Toward the end of last year there was good discussion about the future of the Local Bike Shop in our brave new world of eCommerce. Recently, a small vitamin and supplement manufacturer made the news with their new zero tolerance Internet resale policy that forbids online selling or even disclosing price information.
When this news was mentioned at Threadwatch the other day, several web design experts left comments expressing their unbelief at what they consider a neanderthalic practice. Don't sell online? How can that be?
The opinion piece at Business Week about Standard Products notes that the supplement vendor is taking this hardline stance to protect its brick-and-mortar reseller base. The author, David Gumpert, talks about this approach making his "life more difficult."
This is the same approach used by Trek -- you cannot buy a Trek bicycle online. While Shimano components are available for sale online, Shimano also puts restrictions on online sales to protect their traditional, brick-and-mortar sales channel.
Besides bikes and supplements, what other industries work to keep brick-and-mortar in business?
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Nice post. I can't understand why a company wouldn't want their product to be distributed online. I think that decision will be reversed when they realize how much of the market was alienated because of that decision. I think that it's just a matter of time before Trek figures out some way to make the selling of Trek branded product online work. I think that Shimano's policy is more to protect margins and brand value rather than to protect the local bike shop.