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Old 01-01-2002, 12:02 PM   #21
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Default Re: WTF?

Arai definitely wants to retain it's "premium" image. While banning on-line sales would eliminate the Mail-Order style of discounting, and then force buyers to go to a brick-and-mortar retailer to buy their product (in some ways, not a bad thing for anyone who wants to make sure that they have a good shop around when they need it).

What could happen though, is that it would force the Arai pricing to be so much higher than the competition, that their volume will drop significantly as people simply choose another brand. I for one, do not fit Arai helmets well, and have been a Shoei buyer/wearer - as I probably would have done anyway as I think that Arai are overpriced. (And that's coming from a BMW buyer!)

Arai would be smart by following an example that bicycle manufacturers set years ago to try to at least "control" the discounting...

Lower the initial margin to the seller, with a monthly or quarterly "rebate" that was based on combination of volume and SELLING PRICE to the consumer. This way, they can sell helmets to everyone that they want, and if someone (even a B&M Retailer) wants to discount big, it's their option - they just get less of a rebate back, and make a lower margin. Arai keeps a bit more of the $$ if everyone starts trying to sell cheap. Of course, dealers may start to push other brands if they can still discount and get a larger initial margin. The way it was done in the pedal peddler industry (which I worked in for 13 years) made the "after rebate" margin greater than the regular margin for dealers who maintained their average price at or near suggested retail.

This will truly be a test of product loyalty among Arai buyers. They will most likely lose a portion of the market share, especially as the "cheap" makers such as HJC (who make a damn nice helmet) continue to evolve their product.

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Old 01-01-2002, 12:05 PM   #22
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Default Re: Arai to ban helmet sales online!

Good letter.

Have you gotten a response?
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Old 01-02-2002, 05:31 AM   #23
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Default There are a few products that get away with it...

but most of them sell mainly on snob appeal. I don't think most people buy a helmet on snob appeal. They buy the best value that has the features/style they want in their price range, period. A "no deals" policy can actually enhance the snob appeal and thus sales of some products. I don't think "no deals" would apply well to motorcycle products though (you can even ****er & shop around on Harleys though "deal" falls somewhere in the ballpark of MSRP instead of way above). I think Arai has screwed up bigtime, not by challenging one of the rules of the marketplace, but by trying to capitalize on the wrong one.
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Old 01-02-2002, 06:01 AM   #24
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Default Re: Arai to ban helmet sales online!

An Interesting thing is that If Internet shops and Brick& Mortar dealers get their helmets from the same shop then you'd think they pay the same right? There have been alot of posts about local shops not having many helmets on hand. If that's the case, why do they even carry any at all? Why can't a local dealer sell at the same price as an Internet shop without high prices? Yeah yeah, I know you are going to say they have overhead to cover, but the local shops didn't open up specifically only to sell helmets. Understandably they may not carry every size of every model in every color scheme, but I wonder how many Internet Only shops have more than 5 helmets on stock. I think Kneedraggers is an exception since they sell both Online and walk-in sales. Which also makes me ask if dealers are complaining about prices why can't they also sell online?
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Old 01-02-2002, 07:00 AM   #25
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Default Re: Arai to ban helmet sales online!

Helmets have a great mark-up, especially the high end ones. The dealers want to keep that mark-up. The dealers want to maximize their profits and Arai wants their helmet in as many shops as possible. Having a heavily online presence limits the market for Arai. Helmets on shelves in shops is great advertising.

That said the dealers could offer prices competitive with the online retailers and mail-order. They just don't want to do it. I'm fortunate to have a local shop that will cut me a deal.

As for lawsuits because of injury, the shops provide zero legal protection for Arai.

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Old 01-02-2002, 08:55 PM   #26
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Default Helmets in Chicago

You know, I noticed that too. No dealership I have been to in the chicagoland area has ever even mentioned helmets to me. If it was my dealership, I would be pushing helmets like crazy, not just for the short term gain but to keep my customer base alive so they will come back and spend more money.

I will probably not be purchacing an Arai now; I have bought all my kit, excluding footwear, online. I simply don't have the time to shop except at 1 a.m. at home.

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Old 01-03-2002, 09:35 AM   #27
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Default Re: Arai to ban helmet sales online!

I really don't think this is a good idea for Arai. Like it or not, market demand is what it is. I have always loved Arai's styling and fit above all other helmet manufacturers. But let's be honest, will most people see their lids as being worth 40% more than a top-shelf Shoei? Doubtful, and certainly not me. Not to mention the bad feeling that this type of business practices leaves with most American consumers. Arai just does not hold enough marketshare to push the demand curve around.

An example is the bicycle industry. Many local shops have been driven out of business by mail order companies, and they all cried "foul". But most of these were not giving any value-added to their customers. Many of the shops that give exceptional service and product selection have remained in business and gotten bigger and stronger. Nobody wants to pay your rent if you aren't giving them anything in return! The same will happen with motorcycle accessories. Shops that actually have knowledgeable staff and reasonable inventories will sell product, even at higher prices, while the dealers who simply have cashiers will lose their business to mail order shops.

I just don't see where it is Arai's place, as a manufacturer, to try to control distribution channels to that extent, and if they are doing this when I need my next helmet, the one I buy won't be one of theirs.
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Old 01-04-2002, 05:52 AM   #28
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Default Re: Arai to ban helmet sales online!

Not yet. I'll post it when/if I get one.

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Old 01-07-2002, 10:28 AM   #29
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Default Re: Arai to ban helmet sales online!

Sounds like another case of the dealers exerting pressure on the manufacturer to protect their market. Sorry to see them do this. The ploy never works, customers just change to another maker.
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Old 01-22-2002, 09:30 AM   #30
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Default Re: Arai to ban helmet sales online!

Are you saying that I will get a better fit by ordering a helmet that they do not stock through a dealer than ordering onlinline? At least online I save money even if I have to send it back. Oh yeah I can look at the sizing chart online too.
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