Thursday, 12 June 2014

Paradigm shifts and fishing tackle

In 2006 Daniel Nissanoff predicted the massive rise in online trading . . . and more. In “Futureshop” he described how we were moving from a consumer culture based on legacy values – “these values have taught us to acquire new things and then grow old with them.” (as our ancestors did) to a new lifestyle based on “temporary ownership and marked by the continuous replacement of our personal possessions.”

Whilst Daniel’s book was about the online revolution which was gaining pace in 2006, the ebay story, and how businesses were adapting to accommodate online buying and selling, it was also about the changing attitudes of buyers in a global marketplace (us!)

One example he used was the Bugaboo Stroller (pushchairs in England), “the Porsche of the stroller world”. Previously only bought by the seriously wealthy; [more expensive than a Hardy Perfect!] in the new auction culture buying one made lots of sense. You could enjoy the pleasure, and baby’s comfort, of using it . . . . then auction it online when no longer needed. Also, there were no longer hang-ups about buying such items second hand. Win, win.

It’s been an interesting eight years since Daniel wrote his book. Ebay has almost become what Amazon was; it seems there are more businesses selling on there than individuals. Oddly, Amazon now provides a vehicle for, and encourages, individual sellers.

The online auctions suffered over the intervening years because they weren’t monitoring who or what was sold; and certainly didn’t have the specialist knowledge needed to do this. This saw the fraudsters and dodgy dealers take advantage, and use the medium to rape collectors and serious anglers. This scared many off.

The traditional live auctions fail to cater to the instant gratification required by today’s typical buyer. Who wants to wait six months for the next auction sale knowing that there will only be two winners when the hammer falls; one of those being the auctioneer? An auctioneer once told me that sometimes he had to “bounce the odd one off a wall” if he saw an enthusiastic bidder.

A friend summed it up when he said, “today’s collector is an ordinary Joe with a decent occupation and some disposable income.” He wants to use quality kit, and buy it ‘now’ at a fair price. For it to arrive in a couple of days, knowing it’s correct and has been checked over by someone who has some knowledge of the product . . . and know that a couple of years down the line he can sell it and upgrade to the latest ‘must have’. If he’s chosen wisely, and the market wind is in his favour, he may even sell at a profit; worst-case scenario, a minimal financial loss to balance against the pleasure of use and ownership.

This is the global marketplace we now exist in. Collectors/anglers come from all corners of the globe, some in places where it’s hard to imagine fly-fishing being part of the culture. Yet, the world is becoming a tiny place. We can now be fishing in Mongolia, Patagonia or New Zealand in not much longer than it used to take to travel to the north Scottish rivers.

Just as you can only make one first impression, trust is only broken once. It’s a vital element of our business and we intend to maintain it as we go forward.

It’ll be fascinating to see what the next eight years brings us.

©Brian Taylor 2014