.

First off, they are the best. By far. No comparison. I would be hard pressed to wear anything else. Second off, they are the most expensive. Very pricey and not worth it to many but not me. I notice the difference between them and a cheaper sunglass.

So then why ditch them? Like everything else these days its the internet sales that take away the brick and mortar stores sales. And thats not exclusive to Oakley. But is much easier to do with sunglasses. Easy to ship. Sizing not that big a deal.

Why am I thinking of this now? I just bought two pair online for less than I paid as a dealer.

I just bought these Jawbreakers.

These glasses would have costed me $115 dollars as a dealer, retail for over $200. Its no wonder I could not sell a lot of these. Im sure the color is discontinued or something but so what. It’s hard to figure out how much sales my store loses to online. I can tell you its almost 100% of Shimano and Oakley (last year). You can buy Shimano at or below dealer cost in the UK. With a day or two shipping. More on this later.

A couple weeks ago I was up in Marquette and was hiking up Sugerloaf Mountain. I put my Oakley Carbon Blades ($400 retail) up on my hat and a half hour later they were gone. Fell off my head at some point. I hiked back a bit but no go. There was a ton of people hiking there and Im sure one of them scored a pair of nice Oakleys. I  was upset but nothing I could do so I moved on.

So then after I bought the Jawbreakers I went back to the site and bought these too.

Retail for $210. I paid $89 with Prizm polarized lens no less. Again, Im sure they are a discontinued item. But nice glasses for sure.

So this is what stores like mine put up with. I can’t compete with that. One would say: Why dont you just put your stuff online too? I could, but no way could I compete with those prices. I would pay more for the glasses than they are selling off these sites. So no, can’t do it.

Back to Shimano, I can, and have, bought Shimano parts off one of these websites for my store. How can they sell it cheaper to me than Shimano themselves can sell it to me? Here’s how.

Let’s say you’re a bike company in the UK. Doesn’t matter what country over there. Let’s say you build 1000 bikes a year and get a cut from Shimano parts for volume. Thats fair I guess. Let’s say Shimano gives you yet another price break at 2000 groups. They buy 2000 groups, use 1000 for their builds and sell off the other 1000 groups to a internet warehouse for a good profit. They get the stuff even cheaper AND get an extra revenue stream with the extra parts. For them its a win\win. For us its a loss.

And thats how parts are sold cheaper than bike stores can buy it. There are many companies working hard to stop that with their product. Sram is one. They do not allow any UK online company to sell to the US. Of course some stuff sneaks thru.

Bike stores as we know it have to change with the times. You have to assume your parts sales will decrease more and more in time. The sooner you make changes to accomodate that the better off you are. I am making changes.

And this is not just the bike industry. Store like Gander Mountain and other huge retail chains are dying by the month. Either you change the way to do business or die a slow fiscal death. So what’s it going to be?


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