Alpkit

Please be fair and thoughtful in your opinions. No rants please.
mercalia
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Alpkit

Postby mercalia » 25 May 2017, 9:15pm

I am really puzzled by this company. I like their products and have their elephants foot and Hunka bivvy bag, but what sort of company has a "Sold Out" for most of its bag stock, esp nearing summer time. I am suprised they remain in business :!: :?: :!: :?: :!: :?:

What would you do if you went to your local Sainsbuys and just found empty shelves? Not bother going back? and go else where

sold out.JPG
sold out
Last edited by mercalia on 25 May 2017, 10:24pm, edited 1 time in total.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Alpkit

Postby Tangled Metal » 25 May 2017, 9:27pm

The bag I wanted is out of stock until the last week of my holiday. Time for plan B I reckon.

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RickH
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Re: Alpkit

Postby RickH » 25 May 2017, 10:31pm

mercalia wrote:I am really puzzled by this company. I like their products and have their elephants foot and Hunka bivvy bag, but what sort of company has a "Sold Out" for most of its bag stock, esp nearing summer time. I am suprised they remain in business :!: :?: :!: :?: :!: :?:

What would you do if you went to your local Sainsbuys and just found empty shelves? Not bother going back?and go else where

I think a lot of their kit was made in China, which can cause supply delays for a small company (I've encountered that in the past with another company in a non-cycling field). They seem to be gradually moving more production back to the UK which should improve things.

To their credit, stuff they do have in stock is despatched promptly & seems to be well made.

Side note: there seems to be a bit of a no-man's-land when small companies grow where they can suffer supply problems unless they have someone with deep pockets to fund a leap in stock levels.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Alpkit

Postby Tangled Metal » 25 May 2017, 10:45pm

They've always had this issue. Batches of bags sell out quickly then a couple of months wait for new batch. It's actually supposed to be a lot better these days though.

rualexander
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Re: Alpkit

Postby rualexander » 26 May 2017, 12:21am

There's a high demand for their stuff, I've seen several used items on ebay sold for more than the new price direct from Alpkit.

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pjclinch
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Re: Alpkit

Postby pjclinch » 26 May 2017, 8:50am

mercalia wrote:I am really puzzled by this company. I like their products and have their elephants foot and Hunka bivvy bag, but what sort of company has a "Sold Out" for most of its bag stock, esp nearing summer time. I am suprised they remain in business :!: :?: :!: :?: :!: :?:


Selling all your stock is a much nicer problem for a business to have than not selling any of it...

mercalia wrote:What would you do if you went to your local Sainsbuys and just found empty shelves? Not bother going back? and go else where


Sainsbury's is a rather different business though. If they've nothing for me to buy I go hungry on the order of hours to days, which isn't quite the same proposition as a bag I'd expect to be using for a good 10 years. So if it's something I can do without for now, unlike food, I might be tempted to wait and keep an eye on stock (and I do that via a web browser, which is a bit easier than going to the physical shop) and if it's around I've another option, and if it isn't I go elsewhere.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

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honesty
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Re: Alpkit

Postby honesty » 26 May 2017, 12:11pm

Buying too much stock and then having to flog it cheap can kill a small business (it's one of the reasons being attributed to the death of Vulpine). Alpkit seems to be doing the far more sensible option of only ordering what they know they can sell.

PH
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Re: Alpkit

Postby PH » 26 May 2017, 2:09pm

honesty wrote:Buying too much stock and then having to flog it cheap can kill a small business

Likewise holding stock is expensive in itself, particularly if the money tied up in it isn't your own. Cash flow is probably the most common feature of business failure, even those with good product and marketing. The Alpkit model of batch purchasing on estimated demand pretty much ensures a faster turnover even if it increases the likelihood of items being out of stock. They're also very keen on people pre-ordering, it's a good indicator of demand. The reputation for stuff going out of stock might sometimes work in their favour, buying something sooner than you might if you were sure it would remain in stock. Of course it only works if the product is seen as better in some way than alternatives, they seem to have that sorted, though I wonder if the same business model will work in the new shop.

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Re: Alpkit

Postby PH » 26 May 2017, 2:21pm

RickH wrote:I think a lot of their kit was made in China, which can cause supply delays for a small company (I've encountered that in the past with another company in a non-cycling field). They seem to be gradually moving more production back to the UK which should improve things.

My limited knowledge of China manufacturing is that factory time booked well in advance and that's the only time they can make that product. This is/was something new when China industrialised. It was covered in a materials costing course I did some years ago, the economies of scale are huge, which partly accounts for China’s dominance even amongst other low cost economies.

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Re: Alpkit

Postby PH » 17 Jul 2018, 10:55am

Two purchases so far this year. First an Arro windproof jacket, packs up small and light so I'm carrying it all the time, keeps a bit of rain off, enough not to bother carrying a waterproof in the summer.
The other a top tube bag bought at Easter, the zip broke a couple of weeks ago, probably because I've been stuffing too much into it (Which I told them), asked Alpkit to have a look, returned FOC by printing a label and taking to the PO and they replaced it within a week. They no longer do it in the original grey colour, so rang me and offered a choice of others.
The Hathersage shop seems to be doing well, busy the couple of times I've been in. Very welcoming and at least one cycling enthusiast working there.

Bikes`n`guns
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Re: Alpkit

Postby Bikes`n`guns » 17 Jul 2018, 4:10pm

No idea what their kit is like as they have never had anything in stock that I was looking for at the time.

Looks good in the pictures, but the pictures seem to be all they have.

Nice kit, rubbish company.

hoppy58
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Re: Alpkit

Postby hoppy58 » 18 Jul 2018, 11:15am

I've bought a lot of stuff off Alpkit and always find them excellent to deal with. Free returns and no quibbles with replacing stuff. I think their stock is very reasonably priced and good quality - hence it sells out quickly, however they send you alerts as soon as it's back in stock, so you've just got to be patient!
I recently bought something at full price only to find that the following week it was reduced in a sale....I emailed them and they actually refunded me the difference, even though they didn't need to. Great, friendly company. Some of their bikepacking frame bags are actually made in house, not in China, however there will inevitably be a delay in manufacturing custom stuff.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Alpkit

Postby Tangled Metal » 18 Jul 2018, 11:47am

Their bikepacking bags are made in the UK now and they do a range of customisations. In fact if you asked for some custom feature not in their list of customisations they'll possibly do it for you. Very helpful if you contact them about making something special.

As for the out of stock issue it's a feature of their business model. They give good customer service and are very helpful / responsive when you contact them. However there is no way around the low price limited stock list business model. They only buy what they know will sell quickly. It allows a low margin, fast turnaround business to sell good kit at lower prices.

Whilst being out of stock is an issue for the customer wanting something quickly. They do keep you informed of future deliveries on they're site and you can very email alerts for when an out of stock item comes into stock. It's part of their approach to compensate for the business model by being open, honest and responsive.

That is my experience of them. I particularly like the free delivery aspect too. There's nothing worse than buying a £10 widget to end up paying £5 for delivery.

BTW if their level of customisation of bikepacking bags isn't enough for you I can suggest another company I've bought from successfully. PM me as it's not appropriate to mention a competitor on a thread about one supplier I think.