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Wh Smith Has Acquired Cult Pens


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#1 Chrissy

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 11:54

I just saw this announcement on Stationery Matters that confirms WH Smith has acquired Cult Pens.

 

For their UK and International buyers it will be interesting to see what happens next. 



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#2 migo984

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 12:05

This was posted earlier on FPG. It’s sad news.

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#3 usk15

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 12:11

Noooooo....



#4 dennis_f

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Posted 04 February 2018 - 18:43

If WHSmith's stated goal is to grow their stationery business, and Cult Pens has been relatively successful, in a market different than the one WHS normally competes in, is it not possible that this might not be bad news? That maybe WHS really does just want to break into a broader and steadily growing market?

 

(I'm trying not to be pessimistic here).


Edited by dennis_f, 05 February 2018 - 06:08.


#5 hari317

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 05:24

Oh. I was a regular customer of Cult pens, fair prices, broad product variety and fast service. I have bought from WHS also, esp their deep discount all steel lamy 2000s in EF. Lamy Heidelberg rescued me by doing a nib exchange to B.


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#6 AmandaW

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 10:55

I've been a regular customer of Cult Pens. Had never heard of WH Smith so I just looked at their website - it doesn't bode well - aside from the site not working properly, the range of fountain pens on offer is mediocre. Look at all those medium nibs...  :(


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#7 Inkling13

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 16:31

We forget, for every company buying another, there is a company willing to be sold. Did CultPens sell out? More than likely.

#8 Bluey

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 17:10

I think this is best withholding judgment rather than jumping to conclusions that it's going to be bad. I don't see anything ominous here.


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#9 Dip n Scratch

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 19:01

I have been using the WH Smith site to check prices. For some reason the 'thumbnail' pictures of the pens do not load.

I have not bought pens or inks there since I was a employee & had a discount.

To be honest you can do better elsewhere.



#10 Flounder

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 19:17

I hope the cultists continue to have some involvement, Cult Pens has been fantastic up to now. I remember they helped out a lot when I wanted an all steel & chrome guilloche Kaweco Sport. The site has the best layout of any online pen store I visit and a great range - really like my Smartfit case!


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#11 Parkette

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Posted 05 February 2018 - 19:33

It all depends on whether the business is to be incorporated within WHS plc, which is likely,  or allowed to be a stand alone operation.

 

I have been involved in 8 acquisitions of USD1bn+ companies buying USD1m companies and the smaller company gets swamped by plc procedures to the point where they no longer have control over the business.

 

If Cult are fortunate it will only be a share holding arrangement and the business will be allowed to continue as it is.


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#12 Eccles

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 11:26

I was surprised that the latest Cult Pens newsletter is totally silent on the subject of the takeover.

Glenn.



#13 garyc

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 23:23

I hope the cultists continue to have some involvement, Cult Pens has been fantastic up to now. I remember they helped out a lot when I wanted an all steel & chrome guilloche Kaweco Sport. The site has the best layout of any online pen store I visit and a great range - really like my Smartfit case!


If the WHS web designers get hold of the the Cult Pens web site then they are doomed. As already noted, the images consistently fail to load on the WHS site (they only showed for me using the Microsoft browser, whatever it is called now). I gave up trying to buy a diary and some books the other day as the checkout wouldn’t work. At least I didn’t get pestered to buy a 1kg bar of chocolate at the same time.

#14 Flounder

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 23:29

If the WHS web designers get hold of the the Cult Pens web site then they are doomed. As already noted, the images consistently fail to load on the WHS site (they only showed for me using the Microsoft browser, whatever it is called now). I gave up trying to buy a diary and some books the other day as the checkout wouldn’t work. At least I didn’t get pestered to buy a 1kg bar of chocolate at the same time.

 

Out of curiosity, I just tried it. For me, WHS search results (say for a Duofold) show no pictures in Firefox or Palemoon, but do show up in Chrome.


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#15 garyc

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 12:36

Actually, things may have improved.

 

Of the browsers I have in Windows 7: Firefox, Vivaldi, Opera, Chrome, Internet Explorer and Chrome, only Firefox fails to render properly and not show any images. Palemoon appears to be a fork of Mozilla, so it figures that it has the same problems as Firefox.

 

Last night on my iPad (using Safari) I tried to order something. With a diary in my shopping basket and selecting the delivery option, the Continue to Checkout button did absolutely nothing. Just checked in Win7 and there is the same behaviour in Opera, but proceeds to secure login with Firefox, Vivaldi, Chrome and IE. 

 

Since I do much of my shopping online from home on the iPad, it is a bit limiting.



#16 Newjelan

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 04:37

I just hope that Cult Pens remains Cult Pens, separate from WHS.

#17 anemography

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 16:32

It's baffling how many major retailers can't get a faceted search implemented on their website, but tiny retailers like Goulet and Cult Pens can do it.



#18 alanshutko

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 16:54

It's baffling how many major retailers can't get a faceted search implemented on their website, but tiny retailers like Goulet and Cult Pens can do it.

 

 

Well, here's why.

 

If you're a new online retailer, you can pick up an eCommerce platform mostly off the shelf that has catalogs built in, can track inventory, integrates with payment gateways, offers an interface to internal people helping customers, handles customer communication or integrates with another CRM, etc.  Those give you a lot of capabilities out of the box, and there are marketplaces for different plugins.

 

But if you're an existing retailer, you have a lot of stuff already to support your brick and mortar stores. You already have an inventory system which has to handle a lot more than just "in stock" because it also manages the inventory for all the retail stores. You already have a payment processor that handles all the point of sale machines in the stores, and you want to use the same one for your website so you keep the volume discounts on processing fees. You've got some weird business logic you need to handle, like being able to return certain items to your nearest store.  

 

Each of those differences makes it more difficult to just pick something up off the shelf. Either you have to build a lot of plugins for the new platform, or you have to rebuild the capabilities for whatever you have today.  Either way is a lot more work than it was for a small company that just started, because you have all that existing stuff to deal with.

 

So it comes down to, does the retail store think that it's important enough to fix their web experience? A lot of retailers get stuck in the trap that their physical stores matter most and web is an afterthought, and those are the retailers that don't bother to fix their websites.



#19 anemography

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 00:16

It's harder dealing with legacy, but the big companies can afford to pay developers. Your system of engagement doesn't have to be coupled in lockstep to your system of record. 

 

Some high street retailers manage it - compare https://www.paperchase.eu to  http://schuh.ie

One of them might look pretty, but that's about all it does. 


Edited by anemography, 10 February 2018 - 00:30.


#20 alanshutko

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 00:37

It's harder dealing with legacy, but the big companies can afford to pay developers. Your system of engagement doesn't have to be coupled in lockstep to your system of record. 

 

 

You're right. That's where corporate blindness comes in. If the company is short-sighted, it will look at the cost and say "Why should I pay this when my retail stores are doing well?" Then, when online takes over, they start saying "I can't afford this, my retail stores aren't making as much money anymore!"

 

In other words, Kodak and the film business, even though they were early leaders in digital cameras.








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