Jump to content




Photo

Sales online vs. raceways


  • Please log in to reply
69 replies to this topic

#1 FoothillSlots

FoothillSlots

    Rookie Keyboard Racer

  • Full Member
  • Pip
  • 3 posts
  • Joined: 27-June 12
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Grass Valley, CA

Posted 29 November 2017 - 09:09 PM

Sam suggested I post here regarding discounts to raceways. As I mentioned to him, I work out discounts for raceways over and above those shown on the website based on a conversation and assessment of their needs and purchases. Regarding the "marketing gumph," after being in marketing for over 30 years, it just comes out that way.
 
The brushes I am offering were developed based on field trials in co-operation with Ray Lee (no relation). Ray, who races a wide variety of classes, was kind enough to provide fairly detailed feedback on each iteration as formulation changes were made. Are they the best there are out there, no but I think they were improved over the course of the development. I am always interested in objective feedback that will help improve the products. After all, quality is a journey not a destination.
 
Also, there is no question in my mind that Koford is the gold standard but who would want to live (hopefully not even Mike) in a world with only Koford.
Doug Lee




#2 MSwiss

MSwiss

    Grand Champion Poster

  • Advertiser
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 19,863 posts
  • Joined: 16-April 06
  • Gender:Male

Posted 29 November 2017 - 10:04 PM

Hi Doug,

 

How about a link to your website?


Mike Swiss
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990), eight G7 main appearances
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder

17B West Ogden Ave Westmont, IL 60559, (708) 203-8003, mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address)

Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516


#3 FoothillSlots

FoothillSlots

    Rookie Keyboard Racer

  • Full Member
  • Pip
  • 3 posts
  • Joined: 27-June 12
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Grass Valley, CA

Posted 29 November 2017 - 10:20 PM

Mike,

 

I would be happy to.

 

www.dmwproducts.com

 

Thanks,

 

Doug


Doug Lee

#4 MSwiss

MSwiss

    Grand Champion Poster

  • Advertiser
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 19,863 posts
  • Joined: 16-April 06
  • Gender:Male

Posted 29 November 2017 - 10:22 PM

Sam suggested I post here regarding discounts to raceways. As I mentioned to him, I work out discounts for raceways over and above those shown on the website based on a conversation and assessment of their needs and purchases.

 
Over and above the ones shown on the website?
 
I only see one price and see an additional small discount, based on a minimum order.

 

All of that is apparently available to anyone.
 
As far as I can see, you make no mention of offering to sell raceways/inviting them to inquire.
 
Please correct me if I am wrong.


  • Cheater likes this

Mike Swiss
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990), eight G7 main appearances
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder

17B West Ogden Ave Westmont, IL 60559, (708) 203-8003, mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address)

Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516


#5 MSwiss

MSwiss

    Grand Champion Poster

  • Advertiser
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 19,863 posts
  • Joined: 16-April 06
  • Gender:Male

Posted 29 November 2017 - 10:53 PM

Doug,

 

Here's some text from your homepage:

 

At DMW Products we know how important it is to make your money stretch as much as possible during these tough economic times. Over the past 50 years of enjoying the slot car hobby we have also seen how expensive it has gotten. Our goal is to help make the hobby we have enjoyed for so long more affordable by offering good quality components at prices that are as competitive as possible. In short: better value!

 

Our hope is that the more affordable the hobby is the more attractive it will be to more people.

 

Nothing is said about the raceway and the how expensive the rent has gotten, or how your business model is going to help the most important component of commercial racing, the raceway.

 

You are selling cobalt magnets aimed at G27 light. Is anyone racing those those on their  50 ft., three-lane, basement track?

 

From your above "introduction," IMO your only function in the commercial slot racing eco-system is for you to make money.


