Good or Bad Form when Hawking Discs...

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Good or Bad Form when Hawking Discs...

Postby Jwt4412 » Mon Mar 13, 2006 6:55 am

It's no secret that I have started selling Gateway Discs but I have a question for you...

Over the weekend I did a couple of searches and posted to some bulletin boards like I would do here on my club's board... -

http://www.discgolfclub.org/SDGC_Default.asp

Anyway I got some nice responses from folks in Mid-West, the Mountain States and West Coast, but fellas over on the East Coast took great offense.

My approach is kind of like how discs get sold here in Springfield - out of the trunk of a car or the hatch of a Scion Xb if you are me... We don't have enough players for a full blown Disc Golf Shop to be supported.

The East Coast guy's seem more inclined to purchase from more formal or brick-and-mortar operations...

Anyway, what is good form - or what are the do's and don'ts of selling discs on the internet?

Your opinions would be greatly appreciated. Irritating people makes it hard to sell them things...
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Postby Solty » Mon Mar 13, 2006 7:10 am

I personally do alot of selling out of the back of my Envoy myself. It's easier and people say its alot cheaper/quicker than ordering online. The local stores dont have much of a selection and whatever they do have, is overpriced to say the least. I know i've ordered at a boatload of online stores, and now that i'm an Innova reseller, i like bringing the savings to the local clubs.

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Postby Jwt4412 » Mon Mar 13, 2006 7:20 am

Mike,

I noticed you used the term "reseller".

What does it mean to be an Innova "reseller"?

Thanks for the response by the way.

It is my opinion that there is no way a business plan revolving around golf discs will work, it is just an opportunity to share a common interest with others and maybe get some other bloke out there addicted to it.

I didn't discover Disc Golf until I was 36. Now I play every day that I am not travelling for the "real" job.
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Postby discmonkey42 » Mon Mar 13, 2006 10:41 am

I too, have been looking into selling discs (right now it's just tshirts, hats, stickers, pretty much everything but discs), and am having a hard time. The biggest problem for me is innova. Discraft and Gateway will sell you the discs at volume discounts with no hassles. Innova wants a biz plan, a biz license, etc. I have a small website and do the rest out of my car. Apparently that is not good enough for Innova. As an "innova reseller", what's the deal???

In the end, I'm not sure that I want to start selling discs as it is way too competitive and I'm not trying to step on anyone's toes. I do think, though, that there is plenty of room in the market place for better service and selection. I would love to hear from someone who actually has made a go of it with a brick and mortar store. I think that is the ultimate goal of most of us "trunk slammers", but it really doesn't seem there are enough people around to actually support a store. Blake - you work at a store, what's the scoop???
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Postby Goob The Noob » Mon Mar 13, 2006 4:06 pm

I would guess Innova is trying to protect its biggest customers, the B&M stores, from the "trunk slammers". Innova has the biggest market share so they have the most to lose if the B&M stores start folding up due to sales lost to no-overhead small-time dealers. Gateway and Discraft need market share so want to get their discs in the hands of as many people as possible.
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Postby Mark Brunner » Mon Mar 13, 2006 5:30 pm

Innova is going in a different direction than the rest of the pack. They are pretty much turning their backs on long time customers that do not have a store front. I think their plan is fine and may work down the road but at this time the sport is not big enough to have the majority of people spending the money to Lose money opening a storefront.

I think needing a Tax ID/Sellers permit is legitimate and usually is required if you want to resell merchandise.

Innova will cator prices to Clubs, TD's, and Store fronts...

They view the online market as oversaturated (which is true) and the pricing wars are not good for the sport. The lower the prices get the harder it is for resellers to make a profit and stay in business.
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Postby Jwt4412 » Mon Mar 13, 2006 5:59 pm

They view the online market as oversaturated (which is true) and the pricing wars are not good for the sport. The lower the prices get the harder it is for resellers to make a profit and stay in business.


I agree with this and that is why I try to market the discs at what Gateway says they should retail for and reduce my costs as much as possible for shipping.

That said Gateway cut me a deal on 150-Class elements to market to youth programs and dads who want to introduce disc golf to their kids and I have forwarded the price reduction onto the final consumer.

But an item really should sell for what an item is worth... or there won't be anyone there to sell folks the next disc and the next...
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Re: Good or Bad Form when Hawking Discs...

Postby roadkill » Tue Mar 14, 2006 12:35 pm

[quote, but fellas over on the East Coast took great offense.

