Is the internet killing local gun shops?
This is a discussion on Is the internet killing local gun shops? within the FFL Dealer Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Like I said in another thread, it's the way of the world now. And not gust gun shops, any small time retail business.
The only ...
December 11th, 2018 12:04 PM
Like I said in another thread, it's the way of the world now. And not gust gun shops, any small time retail business.
The only thing gun shops have over other merchants is that in most cases a transfer is still needed. You're still going to need an FFL to buy a new gun, even if you don't buy it from them. Instead of doing what one shop did here and raise his transfer fees for specifically Buds, he should lower them and try to bring in as much business as he can. People are still going to need ammo with their new gun.
And if you're a gun shop that doesn't offer smithing... you are losing out on a large part of business.
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December 11th, 2018 12:08 PM
I was at a large mall yesterday, and it was a ghost town. People are doing all kinds of shopping online now.
I'm not a fan of the 2 LGS's in my area, so I choose not to do business there. I'll either buy something at a show, on sale at Sporsman's Warehouse, or order it online and have it delivered to the pawn shop down the street I use as an FFL. There's nothing I need to have TODAY. I can wait for it to ship.
December 11th, 2018 12:14 PM
Short answer: Yes
Long Answer: The internet does not sell guns. Gun shops do. They're all local to somewhere. The effects of the online business has changed the balance. In years past heavy regulation and high price of entry lead to inefficiency and lack of price transparency to consumers within the gun market. Prices and profits were higher. Omnichannel retail sales has has allowed for innovative shops to thrive, increasing their consumer base from a town of 10,000 to a country of 300 million. On the other hand, the shops who refused to acknowledge the internet as a valid channel of sales have taken a beating. 10 years ago I remember many shops refusing to do FFL transfers for guns bought elsewhere 'It cuts into our profits!' They said. Today, they're all gone. All the business that survived and all entirely new business put great effort into online sales, with websites, or at a minimum selling through gun broker. The market shift has also forced business to provide a greater variety of services. Attached gun ranges, silencers, gun rentals, gunsmithing, classes, etc.
Easy access to information, price transparency, and greater availability of products has given consumers better choices at better prices than ever before. But conversely has hurt businesses who failed to innovate, and businesses who relied on uninformed consumers or those with limited options overpaying.
December 11th, 2018 12:24 PM
Yesterday, I emailed my LGS to ask if he had a relationship with Eagle Imports because I was looking for a Grand Power K100 Xtrim. He got back with me, said yes and was able to quote me one within $16 of what I could find it on-line. I'll have to pay sales tax, but no transfer fee, so while it will cost a bit more, I will have gotten it locally. This is the second time he has found me something I had an interest in and the price was so close to "on-line" the difference wasn't worth mentioning. So I have kind of reversed it and use the on-line stores as a guage to see if I'm getting a good price locally. YMMV.
December 11th, 2018 12:26 PM
Originally Posted by Chuck808
For multiple decades I've bought about 70% of my guns at gun shows. 20% at LGS. 10% used, from close friends. I have have already shopped prices for a long time. I will even ck. pricing of all dealers at show, make notes, & then swing back to lowest price dealer. I've never paid for a backgrond ck., but the law here in Texas does require I pay sales tax. For my GSSF purchases, I'm limited to LGS, but all of those have ended up being a "good deal". I did have LGS find me a revolver I couldn't find anywhere else (Redhawk .41 mag. 2 3/4"). I'm sure they made a decent profit, but that's OK. I like them, & they are as good as any shop I've been in, in 50+ years of buying guns!
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December 11th, 2018 12:35 PM
Originally Posted by gasmitty
There are numerous reasons why "internet" sales are cheaper. As
has stated, the Taxes is likely a temporary difference. When the internet first became a thing there was no easy way for retailers to determine the right tax to charge a buyer since taxes can be wildly different between counties and cities - not just states. Even though consumers are normally supposed to report non-taxed purchases, that is not typically the case and States want their revenue.