Mike Swiss
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990), eight G7 main appearances
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder

17B West Ogden Ave Westmont, IL 60559, (708) 203-8003, mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address)

Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516


#6 Cheater

Cheater

    Headmaster of the asylum

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,965 posts
  • Joined: 14-February 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Norcross, GA

Posted 29 November 2017 - 11:14 PM

Note: I have split this off-topic line of discussion out from the "Best Brushes" thread in another subforum, largely because so far it has been civil (and it needs to remain that way!).

 

I also think it is a discussion that needs to happen. Perhaps for once we can talk about this issue in an intelligent, adult-like manner, but I admit chances of that actually occurring are probably pretty slim.

 

From my perspective, Pandora has opened the box and it's impossible to get the toothpaste back in the tube. The internet ain't going away and every brick and mortar business is struggling to ameliorate the effect online sales is having on their business model.

 

There are some who claim that the commerical raceway model is a dinosaur that is dying, but the bottom line is if that were to occur, it would have a profound effect on 1/24 slot racing as it is practiced in the Americas.

 

Please don't post along the lines of "enjoy it while you can." I'd like to see some brainstorming about what can actually be done to meld the brick and mortar raceways and the online vendors into some form of symbiotic whole that can benefit (or preserve, if you wish) 1/24 slot racing as it has been practiced for the last nearly 60 years in this hemisphere.

Stay on that topic and posts won't be deleted and this thread won't be closed down.

 

Yes, this issue has been beat to death for years so if all you have to say is the same old negative same old, keep your cursor well clear of the post button.


  • Mattb, Samiam and grooverunner like this

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#7 Cheater

Cheater

    Headmaster of the asylum

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,965 posts
  • Joined: 14-February 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Norcross, GA

Posted 29 November 2017 - 11:32 PM

And as a bit of an aside, I'm pretty sure I know how most raceway owners feel about 1/24 slot car products being sold on the internet. And I'm betting it aligns fairly closely with what people who run forums like Slotblog feel about the fact that people these days more often use a smartphone, Facebook, and ad-blockers to access the internet. The ad-revenue model that has up to this point in time largely fueled the growth of the internet is getting very, very creaky and as the old saying goes, there's not very many free lunches.

 

If you don't recognize that the internet is rapidly changing virtually every traditional retail and wholesale landscape in the world, you should really start paying more attention IMHO.


  • Half Fast, Mike Jr and grooverunner like this

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#8 FoothillSlots

FoothillSlots

    Rookie Keyboard Racer

  • Full Member
  • Pip
  • 3 posts
  • Joined: 27-June 12
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Grass Valley, CA

Posted 30 November 2017 - 12:20 AM

I have to say that this is quite an introduction to this rookie blogger. It is like a hornet's nest. Sam, did you set me up?

 

Mike, believe it or not, I do truly love the hobby and I do see the dilemma that is presented by internet vs. brick and mortar. Whereas I do offer raceways additional discounts vs. anyone else out there, it is not clear on the website. I can work on that. 

 

I do recognize that the overall health of the sport/hobby is dependent on a healthy network of raceways to use the parts that are manufactured by anyone. That being said, regardless of how much advantage I am currently extending to the tracks, I see the need to work at finding ways to improve the differential provided to the raceways.

 

If anyone has any suggestions, I would be open to ideas. I only ask, please be gentle!!


  • Cheater and Jesse Gonzales like this
Doug Lee

#9 Cheater

Cheater

    Headmaster of the asylum

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,965 posts
  • Joined: 14-February 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Norcross, GA

Posted 30 November 2017 - 01:25 AM

Doug,

 

You're rather new here and you should not take this personally. You just pushed a hot button.

 

I'm shortly headed for a ride between cool sheets, but before that here's my viewpoint.

 

The online vs. raceway sales is just the latest iteration of the simplistic sort of 'blame games' that have permeated the 1/24 commerical raceway hobby since the late '60s.

When the hobby 'crashed' the first time, the blame was placed on slot car kits and parts being sold in department store, hardware stores, drug stores, via mail order (can you say 'Auto World'), etc., i.e. places that didn't have tracks.

 

In the dark ages that followed, it was common to hear that slot car tracks in facilties that also had bars and billiard tables ('pool halls') was a big problem.

