The great offline vs online tussle!
Hey a 50-70% discount online! How come only 5-10%, at your store, really?! How does the online seller give such fab discounts vs the brick and mortar shop? Why not try at Prakrida and buy online at the mind blowing discounts sale? Is he selling fake stuff? Have they changed the MRP tags? Don`t you have more designs, colours and models like yyz website? Why do you need 40% margins to survive when they don`t and look, they are doing so well?
Sure, discounting sounds great to a consumer and there is so much more to the volumes of trade at the on line markets these days. Hurrah, to the industrial revolution. However, is there is a bigger tussle going on behind at off line stores with running unique businesses and on the risks that need to keep you going on or under?
Its like a Champions league final and we do need a VAR system to decide a fair play winner.
Why not try at the store and buy online? The big grey or bald area?
If the goods need to be tried, especially, like in sports goods, this is my sentiment as well, with a bit of research online.The costs make a big difference, if the specifications available are good, the seller is trust worthy and I can wait, I would take the risk of purchase online, considering convenience.
This is the vulnerability that online stores use especially for products which mainly need trial of sizes and feel of the fabric before purchasing. Sports products do need an extent of usage, spend assessment and customer guidance. Even more if the user is inexperienced.
Now imagine, if you had no place to try. How many times are you going to return a new product because of the fit and feel and incorrect utility? Too late if you have used them and realised that they are ineffective or how many times will you buy the same product over the years. This is the key cost factor between the two models of online and offline.
Every other day, there is a new design and shape for football shoes using research and effecting performance with better materials. The length, width, colours, material, sole and utility is different. Would you like to have some inputs by a shoe dog instead at the store? Apparel sizes vary, shin guards vary, compression tees and capris with the stretch fit differently, football stockings is a pain to pull up the kids feet, the poly fabric is too stuffy, the colour looks different in the picture...Someone needs to keep pace with this changing feedback to the manufacturer to evolve.
How many loss making brand outlets needs to be opened for these aspects to be checked out if we fade away? What about the small brands doing good work and want to be visible but dont have the budgets of the hulks? Isn't that going to take up a lot of capital to open such stores or for customers to travel far for them? Isn't this where we all fit the cog of utility, service and earning?
In the scenario of a sports store, the struggle is real and intense to survive in a market that is currently short sighted on this aspect. Especially, if you thrive on merit of the products and supplier. Yes, the short term goal vs the long term goal is seen differently. So much of capital invested, so much of inventory stuck, payments of orders required on time, an unexpected sales pattern, huge marketing costs, taxes, so on. Why do we need to make losses to do good work? Yes, a big survival problem to tackle indeed if we believe our work is worth it.
The tussle of capturing the huge data base, thus converting trade into a macro scale by showing discounting losses as marketing expenses vs the micro set ups who want to be unique, serve the customer more individually and not fray out due business sense. True, push out the redundant.
In between lies the cheater cock!
There are positives and negatives in both models and it is a tight rope especially for the small businesses not to be caught off guard. Else meaning a definite end to the good work ahead as well with almost no chances of recovery from debts and stagnant inventory.
Brands themselves have a big role to choose and play the offline and online strategies themselves. Some brands cheat as they push stores to stock a limited inventory across and attract customers onto their own websites of trust and offer wholesale prices! Stock clearance its called to bridge the wholesale and retail costs! You can have the cake and it eat it too it seems.
Unfortunately, some brands are so large and famous, they ignore the stores who fell out unknowingly as a result. Even the online sales area manager has to hit targets for his performance review, isn't it?
Of course, there are the super smart, disruptive ones, who just prey on others work for years. Then swiftly through others failures, pick up all their success using data mining and analytics. Stock items at a low cost warehouse, no staff or AI or expensive interiors, power bills, and bingo, a fantastic online SEO price to kill his competition!
Unfortunately, these enterprises who have been hit with their unique time tested creativity will never be revived, if they do not keep a pace of this game and survive.The lack of fair play in this competition and grey areas has ensured several enterprises going under.
Prakrida is essentially an offline store currently and chooses it. It has played its sport right for a long time and will do so for the skill of the game and support to its unique sports person. Speciality stores like mine, is the future and support of our country`s young athletes. It needs to understand the merit of the changing requirements and balance it with a supply of commercially viable, quality products by the manufacturers. Hence no need for a VAR referral here, its kept the few and lost a lot!