The East Coast guy's seem more inclined to purchase from more formal or brick-and-mortar operations...

[/quote]


I'm an East Coast guy. I've been playing for 20 yrs. I've TDed ,sold discs, ran series and local club events and have some observations to share with you.

People who buy from someone at the course tend to do so for various reasons.
- they're brand new to the sport and are unaware of the online resources available
- they're new to the sport and want to learn which discs are right for them. So they fire question after question at the person selling in order to gain some guidance concerning their purchase
- they know what they want but are particuliar about a specific color , weight, how it feels in their hand or other subtle difference that can only be detected with close examination
-impulse buyers that will browse and buy just because you're there
- buyers will buy from you if you have a unique stamp that is not stock (local club, unique artwork or dye,etc)

Personally I buy most of my discs online these days. I generally know what I want and can find good deals on eBay or from some online retailers.

For the most part here in the East Coast it is expected that if you're selling discs, you are doing so in order to raise money for course improvements or to add to the purse of a local or regional event. If it gets out that you're keeping the profits for yourself, no one will buy from you. East coast golfers support those who put the profits back into the sport. Generally those who buy from Sports Authority or Play it Again Sports are newbies and aren't aware of the online resources.

And yes you will never support a brick and mortar store selling only disc related wares. If you want to sell only a niche market product such as discs, you're better off opening an Estore and put the money you save from overhead into website promotion and webmarketing.
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Postby jrc3 » Tue Mar 14, 2006 8:40 pm

I too am an "East Coast guy," and I saw your original post when it went up on the New England based website in question. I've only been playing disc golf for about six months, but I'm registered and post occaisionaly(sp?) on that site and this one, so I'll share my observations on what happened over there.

Before even factoring disc golf, or where any particular group of people prefer to buy discs, into the equation, let's start with the fact that you posted a commercial advertisement on a general discussion message board. In order to navigate from the XXXX.com home page to the message board, you would have had to scroll down the menu on the left side of the page, right past an unmistakeable, brightly lettered banner that reads "Want to advertise on XXXX.com? Click here!" If you had in fact clicked there, you would have read that XXXX.com offers advertising space on its home page at rates of $150 for six months, $300 for a full year. Rather than go that route, you registered for the message board for the sole purpose of posting an advertisement for your "Online Gateway Disc Sports Retail Shop." That's called spamming, and it's offensive to both the proprietor of the website, who uses advertising revenue to help defray operating costs; and to members of the discussion board, who rightfully feel that the community they have helped build is being exploited by outside interests.

Moving beyond the seemingly obvious fact that spamming a message board is guaranteed to generate animosity, let's consider that XXXX.com is not a commercial enterprise. Rather, it is the internet home of the regional governing body for disc golf in New England. Again, you could have clicked a link in the menu on the left that would have led you to this group's mission statement, which reads in part: "The goal . . . is to promote the growth of disc golf . . . in and around New England." In pursuit of this goal the organization sponsors tournaments, players, and courses, runs an annual points championship, etc. Any money that they bring in via dues, donations, or website advertising goes to those activities. In your post here you suggest that your advertisement on XXXX.com's message board was "kind of like" selling discs out of the trunk of your car. A more accurate analogy would be that spamming XXXX.com for your own personal profit is like driving to a different state, pulling in to the parking lot of a course where a tournament is being held, and opening your trunk next to the tent where the host organization is selling fundraising discs.

But let's not get hung up on fundraising. I disagree with Roadkill above when he says that "East Coast guys" shun for-profit retailers. I am not a member of the organization whose message board you spammed, and I've never purchased a fundraiser disc. Of the thirty or so discs I've bought, about half have come from Play it Again, because there is one convenient to my work, and the other half have come from the well known New England retailer whose advertisement (paid for) is prominently displayed on the XXXX.com homepage. I don't buy from them because they support the local organization, I buy from them for their selection, prices, fast shipping, etc. That being said, it's worth noting how this outfit got where they are today. They started selling discs in the '80s, built two courses on their own land, and host the premier tournament in New England. In short, they've paid their dues, both business-wise and in the disc golf community, where they are rightfully considered leaders. To offer another analogy, spamming a website where these guys pay for a legitimate ad is like driving to their store, opening your trunk, and expecting the customers that their years of work have generated to buy your discs.

