Smaller Dealers--They should still have a place with Gibson- Gibson needs to support those that helped make them what they are-
Posted 15 July 2010 - 05:58 PM
First off, I want to assure you that I am not against the large super store format, not the internet sales of Gibson Guitars.
I do know of many long time Gibson dealers that are no longer selling Gibson and not because they do not want to-
I understand that your sales staff gets far more bang for the buck when they cater to the big box/large market stores. I also understand that the market is very, very soft at the moment and Gibson and the "F" brand seem to have put all of their eggs in one basket.
I live in small town America and we have a locally owned music store that was a Gibson and Brand "F" dealer for over 30 years-Today they do not sell either brand because they couldn't meet their minimum dealer requirements-I do not have a problem with any manufacturer requiring their retailers to make a good faith offering/effort when it comes to stock on hand and yearly purchases BUT - When the market changes in such a drastic was as it has the past 10 years, with huge internet retailers and big box stores, the dealers do have to learn to adjust their tactics but odds are, most non big box stores are struggling to stay open because a few major brands are making what I would consider unreasonable demands upon them and their capitol.
I know and have seen both sides of this issue but I believe giving up on your small dealer network could be a grave mistake, especially if a couple of the big box stores (that have been showing signs of severe weakness) were to cease to exist. This would be the worst case scenario for Gibson and your customers--The big dogs are out of the picture and the little dogs are no longer part of the Gibson Team-
I have given this a lot of thought because I was considering buying a small mom and pop shop a few years ago and with the way things looked in their books, it was a a catch 22 situation--I needed to add a couple of high profile brand names but couldn't draw the numbers needed to sustain dealer status at the time-It would have taken at least 5 years to pull the sort of numbers that were needed to stock the big two--Do you see the problem here?
I would have loved to have started my own family owned music shop and I know I could have been successful, but not without the major brands I wanted to sell.
I have some ideas I would be glad to throw your way via PM..
Thanks for your time--
- Mark Twain's Notebook
Posted 15 July 2010 - 10:09 PM
2007 Schecter C1+ with Custom Pickups (Bridge: Seymour Duncan Dimebucker; Neck: Seymour Duncan Jazz Model)
Squier Custom Shop Deryck Whibley Telecaster
Posted 15 July 2010 - 10:11 PM
Posted 16 July 2010 - 06:15 AM
1971 SG Standard Lyre Maestro tremolo, Cherry, original patent number sticker humbuckers
1983 Corvus, old gold, 3 single coil pups with 5 way selector switch
1997 Blueshawk, red/gold hardware,2 blues 90 pups with rotary vary sound selector
1998 Blueshawk, black/gold hardware, 2 blues 90 pups with rotary vary sound selector
2006 LP VM GFC Franken Paul project guitar, work in progress
2006 Johnny A custom, 57 Classic pups
2007 JP EDS 1275, Jimmy Page pups
2007 LP classic Heritage Cherry Sunburst, 496R and 500T ceramic humbucker pups
2007 LP Robot Guitar 1st edition, 490R and 498T pups
2007 LP Custom black/gold hardware, 490R and 498T pups
2008 ES 339 Heritage Burst, 57 classic pups
2008 Alhambra Auditorium Luthier Hand painted one of a kind...
2008 Takamine EG 440 SC
2009 Ibanez PF 15 ECE
Posted 16 July 2010 - 06:37 AM
Posted 16 July 2010 - 08:34 AM
You cannot order direct from Gibson on the internet.
"eBay" is not an appropriate alternative to local availability. I'm not concerned with buying a fake guitar - I've yet to see a counterfeit with anything short of a dozen glaring signs of being fake (and SN means nothing when it comes to authenticity). I don't just buy pretty guitars - I buy guitars that play well, and a neck profile that is comfortable for me, and sound great. None of this can be done over eBay.
Therefore, my comments regarding the importance of keeping the Gibson name in local shops still applies.
Posted 16 July 2010 - 08:44 AM
Posted 16 July 2010 - 09:17 AM
I'll take the job Dave!
Posted 16 July 2010 - 09:58 AM
Recently several small shops in Gainesville closed up while Best Buy opened up a music instrument section. Fortunately, my son's guitarist runs the shop so you have expert advice and good quality new and used equipment. Not every big box retailer will do that. Plus the management has agreed to do a small sponsorship with his band. Imagine that!