 

The next narrrative about a decade down the road was that wing car racing killed the raceway industry, as it was so extreme, difficult, and expensive it drove non-wing racers into other leisure-time activities.

Now many feel the rise of online sales by non-raceways is a significant factor in the strongly downward trajectory in the number of operating raceways that has been observed over the last few years.

IMO, such simplistic viewpoints are short-sighted, reactionary, and are largely unsupported by the facts and numbers. Don't think I've ever seen the "blame game' approach help any situation anywhere, slots or not.

 

And recently when a major slot car manufacturer began an initiative to share a portion of his non-raceway revenue with raceways, it received an inadequate level of support from the very people it was designed to help.

I don't have the answers, but I am fully convinced that a simplistic, blame-focused approach will achieve nothing. A new mindset needs to happen and as the problem is complex, that mindset cannot be simplistic. Does anyone honestly think if a law was passed prohibiting the sale of 1/24 slot cars and parts by retailers who weren't commercial raceways that it would make any significant impact? I don't.

 

I'm sure I hear a pillow calling my name now...


  • Mattb, grooverunner, JK Products and 1 other like this

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#10 havlicek

havlicek

    OCD Rewinder

  • Subscriber
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10,031 posts
  • Joined: 20-August 07
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:NY

Posted 30 November 2017 - 07:05 AM

Personally, I don't see how the genie can be forced back into the bottle. The best we can hope for is that racers will try and balance economics against doing the "right thing" for the hobby. Large and historically-significant brick and mortar retailers like Sears, Macy's, JC Penneys, Radio Shack and a boatload of others have been trying to figure all this out, and even having online outlets hasn't really done all that much. Commercial raceways aren't exactly analogous to those however, because if you buy a bottle of perfume at Macy's or a wrench at Sears... you don't want to come back to the store to use them with your friends. Having a place to come back to, so you can race against and socialize with your buddies on a large commercial track is key to the hobby, and is what separates commercial raceways from regular brick and mortar retailers.  The raceways do need to be supported, not as "charity"... but as "cherished" places for all they uniquely offer.

I don't race, and actually it would be difficult where I live to even consider doing that. I only build things, but I buy from a variety of places... eBay, PCH, Professor Motor, private sellers who happen to have what I use and have bought things from DMW several times, too. A lot of the things I use are difficult to come by, almost none of them are bagged and on the shelf at the raceway, so for me none of this is really an option. 

 

However, I do believe it's really important for the commercial tracks/retailers to be supported enough to remain viable. Track owners work hard and ought to make a decent living... I doubt there are any who are exactly getting rich. The answer to all this?... I haven't a clue, but slot car supplies aren't sold on a huge margin in the first place. If spending "a little more" by purchasing at the track is all that's involved, that seems like a no-brainer. Even more so, if it's "less convenient" to purchase at the track than doing the "point and click," a little "inconvenience" seems like an easy choice for racers to make. E-retailers shouldn't be (in my view) slammed, and people who, for whatever reason, buy from them shouldn't feel the need to do so in secret.

It's all, at least on virtual paper, simple. If people want commercial raceways to succeed, they need to support them whenever they can.  It's actually no different from SlotBlog, if we want it to be here, we need to do what we can towards that end as well.


  • boxerdog, Samiam and Jesse Gonzales like this
John Havlicek

#11 Samiam

Samiam

    Posting Leader

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,660 posts
  • Joined: 18-January 12
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Long Island, NY

Posted 30 November 2017 - 07:57 AM

I have to say that this is quite an introduction to this rookie blogger. It is like a hornet's nest. Sam, did you set me up?

 

Doug,
 
As you can tell, this topic is a classic one here. I just wanted you to let racers and track owners know you will sell to raceways. This gives tracks the opportunity to make some profit on the stuff racers want from you. I have bought from you but only after waiting months without results for my local raceway to order what I wanted.

