Here is a quick fact for you: Other than HockeyTron, no manufacturer in the Hockey Equipment industry sells directly to the customer. In every other industry, manufacturers jump at the opportunity to serve their consumers directly. Companies like Nike, Reebok, and Proctor and Gamble sell many of the products they produce directly to their consumers via their respective websites. This sales method is causing great concern amongst wholesale and retail companies alike. Up until recently, manufacturers wouldn't compete with their retail customers. What has completely changed the face of the game is the internet.
The retailers do very little work and spend so few dollars on buildings and employees but reap all the benefits of selling products to customers online all over the world. Online retailers also cause havoc in the retail marketplace by undercutting traditional retail stores and by being able to show an impressive amount of products than what would traditionally be available. It is difficult to see the size of an online retailer when all you're looking at is a computer screen. They could potentially not have a single thing! They could just be drop-shipping orders directly or be running an online business out of their own home with virtually 0 expenses.
The economy being what it is, even manufacturers are starting to feel the pressure of reaching profitable margins. That is why they are starting to take aim at the online marketplace, effectively cutting out the internet business from online retailers. Hockey manufacturers are going to wake up and smell the coffee one day. They will say to themselves "Why DON'T we just lower the retail prices of our items and sell direct to the consumer?" The facts are simple: Online retailers take the majority of the inventory away from the manufacturer and tend to go out of business if they are not able to heavily discount and in turn destroy the brands they are selling. In other industries, the manufacturers are beginning to realize that they don't need a middle-man retail store to validate their products: The products can speak for themselves now.
The internet has allowed manufacturers to sell directly to the consumer without opening expensive stores and most importantly, without suffering distribution markups. This is single-handedly the biggest difference maker from years past: Manufacturers are building direct relationships with customers, offering them products at prices thought to be unimaginable before this time. The manufacturer wins, but more importantly, the customer wins. That's why HockeyTron is proud to be the first manufacturer to sell directly to consumers in the hockey industry, and why we have seen so much success in our first year and a half of business. How long before Bauer, CCM, and Easton go direct to consumers?