Local shop vs. internet purchases

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by BrianTwig, May 16, 2006.

  1. BrianTwig

    BrianTwig Second Unit

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    Opinions on buying online. Of course, it is "better" to purchase from the local guy and support his brick and mortor operation as the money stays in the community. But when your on a tight budget, internet shopping can help a great deal.

    Is there actually a difference between the speakers bought at the local audio shop and bought online from places like accessories4less.com, audiophileliquidator.com, etc... just to name a few.

    Do the online and discount shops such as the above get "B-stock" or some other product that is not quite up to par, and the products that pass all inspections go to the local audio shops? Or are they identical in everyway?

    Obviously, you are giving up future service and relationship if you don't buy from the local shop. Thats a given.

    What are your thoughts and suggestions for buying from an online retailer for audio equipment?
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    The online stores, just as the B&M stores have to tell you if the item is b-stock or refurb. AC4L carries both refurb and new, and you can usually tell by the large difference in price. I've bought from AC4L many times and I highly recommend them.

    The only comment I might make is that now is a good time to be supporting your local shops because basically every one of my favorite local independent shops has been struggling if not gone out of business.
     
  3. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I *always* try and buy locally 1st. But I will not pay retail. I want a *reasonable* discount because I have a pretty good idea of what they pay for them. [​IMG] Sometimes that works, sometimes not.
     
  4. mylan

    mylan Screenwriter

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    I always try and buy local as well. I usually go to Hi Fi Buys, where I am a member of their AVID program, which gives you an additional 5% discount over the 10% I get for being a frequent customer and I always deal with the same guy. I bought a Denon 3806 at their May Private sale for $999.99.
     
  5. PaulT

    PaulT Supporting Actor

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    I always shop local B&M except for source material (SACD/DVDA, DVD's etc). Living in a 'semi-rural' area I still have good dealers to support, and have another couple about 50 miles away.

    Like Kevin I don't pay full MSRP or Retail, but I don't ask for blood from the retailer and try to develop a good relationship with all of them. When I walk in the door they know I am informed about what I want, know the prices and in most cases will walk out that day with the product I have come for at a suitable (in my mind) reduction in price - good for me, good for them.

    The OP question has been argued in every forum on the net, with those who support the local B&M and the others who suggest that they are gouging customers with their pricing. I decided a long time ago to support local businesses even if I have to pay more than 'internet prices'.
     
  6. dany

    dany Supporting Actor

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    I dont want a relationship,i want the best price i can get. If its within 50 bucks of the internet i'll buy,if not its the internet.
     
  7. SVS-Ron

    SVS-Ron Screenwriter

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    "Obviously, you are giving up future service and relationship if you don't buy from the local shop. Thats a given."

    No that's not a given Brian. Perhaps that would be true for a given piece of gear you got, but it just depends on what you buy, and from whom (you aren't perhaps going to get a warm welcome from that local shop when you bring in a piece of equipment you bought on-line naturally, but that doesn't mean the re-seller on-line can't/won't support your repair as quick or quicker than the store would have).

    We've all been burned by stores' poor service and knowledge of product, just as you can choose poorly with on-line vendors. If a seller on the web survives by selling a single brand, and it's representative of the factory AND the brand, I feel you are likely to get better service, today and in the future than any "brick and mortar" store can provide (if only because the seller IS the brand, whereas stores have little emotional attachment to any given product line).

    There are no hard and fast rules. One thing is certain, you are not going to survive long on the web selling substandard products or if you provide poor service. Stores' reputation tend to be much less widely scrutinized by comparison (customers simply don't "network" as they do when buying on the web). We're all for supporting local retailers (SVS only sells speakers and subs after all) but the world is changing. The high-overhead (and sadly) diminished level of service and expertise sometimes shown in "high end" stores, along with bloated prices (see "high overhead" above) means stores have to adapt, or will be run over by buyers that know what they want and aren't interested in paying more simply to walk away with it "today" in many cases.

    Brick and mortar stores aren't going away, but with the web as a viable sales (and service) medium that can provide competitive or better service and prices is here to stay too. If you don't feel as though you the most important customer to a given retailer (locally or on-line) then they are in for a tough time in the long run.

    We hated knowing more about products than the "sales people" in stores, we hated paying crazy prices for over-rated products, we hated having to go across town to find out something was out of stock. SVS and companies that sell factory direct are alternatives to that. On-line retailers that are NOT factory direct (and sell a whole host of brands and types of products) know they have to try harder to win your confidence, and earn it so you'll come back so in general I believe the impression that you can't get world-class service from small businesses that simply aren't in your town, is an idea that's quickly being replaced by "you find good and bad all over".

    On the web sales side anyway, the "bad" tend to be weeded out pretty quickly.