 

I also feel you are in no way similar to the former eBay seller, Ken-OH! He was selling product that, by their own policy, distributors were only supposed to sell to active commercial raceways. Everybody here knows my thoughts on him. And I take some credit for his going offline.


Sam Levitch
 
"If you have integrity, nothing else matters, and if you do not have integrity, nothing else matters."
     Robert Mueller, special counsel (2013)

#12 Eddie Fleming

Eddie Fleming

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,064 posts
  • Joined: 27-April 14
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fayetteville, GA

Posted 30 November 2017 - 08:56 AM

I was very surprised at how short lived Tim's direct sales profit sharing idea was. Was cutting off the distributors the downfall of the idea?

 

Is there a model for the commercial raceway that can survive without birthday parties?


Eddie Fleming

#13 Cheater

Cheater

    Headmaster of the asylum

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,965 posts
  • Joined: 14-February 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Norcross, GA

Posted 30 November 2017 - 09:18 AM

Track owners work hard and ought to make a decent living... I doubt there are any who are exactly getting rich. 

 

While I have no real numbers, I believe that, considering the US commercial raceway industry, the number of raceways furnishing a decent living for their owners from on-site slot car related revenue is less than the fingers on one hand. A somewhat larger number is likely at the break-even level. Without external sales and/or associated business (such as the sale/service of other materials, slot or not), the majority of raceways lose money and when the owner(s) tire of plowing money in (or run out of money to be abe to do that), they go away.

 

I was very surprised at how short lived Tim's direct sales profit sharing idea was. Was cutting off the distributors the downfall of the idea?

 

Is there a model for the commercial raceway that can survive without birthday parties?

 

Won't speak for JK, but I believe the key factor was the lack of support by the raceways. My understanding is that less than half of the raceways signed on to receive the financial benefits of his plan for a number of reasons and without a broad level of support from the raceway 'community,' it was felt not worth continuing.

As to your birthday party question, I'll say it again for the umpteenth time: the average commercial raceway that is at least at the break-even level generates no more than 20% of its revenue stream from organized racing activity (and it's more often around 15%). The exceptions to this are the raceways who don't do anything other than organized racing and they generally aren't around for very long.


  • Samiam likes this

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#14 Eddie Fleming

Eddie Fleming

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,064 posts
  • Joined: 27-April 14
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fayetteville, GA

Posted 30 November 2017 - 09:44 AM

Greg,

 

On the JK question, I was told by a raceway owner that he did not like the idea because he then had to place orders with more places to get the products he wanted. If he could have continued to order as usual and only order from Jk when he had credit coming the idea may have been more accepted.

 

Water under the bridge at this point.

 

I understand that the numbers for racers alone do not support a raceway. I am asking if and how people are generating the revenue without birthday parties because many of us have a problem dealing with 10 to 20 screaming five-year olds.

 

I realize I am contributing nothing to the conversation you were trying to start. 


Eddie Fleming

#15 Cheater

Cheater

    Headmaster of the asylum

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,965 posts
  • Joined: 14-February 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Norcross, GA

Posted 30 November 2017 - 11:04 AM

Eddie, but you are contributing to the discussion!

 

As to your first point, that raceway owner's complaint it is certainly understandable. What I would ask him is whether he was finding that a single distributor was able to supply all his needs consistently or if he had to deal with multiple dists? And was he aware that more and more slot car manufacturers (in all scales) were bypassing the dists via direct sales, eBay, Facebook, etc? His point is certainly valid but would the benefit of decreased product cost really be inferior to the extra 'cost' in ordering time? Obviously, he felt that was the case in his situation.

 

As to birthday parties and their impact on the other patrons in a raceway, similar situations seem to occur between the 'serious' racers and the casual renters/players, the flexi racing crowd and the Eurosport/wing car guys, the vintage/collector group and the modern racers, and maybe other customer class 'pairs': most everyone wants the track(s) to themselves. These sorts of conflicts seem to be a central reason raceway owners have struggled to leverage the various types of customers they (potentially) have to generate optimal revenue from each category.