Henry, get rid of the MDR for small town America, get rid of the marketing staff that speaks in numbers and territory, stand up to the big retailers, and let a country girl with the great pipes experience the elegance of a Gibson in her hometown or nearby without having to drive into a big city or settling for something ordinary.
Posted 16 July 2010 - 03:51 PM
Posted 16 July 2010 - 08:27 PM
Nobody, but nobody laments the loss of the "small town shop" and the rise of the "big box stores" much more than I.
But if you're a manufacturer, you're in a different situation. You can't ignore realities of how to sell product, keep your people working and keep paychecks from bouncing.
The problem is ensuring that, whatever your wholesale and retail pipeline, it doesn't get jammed with too much product or credit and that cash flow is maintained. You don't want to be too beholden to any single supplier or wholesale/retail pipeline, either, because the question at that point becomes almost one of who owns whom.
If you deny the big box guys, they have sufficient power to make your life miserable; if you give them too much, they hold an even greater sword over your head.
The little guy? Well, I reeeeally hate to say this, but I think I have a good parallel. I've had friends get out of the firearms business because, good gunsmiths and business people as they were, they couldn't take being called criminal profiteers because the same Winchester or Remington at WXXXXXt cost less than they could buy it wholesale. The wholesaler didn't like it either, but the additional costs of selling three or four pieces vs. three or four hundred or thousand pieces made the difference.
So... now try to find a good gunsmith or a good luthier compared to 1965. The products are just as good, but the retail and local "customer service" is in a different world, like it or not. I don't like it either, but if you're a manufacturer, do you recognize reality and walk a tightrope, or run yourself bankrupt?
It's a difficult situation where there's no way to really "win." @#$%#@$%
Posted 17 July 2010 - 12:42 AM
Martin is doing similar marketing moves, demanding that dealers buy stuff no one will buy, like composite guitars with camouflage finish or skulls and cross bones painted on them, it seems that the corporate marketing "know it all's" are forcing everyone to buy their mistakes to cover their butts...
Here's an idea, make guitars that people want, allow dealers to order what they can afford to stock their stores with, it's not like they will put GC out of business, it's called competition, it used to be very popular in this once capitalist nation. Now there is no choice other then what the purchasing agent from GC decides I should buy..
Posted 17 July 2010 - 04:51 AM
But isn't this the crux of the problem?
I guess the question is why is the stock sitting on shelves. If it's because people's purchasing habits are changing and more purchases happen on-line or at big chains then that has to be considered.
OTOH, if it's because the dealer had to buy 3x more inventory than they wanted last year and 2/3 of it is still unsold then that's a different matter.
I can tell you that 20+ years ago I don't remember Gibson (or Fender for that matter) being sold in Mom & Pop shops. There was no GC in NYC at the time but the Sam Ash on Queens Blvd was the nearest place to go to check out big-name brands. Big regional shops like Focus II Guitar Centers and some bigger shops in the Tri-State area carried them but not your average neighborhood music store.
Posted 17 July 2010 - 08:05 AM
My preferred dealer had GC in his portfolio evern since. Since '86, I got my first 3 GCs from him. But he had to take the Grand ol' Brand out of his stock - for minimum order requirements.
When I was looking for a SG to buy, I did what's probably todays most people choice would be: going online and look for the product at the best price. I finally bought it from a big store in Cologne (in the middle of Germany, I'm living south). So I first saw my SG when the postman rang.
To me it wasn't a problem, as I exactly knew what I wanted and there was no risk in payment, thanks to Paypal.
- In this scenario there is no need to think about new models, as the chance to check 'em out at a local store is more and more declining. (at least as for the rural areas and smaller towns)
- Prices will decline even more, as a big store (e.g. Thoman in Germany, Europe's largest online store) can set their price by ordering extraordinary numbers
- Service issues comes more and more down to Gibson directly, as the dealer you purchased your guitar from is far away (think about the banned guy, refusing to send his GC via parcel service; BTW: I would strongly refuse to send my guitar via parcel service either!)
- you have to keep this forum alive as you loose the close contact to us customers and our demands through your local dealer network
I would have bought my SG at my preferred dealer even at a higher price, but Gibsons marketing strategy forced me out of his store into the internet. There is not too much good stuff in this story.
