- This is an article from Bicycle Retailer about companies becoming increasingly pushy towards dealers regarding what requirements they have to meet, or other brands they're not allowed to sell, to receive incentives or even to be a dealer at all.
“This is the first time they said you have to drop Giro shoes if you want us to take your preseason order,” Mirabal said.Now I understand that this is business, and that's just how things go when brands are established enough that they need to/are able to start throwing their weight around in an attempt to maximize market share and whatnot, but this is also what really troubles me about the seemingly growing move towards concept stores. Selection is good, and even better than selection is knowing that a shop stocks certain products because they believe in those products, not because they have to dedicate a certain percentage of their resources to Brand X. Bikes are such a personal thing, and there are so many variations out on the market, that I can't imagine working at a shop where a third party has to sign off on any other brand the shop might want to carry, as is described in the article.
Though Mirabal said his store only sold a handful of Giro shoes, he decided to part ways with Specialized, which he had carried since the late ’90s and was the exclusive dealer for in the Tampa region for a long time.
“When it’s all said and done, we have to be the independent retailer we are,” he said. “We’re not a concept store. We did over $200,000 with them. How they could literally screw it up over a few pair of shoes makes no sense.”
This type of thing is one of the many reasons that IBDs are increasingly losing out to the internet. One of the biggest assets of a good IBD compared to the internet is the ability to walk through the door and have a real conversation with someone who knows what they're talking about in a real, practical, hands-on sense, with a knowledge base covering a wide range of brands and products, and can genuinely advise you on what you need to suit your requirements. When a customer walks through the door and sees Brand X monopolizing the whole space, they're not going to be as likely to fully trust those recommendations, or at least I know I wouldn't be.
Anyway, I have a ton of respect for Carlos Mirabal for walking away from Specialized instead of compromising and letting them force him to drop an inferior-selling brand. Who knows, maybe it wasn't the right decision from an immediate business standpoint, but integrity is important.