 

One thought I have is that it ought to be possible to 'stratify' track availability, like a lot of swimming pools do, you know... adult swim time, family time, kids-only time, lesson-only time, exercise/laps-only time, etc., in order to separate the various conflicting groups of customers. Sure, traditionally when a raceway is open, customers can put any kind of car on the track, but is that really etched in stone?

If the parties are held on a separate track, you should consider the approach my ex adopted when we actually slept in the same room: ear plugs! LOL...


  • Mattb likes this

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#16 MSwiss

MSwiss

    Grand Champion Poster

  • Advertiser
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 19,863 posts
  • Joined: 16-April 06
  • Gender:Male

Posted 30 November 2017 - 11:49 AM

I am asking if and how people are generating the revenue without birthday parties because many of us have a problem dealing with 10 to 20 screaming five-year olds

 

Sure, traditionally when a raceway is open, customers can put any kind of car on the track, but is that really etched in stone?

 
Luckily my racers understand without casual rentals and birthday parties, I'm eventually out of business, and they are very good about adjusting/adapting to the situation.
 
And I limit walk-ins to access to certain tracks, at certain times, all the time.
 
As far as birthday parties and screaming five-year olds, while that happens, it is certainly the worst case scenario.
 
There are also parties with polite, well behaved nine-year olds, some that have entertaining senses of humor.
 
They are also cases of pluses for the racers, where they are the recipient of free marshaling from the kids, leftover pizza and birthday cake, and upper middle-class attractive moms walking around.
  • Cheater, macman, Half Fast and 7 others like this

Mike Swiss
IRRA® Components Committee Chairman
Five-time USRA National Champion (two G7, one G27, two G7 Senior)
Two-time G7 World Champion (1988, 1990), eight G7 main appearances
Eight-time G7 King track single lap world record holder

17B West Ogden Ave Westmont, IL 60559, (708) 203-8003, mikeswiss86@hotmail.com (also my PayPal address)

Note: Send all USPS packages and mail to: 5858 Chase Ave., Downers Grove, IL 60516


#17 Justin A. Porter

Justin A. Porter

    Race Leader

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 711 posts
  • Joined: 08-August 08
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:North Ridgeville, OH

Posted 30 November 2017 - 11:50 AM

Speaking from "behind the counter"...

 

I can say fairly unequivocally that the "online sale" boogieman is an easy scapegoat for the real problem. The real problem is that all shops in the 1/24 commercial racing scene are competing for too few sales to too few customers

 

Take, for instance, the humble comic book shop. Here we have another "olden times" product that's nearly anachronistic particularly when its publishers make the exact same product available for digital download (via subscription service no less) on the day of publishing. Surely, surely they must be suffering the pinch. 

 

Not in the least. The "brands" with which they are well-stocked and well-versed are at a point of incredible visibility. After decades where the general public knew three, possibly four superheroes well now even the D-List characters are multi-billion dollar entities. 

 

The shops just have to let the public know, "Hey! That stuff you like? We have it. Come see us!" 

 

To bring this back to slot car racing, we have no such visibility. Our most common comment when speaking to new, potential customers is "I had no idea they still did that." Every news report frames the mere existence of a local slot car track as some form of quaint throwback. "Slot cars are back!" is the refrain that attempts to draw from an ever-dwindling pool of nostalgia rather than selling the hobby on its strengths. 

 

Retrograde and lackluster advertising will never reach the number of customers needed to bring the industry as a whole to the point where the pie is big enough that shop owners aren't viewing every. single. sale. that isn't in their register with bitter resentment regardless of where the sale was made.


  • Cheater, Half Fast, Rob Voska and 1 other like this
Operator - Haven Raceway in Elyria, OH
Series Director - Ohio Challenge Cup

#18 Eddie Fleming

Eddie Fleming

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,064 posts
  • Joined: 27-April 14
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fayetteville, GA

Posted 30 November 2017 - 11:54 AM

Good valid points, Greg.

