Great that you went back and that the store has improved, kinda validates my message a little :-)
This forum rocks !
A store is nice. It helps build first of mind awareness. The people that visit this store will no doubt be impressed. These potential customers are relatively meaningless relative to future sales and earnings. It is, and should be just a small piece of a greater marketing effort aimed at building Garmin as the brand name in GPS. The super bowl ad is another piece. Those who have doubted Garmin's marketing savy should start to feel better. But it is still just marketing. Really great marketing in the absence of a really great product will follow in the footsteps of Popeil's Salad Spinner, Egg Scrambler and Pocket Fisherman.
I will love seeing Garmin's ad during the Super Bowl ( go Bears). I am long Garmin because my view of their future is dramatically different than the PE wall street is giving them. I sure could be wrong - but if I am the stock is already priced at the streets best guess. If I am right this company is going to move up my retirement date.
Some of you technical analysts have been incredibly accurate. It's kind of scary to see your projection that January is going to be a bad month actually come true.
I am sure it is more than just luck. I also know that if I buy and hold I don't have to worry about getting back in on a correction that never happens.
Good luck to all! This is a terrific board. If you read this Edison, thanks for the tip on battery life.
My 2 cents worth on retail: have a few "Loaner" units. Let the customer sign them out for a hour or two as a demo. Security? Leave your driver' license or a credit card imprint. Bring it back ok - no charge. On our ski hills around here (Vermont) the ski companies do this - similar value ($1000). Works great. After all, who wants to shell out big money for something without a test drive. You could even give them a coupon for $50 if they buy that day.
If you don't try a GPS and see how it works, you don't realize that without one, life is just not worth living.
that is a very good question. since apple controls all its stores directly...i guess they "fix the price" to the public.
even if garmin "matched discounted" prices or was in the neighborhood....they would still pick up some distribution margin plus the factory margin.
my guess is garmin would be able to sell at a higher price than an internet seller, since there would be local service, training, etc. my wife switched to garmin, after she had purchased a magellan over the internet several years ago...she was right at the beginning.
dealing over the internet was awful...every time she had a problem she had to send the unit back and wait, etc.
i would say you would have to be competitive or slightly higher than circuit city and best buy store prices. they do not discount as much as amazon and other internet sellers (i think). people like the convenience of bringing something back locally if they have a problem.
however, even if garmin did set up stores that were franchises or part of cingular or other type electronic store...and had to only get the factory margin, it still would be very additive.
the store could run in house seminars, do mailings, possible local newspaper and cable and would offer the FULL LINE,FULLY WORKING,SALES LITERATURE AND CAPABLE TRAINING PERSONNEL. the store would not require much space or even be a sizeable kiosk in a mall...the main point is GPS AND GARMIN would be the only products with the right setup, materials and training.
my guess is if they offer up a franchise( which they would collect a recurring fee for).....hundreds of people would jump on it. my guess is the initial investment would be 50 to 100k for display stuff and maybe two weeks of inventory for the hottest items.
my experience has been a vp in sales , marketing and distribution....so i am fairly familiar with what is needed.
these outlets would provide a great alternative to the mass distribution network that now exists, but more importantly would be able to GO OUT INTO THE MARKET, create a NEED and CLOSE many buyers who today do not know much about pnds , garmin and never getting lost.
when i get i chance i might send a short outline of this to garmin, doubt it would get much attention. HOWEVER, if a number of you joined me in this effort, maybe we could create a SNOWBALL EFFECT FOR A NEW POWERFUL DISTRIBUTION OUTLET FOR GARMIN's GREAT PRODUCT LINE.
who knows, you might even attract some boat owners and flyers for the marine and aviation stuff, and you certainly will get BIKERS, HIKERS etc. for the hand held stuff...imho LUCKY
ABSOLUTELY. I totally agree with you...garmin should open up hundreds, if not thousands of small stores, kiosks,etc. airports and malls are ideal locations.
they could do as cingular and verizon do...have direct factory branches or individual franchise locations bearing the garmin name.
this will insure that garmin is seen PROPERLY by many millions who have yet to know or jump aboard. they would have trained personnel so that any customer ease of use concerns are handled.