You asked for opinions, Jw4412, so here's mine: get a clue. If you had made more than the bare minimum investment of time and effort in researching your business venture, you could have easily uncovered all of the above information, and realized that posting an ad on the XXXX.com message board was likely to generate negative publicity for you and your supplier. Instead, you did it the lazy way with a google search and some spam, and then came here to waste more people's time and bandwidth asking them to explain the obvious.
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Postby Jwt4412 » Tue Mar 14, 2006 9:00 pm

jrc,

I followed a Google Group Search link directly into the message board and didn't go through the front page.

You could do the same to reach directly into Blake's Message board here without going through the main page.

The search I used linked directly to a comment thread based upon a word combination I was looking for. From that thread I backed out to the Forum Index never seeing the main page.

I was searching for message boards and finding message boards.

I have posted to twelve boards that I found through the Google Group Search and only the New England board reacted in such a way.

7 of the boards resulted in orders just yesterday and one board was kind enough to invite me to join their group.

I appreciate your comments and have found them to be very informative...
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Postby jrc3 » Tue Mar 14, 2006 11:17 pm

"I followed a Google Group Search link directly into the message board and didn't go through the front page."

"The search I used linked directly to a comment thread based upon a word combination I was looking for. From that thread I backed out to the Forum Index never seeing the main page. "

These quotes illustrate my point. You easily could have followed a link on the forum index page back to the home page, and then followed the links I mentioned above to learn all kinds of things about the website you were planning to spam, the people that tend to visit it, and disc retailers that already advertise (legitimately) there. Instead you relied on an automated search to identify a broad range of targets, then without further thought or effort blindly foisted your ad on an audience you knew nothing about. And then acted surprised when you met with a mildly unfriendly reception.

I am a newb when it comes to the disc golf scene, and as such I'm acutely aware that there is a well established community that many people have put a lot of time and effort into. As much as i can I try to respect that community, even if all I can really do is pack some trash out of the course, or try to make sure a found disc gets back to its rightful owner. The online community you posted your ad in represents that real community in this area, and treating the people there as anonymous slices of a google-based marketing campaign displayed little of the respect that they, or anyone really, deserve.

In general I don't care to much about this sort of thing, but the combination of obvious spam + "why don't they like me? - it must be an East Coast thing" really touched a nerve. In any case my advice would be to try and figure out a different approach - spam is weak. Good luck.
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Postby discmonkey42 » Wed Mar 15, 2006 12:35 am

Is there a fight by the swingset after school??? :D :D :D

Sorry, I couldn't resist. :wink:
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Postby Jwt4412 » Wed Mar 15, 2006 7:25 am

Monkey,

What's the "42"?

I am curious.
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Postby garublador » Wed Mar 15, 2006 7:57 am

jrc3 wrote:In any case my advice would be to try and figure out a different approach - spam is weak. Good luck.


I'm a midwest guy and I agree 100%. I'm less likely to buy from a store that spams messge boards.
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Postby Jwt4412 » Wed Mar 15, 2006 8:55 am

Spam is just that Spam - random placements of ads... like posting a hemorrhoid cream on a PS2 chat board for gaming cheats...

Making a single announcement that you sell golf discs on a golf disc message board is not spam. Doing it on every thread? - oh, yeah that's spam or doing it everyday? - yes, I agree with you.

But to go to a bulletin board and post an announcement isn’t that what ol' cork board and push pin bulletin boards were for?

As strange as it sounds, as direct marketing, it works...

Ask the folks at Toyota - Take a look at the marketing campaign for Scion - posting invitations to test drive a Scion on message boards that target their demographic was part of the campaign to introduce the Scion car line up to their target market.

Now not everybody is driving a Scion... but it did reach some people... And the last time I checked Toyota is not losing money.

Look, my neighbor who runs one of the local bike shops still does windshield flyers twice a year - once in the beginning of spring and once at Christmas time.

Does he sell a bike for every flyer on every windshield? - no, of course not.

And somebody who has absolutely no interest in buying a bike might even get upset with the piece of paper on the windshield.

But somebody looking for a bike just might hold on to that piece of paper and stop in the shop.

Remember, Gateway Computers started in a garage… Dr. Pepper was first made in a bath tub and Amway started in the trunk of an old Buick.

I am offering a good, I announced that I have the good, if you choose to use me to obtain that good – I’ll provide you with the best service and keep any promise that I make to you.

If you choose to just walk on by the open hatchback that’s fine I just flash you a smile ask you how you threw today – and I might even tip-my-hat to ya!

I just ask you don’t spit in the trunk…

Happy Hyzering!!!
Last edited by Jwt4412 on Wed Mar 15, 2006 9:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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