 

With regard to the birthday parties, I had in mind that some raceway operators can deal with that better than others, not the kids' effect on the racers.

 

Someone looking at opening a raceway may say I don't want to deal with kids parties all the time.


Eddie Fleming

#19 Cheater

Cheater

    Headmaster of the asylum

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,965 posts
  • Joined: 14-February 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Norcross, GA

Posted 30 November 2017 - 11:59 AM

May say? I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of raceway owners dislike birthday parts at a very high level, based on statements of them many have made to me.


  • macman likes this

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#20 Rick Moore

Rick Moore

    CMF3

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 340 posts
  • Joined: 22-November 09
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tampa

Posted 30 November 2017 - 12:16 PM

Seems to be civil enough (except for all us old geezers not being able to stand all those screaming kids... LOL...), so if no one minds I’ll throw in $0.02…

 

Mr Havlicek’s observations and comments above are broad in consideration and pretty accurate. And as for the elusive answer, or answers, I too “haven’t a clue.”

 

The amount of time and energy raceway owners put in to keep their doors open is massive, to say the least. Unfortunately, without an online sales presence they automatically lose any revenue that might be generated in this regard. Even that is not a guarantee. And just what they need, more work, for only the possibility of some level of increased revenue consuming more of their time.

 

So, let’s float an idea concerning one facet of this discussion that may or may not be possible. My own knowledge in the matter is extremely limited, so I will defer to any with greater experience in this area.

 

Would it be possible to create a web service with a common webpage home link that would allow raceways to join, and be able to somehow list their inventory (or available to order items) for online purchase? Would a collective effort like this be better financially for the raceways? Who would take on the initial set-up, and maintenance of the web site, and how would they be compensated?

 

The idea of having a “one-stop” on-line “store” for multiple raceways could offer some benefits. It would offer greater convenience of online shopping for hobbyists and racers while increasing their likelihood of purchasing from local raceways (where there are “local” raceways, not everyone being so lucky…), especially if offered the “shipping” or “store pick-up” option. Also, it could hopefully be simpler and cheaper than every raceway owner having to expend time, effort, and money to create stand-alone websites for their online sales.

 

As I said, just a thought, with possibly more problems than it might be worth.

 

Any other ideas?

 

Rick / CMF3


  • Cheater likes this

#21 Cheater

Cheater

    Headmaster of the asylum

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,965 posts
  • Joined: 14-February 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Norcross, GA

Posted 30 November 2017 - 12:22 PM

To bring this back to slot car racing, we have no such visibility. Our most common comment when speaking to new, potential customers is "I had no idea they still did that." Every news report frames the mere existence of a local slot car track as some form of quaint throwback. "Slot cars are back!" is the refrain that attempts to draw from an ever-dwindling pool of nostalgia rather than selling the hobby on its strengths.


I also believe this is a critical element. And in the past, the universal rejoinder to this point is that "there's no money anywhere in the industry to advertise and promote at a level that will bring results."

And I feel that is another easy "boogieman" to blame. Since the birth of the internet, the ability to place a message or offer in front of the world of 'eyeballs' has become much, much, much more cost effective. Which is why advertisers are abandoning traditional ad venues, like print, TV, etc., for the online arena at a game-changing level.

But, Rubberboy Roy selling his slot car tires on eBay, Facebook, or his website has little or no effect on the visibility of the hobby/pasttime where his products are used. There's virtually no one, as Justin said, "selling the hobby on its strengths." And as cheaply as that can be done online these days, the question that has to be asked is: why the hell not?


  • Half Fast likes this

Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#22 Justin A. Porter

Justin A. Porter

    Race Leader

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 711 posts
  • Joined: 08-August 08
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:North Ridgeville, OH

Posted 30 November 2017 - 12:32 PM

Would it be possible to create a web service with a common webpage home link that would allow raceways to join, and be able to somehow list their inventory (or available to order items) for on-line purchase? Would a collective effort like this be better financially for the raceways? Who would take on the initial set-up, and maintenance of the web site, and how would they be compensated?

