The Tom Lock Retail Concept

Thomas Lock’s background is in binocular repair and servicing. He is a director and shareholder of Opticalia Limited owners of So Tom knows what goes into a good binocular or scope. Experience has taught him that optical quality is of paramount importance. But it has also taught him that the quality of the materials and the standard of engineering involved in the construction of the instrument have to be of a similar standard to the optics for it to function to it’s full potential.

Over the past twenty years the standard of the optics of entry level instruments has improved dramatically. This is largely due to new glass material employed, improved automated manufacturing processes and to the huge advances made in lens coating technology. These factors have improved the optical performance of entry level and intermediate optics beyond all recognition. Sadly the same cannot be said for the mechanical components because this is where compromises can be hidden that are driven by the current sales process that is price driven rather than quality driven.

For an optical instrument to sell to a potential retail customer, whether it be a binocular or a scope, there has to be a visual ‘Wow’ factor when they first look through the instrument and this can only come from the quality of the optical components. The fact that the mechanical components are of a much lower standard will only become apparent after a period of use in the field. The plastic twist-up eyecups may fail, the instrument may loose collimation and become optically uncomfortable or even impossible to use, the skimpy strap may fail resulting in a damaging fall. Worst of all it may be that once damaged the instrument is found to be financially un-repairable. Lenses or prisms may have been glued in place rather placed in adjustable cradles making adjustment impossible – sad but all too often true!

Now we are not saying that all entry level or intermediate binoculars will fail, but we are saying the chances are high for the following reason, and the culprit is that initial optical ‘Wow’ factor coupled to the marketing package and the price which are all designed to get the instrument off the dealers shelf and into the customers possession as painlessly as possible. All these factors are the drivers that lead to corners being cut, compromises being made, and eventual problems down the line.

We are not saying that high street dealers are wilfully deceiving their customers, they are not. They are providing an instrument at a price point and packaged and presented in a way that the customer demands. But times are changing, and Tom has looked at the current selling process, not with a salesman’s or storekeeper’s eyes, but with the eyes of one who really knows from the inside out what makes an optical instrument, be they binocular, monocular or scope, good value for money. What has made Tom think he has come up with an answer that will give the consumer a far better deal is the power of the internet.

To fully understand the new ‘Tom Lock’ value for money approach to selling we need to have a look at the current sales process that take a pair of binoculars off a retailers shelf and into a customers hands. Put simply the process follows these basic steps:

  1. An importer or manufacturer identifies the need for a product at a specific price point in the market place and sources a factory to produce the product.
  2. The factory produces the product to specification.
  3. The marketing department produce the eye catching packaging and point of sale material.
  4. The product is imported from the other side of the world and stored in the buyers expensive warehouse.
  5. The product is handed over to the companies sales department, whose highly paid representatives in their expensive rep-mobiles and with their expense accounts, go out into the market place and sell the product to their customers in the trade, either retailers or wholesalers.
  6. The advertising department then spends a small fortune on advertising and promoting the product in the media to bring it to the attention of the public and create a demand for the product.
  7. The dealer buys the product and displays it in his highly expensive retail premises.
  8. The dealer then spends a further small fortune advertising and promoting the product to insure he gets a share of the market for the product.
  9. The product, due to its expensive ‘Wow’ factor finds a new home with the satisfied customer.

All the above steps in the sales process are costly and unavoidable and have to be paid for by the consumer when he buys the product from any high street store or from that stores website!

So how does Tom do things differently? Let’s look at the ‘Tom Lock’ sales process and see why it is so radically different to the process we have just looked at.

  1. Tom talks directly with the factory which produces the product, (the same product as before), remember he has been buying spare parts from the factories for years and has good relations with them.
  2. The factory produces the product.
  3. The product is shipped halfway round the world, as before, it is inspected and then placed in a secure storage facility.
  4. The product is placed on our website and is sold and despatched direct to the customer.

It’s not hard to see where the savings have been made:

  • No expensive marketing department.
  • No expensive presentation packaging material.
  • No expensive point of sale material.
  • No expensive warehouse.
  • No expensive sales force.
  •  No expensive dealers or middlemen adding margin.
  • No expensive advertising budgets. Tom relies on word of mouth and personal recommendation.

But the main difference is in the product itself. Because of all the savings Tom has made he does not have to put pressure on the manufacturer to cut corners to save money so the product can be competitive. Any Tom Lock product is built to the highest standards; if Tom says the optics are ‘multi coated’ he doesn’t mean just the front element and the back, the ones you see, he means all of them. You can be sure the instrument isn’t glued together because it will be Tom that fixes it if anything goes wrong! You won’t find skimpy straps that will let you down. You can be sure the glass material is the best available. Buy from Tom Lock direct to get a top spec product at a price you can afford – no frills just great value for money, and backed by a no quibble Tom Lock guarantee!

Buy wise – Buy safe!