Need homework help! Knife industry questions.


knife law moderator
Dec 25, 1998
I am taking a marketing class. I am doing a project based on an on-line knife dealer. I need some info. I am sure a knife company or dealer has done some research.

Is there a need for on-line knife dealers? Why?

Dennis Bible

....Almost here, The Leading Edge....
Look to the left side of this post. See my location? It's either buy online or buy at Wal-mart and they seem to be fresh out of all the knives I'll ever be interested in.

If I couldn't buy online, I couldn't buy.

Tráceme no sin la razón, envoltura mi no sin honor
Usual Suspect
Here's another: The ability to determine which dealer has what in stock at any given time.
I buy online for two reasons. 1) there are no decent knife stores local to me 2) I couldn't afford their prices if they were local to me.

So, I buy online. Ain't the web great?

With mulitple dealers available online, the consumer has exposure to a greater selection of inventory.


Let no one ever from henceforth say one word in any way countenancing war. It is dangerous even to speak of how here and there the individual may gain some hardship of soul by it. For war is hell, and those who institute it are criminals. Siegfried Loraine Sassoon
One of the reasons that I shop on-line is wide selection of products offered. Brick and mortar shops never seem to have nearly as much to choose from.


Driving the the rationale for many online consumers is that walking through the mall in one's underware is not advisable...add to that carrying a large, sharp-edged object. Uniformed personnel won't know whether to take you to jail or a padded room.

The reasons? Likely privacy, convenience, and value driven by an educatated consumer.


[This message has been edited by Ron@SOG (edited 03-09-2001).]
I buy knives online because:

The selection is better
The prices are better
It doesn't matter if it's 3 am
I don't have to go to the mall or across town
I'm already oline anyway, may as well pick up a knife while I'm here
Some pieces are difficult to find in stores
When the package comes in the mail a week or so later, it's like presents!
There's only one decently stocked knife store in my area, it's on the other side of town, and it's very expensive.
If I lived in, say, La Mesa, I would buy more of my knives at an actual store
For Sale Forum

Jason aka medusaoblongata
"Is not giving a need? Is not receiving mercy?" - Thus Spoke Zarathustra
"Cutting his throat is only a momentary pleasure and is bound to get you talked about." - Lazarus Long
"Knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting." - Michel Foucault
Reading these other answers reminded me of another reason I like to buy online -- on a telephone line.

I would think, like in the old days, when you walk into a store, you get personal, friendly service. These days when you walk into a store, you have no idea what you're going to get. Even some proprietors don't know their stock, let alone the helpless young help. Even the ones who really want to help.

But when I call our online dealers, they are smart, friendly, knowledgeable, and trustworthy. (I only deal with the best!)

In theory, I would have expected the disembodied voice not to really care about me, just one more small-time customer. I would expect a brick & mortar, with their overhead, to value and cherish each and every potential buyer who walks in the door.

But it seems to be the cutting edge of commerce, on the internet, that does what it takes these days to make us come back for more. No, we don't need online dealers. But they make life a little bit more like fun.
Great points Medusa and Esav,
The great thing about the internet is that you can make a call and chances are you're going to be talking to the owner.
Good example, I had a shipping question about something I ordered from 1SKS and called them Friday. Mike picked up the phone and took care of it. No dealing with minimum wage flunkies that really don't care one way or the other.

There is also a VERY powerful thrill to be gotten from the "present" aspect that Medusa mentions.
Kinda like Christmas in March!

(yeah, I know I paid for it don't bust my bubble!)

Tráceme no sin la razón, envoltura mi no sin honor
Usual Suspect
In addition to the excellent reasons posted here, the on - line market provides the opportunity for improved market research for the brick and mortar people regarding knives to sell.

For example, if you are a brick and mortar shop, you need to have a certain amount of turn over to cover the expenses of maintaining your shop. Often this means a lease, employees, etc. Further, you probably are on a net 30 arrangement or something similar with your major knife suppliers, so regardless of whether you sell the knife or not you have to pay for it. Now, periodically you will have some custom maker, or maybe some small startup which will sell on a consignment basis (you pay when it sells), but there are other concerns over warranty, reputation, etc. Thus, the tendency is to become conservative with the stock you carry. Main brand names, few customs if any, that sort.

On - line dealers, however have significantly lower costs. Add to this that many are part time (in the sense that the knife business is not sole income) and you have a venue that economically has the ability to take greater risks with their stock. Further, particularly with higher priced knives (say $75 or more) the customer typically wants to handle and see the knife before purchasing it. Many would be willing to pay a premium to do so. Thus, the on - line dealers only have price as a leverage against brick and mortar people for "common" knives. However, they have a significant advantage over brick and mortar for the more difficult to attain knives, in that if you can't handle it anyway, price becomes a more significant factor.

However, by watching what is getting popular over the internet, brick and mortar dealers can expand their line to include those which show more popularity, improving the selection for the customer. This drives customer demand for more new stuff, and the cycle continues.

I'll give one example I can think of. 15 years ago, every knife shop carried Buck knives. However, very few carried the two "custom" models that Buck advertised as their "premium" hunting knives. In many cases because of cost, and concern about moving them. This is even after the knives had been out for several years and carrying the Buck name. Today, almost as soon as the Buck Strider folder was released, it was in stores. (I even saw it in Hong Kong) I would lay pretty strong odds this wouldn't have happened pre - internet days because of the cost, and the special purpose nature of the knife, much like the "custom" Bucks of previous years. Now, there is much greater feeling that this stock will move, and the profit on the sale is better than for more traditional products.

Go here and read this article I wrote about the subject. Hope it helps.

Just click on the forward button on the bottom to get tot hte next page.

Best Regards,
Mike Turber
BladeForums Site Owner and Administrator
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Americans are becoming a lot more selective in purchases because so many speciality products are now avaiable from catalogs and online. Why go to your local K-Mart and buy a simple, ordinary shirt, the same one your friends will be wearing, when you can turn to a catalog or online retailer and find something unusual. Why settle for Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large which is all your local K-Mart can stock, when a catalog or .com can deliver exact sizes?

Knives are much the same. With dozens of companies offering scores of models each, plus variants within those models (serrated, combo, or plain blade, standard finish or black coated, different colored bolsters and inserts, etc.), few retail stores can stock them all. Very few communities are large enough to support a knife shop that can.

Remember, though, that the www in a website's URL stands for World Wide Web. It's world-wide. That community is large enough to support multiple knife shops large enough to stock every variant of every model from every make. Wow!

The finally key to the explosion of catalog and .com dealers is delivery. The brick-and-mortar dealer can, if he has the knife you want in stock, put it in your hand right there. But with overnight and second-day air delivery, a mail order or .com dealer can come pretty close.

What .com dealers lack is personal service. When was the last time your favorite .com called YOU up and said, "We just got a few of that knife you wanted in. You know that they're very scarce. We sold all but one of 'em this morning. But, I knew you wanted one, so I set one aside for you. Next time you're in the area, just stop by and pick it up."

When was the last time your favorite catalog called and said, "There was a guy in the store this morning who wanted to sell us some knives from his collection, the sort of stuff you like. Well, we're a bit over-stocked on second-hand stuff right now, but I told him I'd pass his phone number on to you since it looked like nice stuff, the sort of stuff you'd be interested in."

And when was the last time that the operator on your favorite 1-800 number took the time to "shoot the breeze" with you, maybe share the latest industry gossip?

Balisongs -- because it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing!

[This message has been edited by Gollnick (edited 03-13-2001).]