Bottom line: I just can agree with some of the other poster in here: think over your selling strategy and make GC available for testing, playing, smelling, feeling to (almost) everybody in a reasonable distance. Otherwise Gibson may end up selling "historical" guitars at low price in online stores and big warehouses ... <shudder>
PS: @Kerosene: I don't know if the liaison GC/Marshall was made in Heaven or Hell, but I do know it can't be from this world ... (playing a 2555 Limited Full Stack from '86, the grey Jubelee Series)
PPS: @Ed Kellerman: was that Manny's in 42nd street? I think I've been there in '91 when I was in NYC. I just loved that shop!
Posted 17 July 2010 - 02:01 PM
I think this is a good idea.
Posted 17 July 2010 - 03:59 PM
If the "F" brand can still support a variety of business models, why can't Gibson?
Or, is it the case that we are going to see the "F" brand being forced to move away too?
I'd like to assure Gibson, that even rank amateurs like myself (and please feel free to use "rank" in all senses of the word), do like to buy guitars based on how they feel. I bought my Gibsons because I like the feel, tone, etc., and they make me sound slightly more able to play than other guitars I've tried: I fell in love with the guitars individually and discretely, not the brand, etc., and after trying many others.
Posted 18 July 2010 - 10:07 AM
The reason that small dealers are dying is because consumers will not support them. In a free economy, it is you the fan and the customer who gets to choose by spending your hard earned money. If you spend your money at small dealers, I can guarantee Gibson and everyone else in the industry will be there. The fact is, as a group, you do not spend your money there.
There is not a single consumer who does not look at Thoman's catalog offerings in Europe. His prices are incredibly aggressive, the service is exceptional and he has a 500,000 square foot distribution center that ships product to most consumers within 24 hours. He has millions invested in inventory.
He is an aggressive and competent business man who is able to make a profit even though his prices are very low (very low profit margins). No small shop in Europe can stay in business at his very competitive prices, and so where do consumers buy?
Since I have been in this industry, I have found it to be the most price oriented business in the world. Every guitar player seeks out the lowest priced product, and then goes to the local shop and says, "Sell me your guitar at this price or I will walk". These small shop owners gets dozens of calls every day from people shopping price. If they put their inventory online, the situation gets even worse as guitar players will shop the world and hammer the poor small business person. Come on guys, who is going to tell me they know a player that paid more of a guitar because of a relationship. Yes it happens, but not enough to support a small shop. People do not as a rule pay more regardless. I don't think they should have too. I think the fan is always right, and we are there to service our valuable fan. And the best way to get a lower price on a product is to buy from an aggressive merchant that does high volume and probably has only so-so service.
Look at other industries. Look at consumer electronics. How many small stores are left. Where do you buy a big screen TV: Best Buy, Dixon's, Amazon or Joe's TV Shop? Why is Walmart the largest retailer in the world, because they charge higher prices, and have a more limited selection?
Brands and companies react to what consumers want. That is the only way we can succeed. My sin is that I have studied other industries and have gone to where consumers are going before other brands and companies in this industry. I have used strategies and tactics that allowed brands and companies to thrive, and ruined companies that did not adopt them. The sin is to give to consumers what they really want based on their buying behavior.
People bring up stores like Centre City Music, and Gruhn's as small merchants. They may have smaller stores, but they are some of the largest volume dealers in the country and they are extremely aggressive in pricing as is the great store in Cologne which is building a new distribution warehouse with thousands of square feet.
We do our share to support those retailers that have a good customer base. We have Business Development Managers that help them with annual business plans, District Product Specialists that travel to the store and help with training and merchandising, Relationship managers that provide direct line account support, and an extensive 24 hour computerized systems allowing account management. We give smaller dealers significantly better credit terms than large dealer because the smaller guys have a harder time with financing. The average store turns a guitar 4 times a year (Thomann probably 20 times a year) and we extend 90 day terms meaning we fully finance the independent store site. This cost $$$$ money. We cannot support a single store visit that can easily run $1000 when the store sells 10 of our instruments a year, let alone the rich support each of our retailers get.
While you may complain about the demise of small local retailers, it is not the brands and companies that are killing them. It is the price driven consumer. It has happened in every industry, and it is now happening in ours. I think, the consumer and fan are always right.