Read it as it will give you the background for most of what needs to be said.
I agree with AB on many points. However, there are a couple that I believe are way off and should be discussed. Enough so, that I have come out of hiding to give you a piece of my twisted mind.
First up, the following,
Maybe this is your fault. Yup. Read that again. It is your fault IBD. I have been working in very healthy retail stores that have shelves of black and blue boxes on hand. The same boxes that are cheaper online. A lot cheaper. I have sold XT brakes all day long as replacements for Elixirs and Juicy's. Why? Not because they are cheaper, but because I have them on hand and have technicians who can install externally routed brakes properly in under an hour, on top of their regular work load. I work in healthy IBD's who can make that sale happen. What about your shop?This. I get this. I run a shop that keeps things in stock. We support our customers and get that people don't want to wait to get things fixed. We used the, "we have it now" line many times. And until recently that wasn't a problem. We sold so many XT brakes in the past couple of years because we had it now and we could install it now and have that customer back out riding in a couple of hours. But when any customer with a smart phone can find the same exact part online with free shipping for $10 cheaper than what I pay for it, it makes it look like I'm price gouging.
Case in point, customer shows up with derailleur no longer attached to bike. Yes, we can fix that and have it back up and running perfectly for you in about 45 minutes. Great. Customer leaves happy, but then realizes that he could have purchased the same XT derailleur online for about 60% under MSRP, which is what we charged. He's now pissed as fuck that "we took advantage of him because he needed it now." Push comes to shove and it is almost impossible for a customer to believe that a dealer, a Shimano Service Center literally pays more for parts than what they can be purchased online. If you are a consumer that believes that, I can guarantee you it is true. Even to the point that many dealers will purchase from online stores to save some money.
The point, it doesn't make any sense whatsoever for us now to keep Shitmano parts in stock. We pay more for them, get screwed by the company making them and then piss off our customers for selling them at MSRP. Which it should be noted means Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price or what Shitmano tells us we should sell them for. You can blame the customer, but really, can you blame the customer? Fuck Shitmano!
The other point is this one, "Shimano is not around to subsidize the local IBD." While yes this is very true the inverse is also true, the local IBD is not around to subsidize Shitmano. Unbeknownst to most consumers, bike shops are in no way compensated for doing warranty work. If you bring me a set of XTR brakes that are leaking from the ceramic pistons like they did for quite some time, and I get you a new set. I'm left with two options. 1 make you pay for me to replace a part that was not your fault that it stopped working or 2 I take it in the ass. Shitmano doesn't care because if I don't charge you it didn't cost them anything. If I do charge you, you are now mad at me, not Shitmano.
Not only are we left holding the bag, but Shitmano encourages this bull shit. If you contact them directly for one of those XT derailleurs that you purchased online for less than I can buy it for because there is something wrong with it, they will send you to me. Now I get to pay my employees to waste their time on a part I didn't sell to process a warranty. So to say that Shitmano is not around to subsidize me is true, but they then need to fucking pay for their warranty process and warranty support.
Sure, shops can charge for processing a warranty but it turns into the same issue. If I charge you for something you feel Shitmano should cover, I become the asshole not Shitmano.
This all begs of what should be done. Shitmano doesn't care and will outright tell you that they don't care so we can't look to them to be part of the solution. And this is a point that I agree with AB on, the IBD must evolve. Push the limits, diversify, move to items and sevices that can't be purchased online, etc. Part of that will be making partnerships with companies that choose to not expect the IBD to subsidize their business. Do I still sell Shitmano's parts? Yup, but now they are tucked away in a cabinet and in the parts room, they get no show room space. I support my customer's and their need for replacement products, but I sure as shit will not be promoting a company that has chosen to not work as a partner.
One thing that needs to be recognized is that while Shitmano makes some of the best products on the market, when they piss off the majority of the people who have been promoting and supporting their products, their sales will be effected. Fuck 'em!