In the BRANCH FACTORY STORES...they eliminate the middleman and get the factory and distribution margin!!!...probably DOUBLING THE PROFIT ON EVERY SALE.
or they could make a deal with cingular, verizon and the other major carriers to use space in their stores...which are everywhere...and give them the same margins as circuit city, etc.
there is no doubt in my mind this would work, grow volume and MARGINS much faster, and establish garmin as the
'only' SHOW IN TOWN. I believe APPLE HAS their on store network , and we have seen how well they have done.
every time i am in circuit city or best buy, etc. i browse over to the gps section....look for people hanging around or who are interested and CLOSE most of them, usually on the higher end models.....the salesmen in most of these places as you know are fairly weak.
something as simple as an effective POP(POINT OF PURCHASE DISPLAY) which could be a four color double sided sheet..could be use to sell from, hand to store customers as they walk in ,do a MAILING,ETC. i have mentioned this before.
the front would sell the pnd "solution"..never get lost, talks to you,poi, etc. the back would have the entire garmin sell....huge product line for every pocketbook, size of r and d, size of company..TOTAL COMMITMENT TO GPS FOR EVERYTHING,ETC.
what does everybody think of the idea of opening up sales branches, getting kiosks or space in other stores, and a POP piece....if i get enough yahoos, i will write a short recommendation to garmin and hope they read it.
i would guess they have thought about this, but since they are an engineering type company, my guess is they don't see it as a high priority revenue increaser. setting up a huge store in chicago is GREAT..i would also hope they SELL from that store and do MAILINGS to bring people in. I also agree with you they should have women, minorities, the older folks...a WIDE MIX OF CONSULTANTS. LUCKY
thanks for the full report on the new store!
it sounds like they wern't quite ready to open; missing signage certainly and experience, but then again no one has done a store quite like this before. And it's a good laboratory for them in terms of understanding the consumers. It should be boot camp for all the young engineers.
The good news is they are there and open, and all the problems sound quickly rectifiable. It's astounding there were no female sales staff; what are they thinking? (they keep forgetting to think about sex-how geeky can you get); they should be a diverse bunch to appeal to as many groups as possible, no?.
Some old ladies, too, and old guys, believe me, they're a great market for gps, but you have to make it really simple and easy - and the Nuvi seems to qualify.
I too think they need the G1000 up front - it's their most profound device, operating in simulation. They would not be able to keep the kids away, however. And a Nuvi next to it. The best up front, no doubt.
I like the motorcycle Zumo set-up; very classy. Sounds like they need an airplane and a boat in there as well. What's the smallest commercially available aircraft?
Now that they have an uptown address (nothing against Olathe - did I spell it right?), they could do a huge business out with the masses in airports - some one else mentioned the idea - small stores or kiosks in terminal buildings. 100% of the traffic are potential customers in need of their product. I bet if they put Lucky out there instead of the sunglass lady, he could sell 10x!
I used my GPS76CSx (with an old version of City Navigator) in Manhattan yesterday. It worked very well in mid-town amongst the tall buildings. I was easily able to get to museums and other points of interest. Now that the SiRF equipped GPSr's can deal with the skyscrapers in big cities, Garmin's routing needs to offer routing that ignores the one way streets and just give the shortest distance on foot.
I totalled about 5 walking miles according to the odometer.
I also used it on the train ride from Connecticut which was cool since I didn't have to look for a train station sign to see where we were. The train actually hit over 80 mph briefly as we entered New York state. I guess they give a jolt to make up for the average of about 45 mph in Connecticut (including all the local station stops).
Couple other thoughts about the store that I forgot to mention:
11) Store front windows: One window has a motorcycle, the other has a mountain bike. Ask anybody on the street what kind of store that is as they are walking by. I'll bet my paycheck that over half can't tell you it is for GPS!!! Recommendation: ditch the bike, and put in some shelves with GPS units and a big sign that say "We'll take you there" with a big print of a PND screening mapping a location.
12) NO WOMEN working there! Maybe it was just the time that I was there, but ZERO out of about 15 employees? Who the heck did the hiring over there? Did the Niketown manager just bring over a bunch of the shoe salesmen? Not to be sexist, but I think that a)some women may feel more comfortable learning about tech from other women and b) lots of men really like learning about ANYTHING from a woman.
Don't take all my comments to be bashing the store or Garmin marketing. I'm not. It really is a nice store with knowledgeable sales staff. I just think it could be something more.
They should have a list of all off the major retailers in the area, and top tourist attractions (blues clubs, restaurants, etc.). Put this list next to the hand held Garmins. People shopping in Chicago for the holidays may purchase right there, load in the locations they want to visit the rest of the trip and GOOOOOO!!!
Start your shopping & tourist trip at the Garmin store.
Maybe a small shop at large airports would make sense to rent hand held Garmins?
Thank you for offering to forward!
I'd like to add my real name and contact info, as well as make a few edits for clarity, conciseness. Please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll reply with that info.