At ICAST this year, Shimano introduced a lot of new products, including new jigs, fishing rods, fishing reels, and clothing that all come in several colors and models. We are talking a lot of additions! In the next few days we will be putting them up on our web site. What Shimano didn’t introduce is a new catalog! WTF?
If you’ve ever met me or spoken with me you know that I am a big technology guy. I have accepted the future is a paperless one and have all of my important documents in the cloud. This includes price sheets, catalogs, invoices, bills, and more. I have a scanner on my desk at work and everything paper gets fed into that and turned into a PDF file. I can’t stand paper, but that doesn’t mean that a major manufacturer that produces thousands of SKUs shouldn’t have a paper catalog.
I understand where Shimano is coming from. I really do. It is expensive to print a paper catalog, but it is more expensive not to. Have you ever heard the saying “Penny wise, pound foolish?” That clearly applies here. I’ll give you a good example. In our physical store we help customers. We are not like Home Depot where you can walk the aisles forever and can’t get any help. We are there to give you the best advice possible. When the store gets very busy as it does often, it is good for our staff to have an easy reference to answer customer questions. Shimano makes a huge number of products. It would be ridiculous to expect that every one of our employees knows the max drag of every reel Shimano makes, or the number of guides on every rod, as well as those of every other manufacturer off the top of their head. In the store we need something tangible to look at.
The J&H web site actually has more information about all of Shimano’s products than a Shimano catalog would, but not every one of our employees has a smart phone. Some are older and haven’t embraced technology. It also doesn’t make financial sense for me to provide every employee, full time and part time, a smart phone when Shimano just could have printed a catalog. Every other major manufacturer did.
There is a good chance that without that reference, Shimano will not get the push they normally get from our employees. If an employee feels more comfortable pushing Penn or Daiwa because they have easier access to information that they can use to answer customer questions, then they will probably lean towards those brands.
This was a bad decision by Shimano. I hope they will return to printing paper catalogs.