While fully committed to their dealers—and even making plans to expand their retail network—fly rod maker Thomas & Thomas announced that today they will begin selling their products direct on ThomasandThomas.com.
“Whether we like it or not the internet is here to stay and is only going to grow in significance as a purchasing route for fly fishing enthusiasts.” said T&T owner Mark Richens. I anticipate a day when purchases online, equal or surpass purchases made in person at bricks and mortar stores. For this reason we need to make Thomas & Thomas products available via both channels.”
Read more in the Q&A posted just this morning on the T&T blog.
Full Press Release
Thomas & Thomas Announce Online Sales with Protection for Fly Shops
Greenfield, MA – July 3, 2012. USA fly rod maker, Thomas & Thomas, today announced it will commence selling fly rods and related products direct to customers through thomasandthomas.com.
Thomas & Thomas also announced a dealer protection program, to ensure direct sales will reward loyal dealers. These dealers have been allocated a defined geographical area and will receive a share of all direct sales in to their territory. This revenue share will take the form of a credit to be used against further trade purchases of products offered by T&T. Credits will be calculated by an independent third party on a quarterly basis.
For much of its history Thomas & Thomas sold directly via a highly regarded catalog and a small store at its factory premises while also supplying selected fly shops. By moving back to a ‘hybrid’ model of distribution, Thomas & Thomas is effectively returning to its original business plan.
Explaining the rationale behind the decision T&T owner, Mark Richens, explained,
“Whether we like it or not the internet is here to stay and is only going to grow in significance as a purchasing route for fly fishing enthusiasts. I anticipate a day when purchases online, equal or surpass purchases made in person at bricks and mortar stores. For this reason we need to make Thomas & Thomas products available via both channels.
The circumstances at Thomas & Thomas are somewhat unique – at present we do not have a large network of dealers although we aim to change that. We feel the need to be ‘upfront’ and make our strategy clear now, before we embark upon efforts to recruit new fly shops.
With regard to existing dealers, our protection plan will represent an improvement upon the current situation whereby online sellers encroach upon their territory. In the future, when someone from their locale buys a T&T rod online, often times they will be doing so from thomasandthomas.com, not from a competing online fly shop. Consequently the dealer will benefit from the sale financially – rightfully so, since they have been instrumental in developing our brand in their vicinity. Additionally I trust existing dealers will see the convenience of increased inventory levels at our factory and a greater effort placed upon demand creation by T&T.
I can’t deny the increased margin we will receive on direct orders will be important to our business compared with sales that take the sales representative / dealer route. Improved margins will allow us to invest in new product development and better serving all of our stakeholders – customers, fly shops and our own team of craftsmen and women. This is not about greed – if T&T were concerned only about maximizing profits we would have ‘offshored’ production a long time ago. It is about finding a business model that works within the dynamic structures of today’s fly fishing market.”
USA and International fly shops with an interest in carrying Thomas & Thomas rods and sharing in direct sales should contact Trevor Bross by telephone on 413-475-3840 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Thomas & Thomas:
Born in 1969, of an obsession to create the world’s finest fly rods, Thomas & Thomas strives to set the standard for craftsmanship, performance and aesthetics in rodmaking. From a small shop in rural New England, Thomas & Thomas builds timeless classics from bamboo and fiberglass and modern masterpieces incorporating the latest graphite technologies.
For more information please visit www.thomasandthomas.com.