Survey regarding Online Model Railroad Shopping

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#1
Hello,
I have had the thought recently of starting an online Model Railroad store as a business. I'd like to get your input on the feasibility of doing a store.


1. How often do you shop online compared to a physical storefront?


2. What are your biggest concerns when shopping online, for model railroad supplies?


3. What is your biggest draw to online model railroad shopping?


4. If you do shop online, what would you like to see more of? (types of supplies, pricing, etc.)
 
#2
I shop online mainly to see what's avaialbe that the LHS might not have on hand. I rarely buy that way, although I frequently 'browse' online. I try to buy from the LHS whenever possible. (see other discussions on this subject)

The biggest concern of shopping online is questions about the reliability of the vendor, and whether they actually have the item(s) in stock. Many won't confirm one way or the other, and the only way you find out they don't have the item is after waiting a long time and not receiving it.

The biggest draw to shopping on line is selection. Price would be the second most important factor. If I didn't have a good LHS that discounts, the order might be reversed.

The one thing I'm most likely to buy online is tools and specialty items not usually found in hobby shops. Micro-Mark is one online resource I'm particularly fond of.
 

N-gauged

Off The Rails
#3
Well you will hear this over and over when comparing online to brick and mortar.
That you should do what ever you can to support your LHS.
Well for most people the LHS is lacking in the L part.

The nearest shop to my house is 40 miles one way.
An 80 mile round trip with gas as high as it is, is just out of the question.

With online even with shipping I can almost always save money versus making a trip to the LHS.

There are a few well known online stores that have reasonable prices and can be trusted to deliver the goods.
I don't like going on sites that are complicated to navigate and doesn't have pics of any thing they sell.
Sometimes I know what I'm looking for but not totally sure what I'm looking for and need a pic to verify an item.

I don't like when online stores charge too much for shipping and they don't combine.
 
#4
1. How often do you shop online compared to a physical storefront?
Never bought model railroading stuff from an online hobbyshop, as I have never needed/had funds to do so. I am planning to buy some things online in the future, though. E-bay doesn't count, I imagine. I have bought lots of other stuff - books, tools, etc. online.


2. What are your biggest concerns when shopping online, for model railroad supplies?
Shipping costs. The cost of shipping is a problem when ordering small amounts of anything, and I do not have funds for large orders.

3. What is your biggest draw to online model railroad shopping?
Finding what I need! I am primarily interested in the 1850s and 1860s (yes, nineteenth century!), there is very little carried in hobbyshops locally or online that I can use.

4. If you do shop online, what would you like to see more of? (types of supplies, pricing, etc.)
I can think of a lot stuff I would like to see manufactured at reasonable prices, but as for suggestions for a distributer, I don't have any suggestions right now.
Edited to add: N-gauged's point about pictures is a good one.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

ianacole

Active Member
#5
1. How often do you shop online compared to a physical storefront?
I spend more time shopping with my LHS than online, but will shop/order online if I cannot find it at my LHS. I'd say 15-20% of my purchases have been online. I am not including eBay in this.


2. What are your biggest concerns when shopping online, for model railroad supplies?
Listing items as available without actually having stock on hand. Search here, numerous threads about online stores taking forever to deliver a product, and sometimes not, because they show quantity for something they don't actualy have.


3. What is your biggest draw to online model railroad shopping?
I'm busy, if I cannot make the time to get to my LHS I can spend just a couple of minutes online and have it delivered to the house. The other draw is the ability to find items that my LHS may not be able to stock, like older craftsman kits.


4. If you do shop online, what would you like to see more of? (types of supplies, pricing, etc.)
Most online shops' search functions are horrible. Caboose Hobbies, my nearest LHS, has an amazing search feature. I can filter on just about everything to find what I'm looking for, without having to sift through pages of stuff that hold no interest for me. I actually shop a lot online through Caboose Hobbies web front, as they offer the option of doing all the shopping/paying through their website, then I can pick it up at the store.
 

ossroy

New Member
#6
I buy almost all of my locos and rolling stock on eBay, because I can't pass up the bargain basement prices that I can find there. I rarely buy from non-eBay online stores, with the exception of Charles Ro, where I got a couple of incredible deals on G locomotives. However I do occasionally buy locos/rolling stock from the LHS if something catches my eye. I count on the LHS mostly for tools and supplies like couplers, wheelsets, decals, scratchbuilding supplies, paint, detail parts, etc. You know, the little brown paper bag that costs $40+. :)
 



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