But, an online only business does not need the same fixed costs of rent, utilities, etc. in order to operate. But, probably the number one advantage is salaries. A brick and mortar store needs to have employees available in order for people to visit the store to make a sale. If demand is high during some times, the store may need multiple people available. That leads to a lot of unproductive time when there are no customers. Salary is typically the highest cost for a retail business. Plus, it only serves customers within a certain distance. For an online only business, they are effectively open 24 hours for all consumers. The business only needs to employ enough staff to process the orders that are made on a daily basis - i.e. little or no unproductive time.
Sure, we can try and push back, but we live in a different world. I remember when some of the same arguments were being made for Banks/Tellers when ATMs were first coming into use and then later with online banking. I for one don't want to go back to a time where I can only do banking on their hours.
December 11th, 2018 01:39 PM
Whatever works best for you. My most recent gun purchase was at a physical store. They had a great deal so I went for it. I actually discovered the deal while looking at pricing online. It was a very fair price, so I got in my car and slapped down cash to buy it.
Originally Posted by Pete63
Around here the gun shows are even worse than the gun stores.
December 11th, 2018 01:43 PM
There is a certain amount of sleaze factor depending on the venue such as Pawn Shops and Gun Shops-FFL where the customer is not respected nor fairly treated. The owners of such venues are their own worst enemies. No one in todays market place wants to pay OEM-MSRP suggested retail and or inflated prices over MSRP due to availability of certain models such as SIG currently new to the market place subcompact 9mm pistol. Small retail venues don't have enough volume sales to discount the suggested MSRP. Business models change thus the only constant is change and if you can't adapt you are not going to relevant thus non successful.
December 11th, 2018 01:59 PM
I mainly buy most of my new firearms online and transfer them to one small shop. I occasionlly buy a few used guns from him, but he even told me that he makes his money off of transfers from other people and gun shows. I am all about saving money and shopping for the best deal if it is going to save me $ 150 to $200 on a new rifle.
December 11th, 2018 02:33 PM
The LGSs that are being hurt are the ones who have not kept up with the times. There are two small LGSs near me that have partnered with online services. You go to the LGS website. When you click "shop" it takes you to a national site that still displays the LGS' logo along with the service's logo. You can do a search for what you want and they have a full range of stuff at competitive prices. You order what you want and pay online. The gun shows up at the LGS and they do the paperwork, checks, etc. but you don't get charged any fee you would not get charged if you were buying a gun that was in stock. I bought a Sig that way from a gun shop and it worked great.
The advantage to the shop is they can offer most anything customers want without having to hold a lot of inventory.
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December 11th, 2018 03:52 PM
I don't own a small business, but I am considering my next career after air traffic. I'm eligible to retire in 3 1/2 years and I'm in planning mode. I've considered getting an FFL and making a strong stab at local online transfers. There is almost no overhead and, if marketed correctly, the potential for a lot of customers.
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December 11th, 2018 04:06 PM
I would never order a gun from an online dealer even if the price was lower than the LGS. I feel strongly about supporting the LGS and also so he is there for your questions and help if you have an issue with a gun you purchased at that store. Plus, I like to go into the LGS and "window shop"!
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December 11th, 2018 04:07 PM
When I worked in the scuba industry, I observed very similar effects on the local dive shops. But as a friend once said, they can't fill scuba tanks on the internet. And yes, you can buy ammo over the internet still in most places. The dive shops that did not survive the big shakeout that took place during the past 10 years were the ones who did not provide a wide range of services and activities, kept in contact with their customers, and provided reasons to come into their stores. The exact same set of circumstances is happening with gun stores in many places.
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What we have here is a failure to communicate...
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December 11th, 2018 04:28 PM
December 11th, 2018 04:42 PM
Ya'll need to move to Maine. It's easier to shop LGS here than on the 'net, there's more of LGS, they are friendlier and quite prevalent.
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