 
The raw truth of the matter is that such a service already exists: Amazon. 
 
Amazon, for the most part, is an aggregation site. They have nothing to do with the items that you purchase through their site, but rather act as a portal by which to find these items from specialized vendors. Granted, becoming an Amazon affiliate means co-operating with their shipping expectations, payment processing, and keeping a hyper-accurate online inventory for potential customers but it is an avenue. 
 
Strangely enough, as of this moment when I search "slot car" through Amazon, I find no 1/24 representation, but a ton of HO and 1/32 representation. Now, to my mind, this tells me that when modern housewives hear from their husbands, "I want to get our kid a slot car like I used to have for Christmas" and go to the biggest online sales site to find one, they don't find any path to our portion of the hobby.
  • Cheater, macman and Rick Moore like this
Operator - Haven Raceway in Elyria, OH
Series Director - Ohio Challenge Cup

#23 Cheater

Cheater

    Headmaster of the asylum

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,965 posts
  • Joined: 14-February 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Norcross, GA

Posted 30 November 2017 - 12:34 PM

Would it be possible to create a web service with a common webpage home link that would allow raceways to join, and be able to somehow list their inventory (or available to order items) for online purchase? Would a collective effort like this be better financially for the raceways? Who would take on the initial set-up, and maintenance of the web site, and how would they be compensated?


Rick, thanks for chiming in.

In the past, Parma (and Slick 7 I think) participated in the Shopatron system which incorporated some of the concepts you mention. Someone seeing the products listed on the manufacturer's website could purchase via the embedded Shopatron app, and their order would be sent to the raceway nearest the customer's location for fulfillment if at all possible, and fulfilled directly by the manufacturer if that wasn't possible for whatever reason (I think; not 100% sure about this part). Shopatron was purchased by another company a while ago and as far as I know, no one in the slot industry is using the new scheme, if there even is one.

I think creating a higher level of demand (for example through more visibility, as Justin said) would take much higher priority over the nuts and bolts of product distribution, but that's just me.


Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#24 Eddie Fleming

Eddie Fleming

    Checkered Flag in Hand

  • Full Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,064 posts
  • Joined: 27-April 14
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Fayetteville, GA

Posted 30 November 2017 - 12:37 PM

Luckily my racers understand without casual rentals and birthday parties, I'm eventually out of business, and they are very good about adjusting/adapting to the situation.
 
And I limit walk-ins to access to certain tracks, at certain times, all the time.
 
As far as birthday parties and screaming five-year olds, while that happens, it is certainly the worst case scenario.
 
There are also parties with polite, well behaved nine-year olds, some that have entertaining senses of humor.
 
They are also cases of pluses for the racers, where they are the recipient of free marshaling from the kids, leftover pizza and birthday cake, and upper middle-class attractive moms walking around.


I think most racers are as you describe. and yes, the attractive moms do not hurt, not saying I had noticed any.
 
The problem is that we need more raceways. For that to happen someone needs to be able to say I can do that and it stands a chance of making a profit. Or at least it will support itself and I can do it because I love the hobby.
 
Can we make that happen is the question.
Eddie Fleming

#25 Cheater

Cheater

    Headmaster of the asylum

  • Root Admin
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,965 posts
  • Joined: 14-February 06
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Norcross, GA

Posted 30 November 2017 - 12:45 PM

Amazon, for the most part, is an aggregation site. They have nothing to do with the items that you purchase through their site, but rather act as a portal by which to find these items from specialized vendors.


Just a question about this.

I know I have seen stuff I've bought on Amazon noted as coming from anther party, but at times it seems it will be shipped by Amazon themselves. And there's plenty of info on the web about Amazon's huge warehouses where they inventory and ship.

Is Amazon not a dual-level system, where they do have lots of stuff they sell direct? I acknowledge you did say "for the most part."


Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap






Electric Dreams Online Shop