    Ron Stimpson
    SVSound.com
     
  8. BrianTwig

    BrianTwig Second Unit

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    Ron,

    Thanks for your post. You will actually be getting an email from me today to finalize my selection of an SVS sub. Can't decide between a couple models. And that's before I saw your post.

    Brian
     
  9. Andrew Pratt

    Andrew Pratt Producer

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    I thik Ron's nailed a lot of key points. Speaking personally I've had the pleasure of dealing with several online companies that offer first rate service and its a model I'm emulating with my own company as well. There's certinally a place for traditional B&M stores but the lines today are often blurred as many of them also have an online presence to augment their local store.
     
  10. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I've dealt with a number of online retailers, SVS included, who have provided excellent support. If you want quality local shops, you need to support them. I have no problem giving my business to an online/internet direct company if they give me great service AND a great product, though internet direct receiver and TV manufacturers aren't exactly common...some things I still like to buy local.
     
  11. Anthony_C

    Anthony_C Agent

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    I would love to support the local mom and pop stores, but since I live more than 12 miles from the nearest horse and buggie town I have to do most of shopping online. We live about 1-1.5 hrs from the nearest hifi buys, Circuit City, Best buy, Etc. I would end up spending more on gas than shipping, LOL. I like to do a lot more research on the company (reviews and opinioins) before I end up buying online. I am a firm believer in feedback.
     
  12. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    I have purchased from a lot of places over the years, including "high end" and "boutique" shops (not just for electronics). The very best, top of the line service I have ever gotten (outside of fine hotels and restaurants), was from two companies - SVS and Crutchfield.

    SVS treated me like I was an old friend, e-mailing me back in less time than most of my real friends take. They are top notch in all facets of manufacturing and retail - quality, dedication, service, shipping, and they'll even recommend a competitor if that's what you need.

    Crutchfield took my stupid mistake of melting the socket of a wiring harness with an errant soldering iron and made it seem like it was their fault; no matter how much I took the blame. The CS Tech actually went to the shelf, pulled the wiring harness out of a brand new unit, packaged it up and overnighted it to me. It came complete with a postage paid RMA and it was no charge. Try that with a B&M.
     
  13. Mike Shellito

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    I was dealing with this in January. I wanted to support my local hi-fi shop. My next door neighbor is part owner of the business, so I wanted to support it. I went in asking about receivers, and got the impression the sales guy wasn't interested in selling to me, I bought on-line. I tried again with a sub a month later. They showed me a couple in my price range with music, I wanted to see how it sounded with home theater, they brought me in to their theater room and showed me some other models with theater, but not the ones they showed me with music, which were the ones I woud have bought. They didn't offer to hook them up in their theater room, so I left and didn't give them my business. I bought an SVS on-line. I went in there a month later with a friend who did buy a sub from them. I was asking about the sub he was looking at, comparing it to the SVS, frequency response, etc. The response I got from them was: "can you trust them on-line? Maybe they sell on-line to hide their deficiences so they can't be tested against other models", blah blah blah. Valid points, but they put no validity to my on-line purchase, and they (owners) had never even heard of SVS, so they dismissed them outright. Being my next door neighbor, I thought he would want to wander over and listen to my equipment out of curiousity, but nope - not a word. So, I tried to support the local shop, but it was cheaper on line, and the customer satisfaction and service I got on-line was actually superior. It's a small population area I live in, so there's only one 1 hi-end shop in town. But I guess it boils down to "as long as your getting the product you need and the support you need, at your acceptable price", that's what matters.

    Mike
     
  14. PaulT

    PaulT Supporting Actor

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    I can't argue with that Mike.

    Another comment that needs to be made about online shopping is 'make sure you are buying from an Authorized Dealer' who is able to sell online. You may not have a Warranty otherwise.

    In my case none of the major HT products I own can be purchased online and still have a Warranty. dany I see that you have bought from a dealer for your B&W's if you have a Warrantied product.......
     
  15. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    It doesn't matter to much to me if I buy from an internet or b&m dealer. I consider all the important things like shipping charges, tax, return policies and fees, warranty, etc,. But the world is changing and as much as I'd like to see everyone be successfull, in the end it's not up to me whether a company stays in business or not. It's up to them.
     
  16. Jed M

    Jed M Cinematographer

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    As far as customer service goes, the reason I don't use B&M is because they don't even come close to offering the customer service I have received from Internet stores, AV123 and SVS being the top two that come to mind. If I could get that type of customer service from a local dealer I would probably buy from them and put up with their snobby, know it all attitudes.
     
  17. TimJC

    TimJC Stunt Coordinator

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    I shop online primarily for the cost/benefit ratio which tilts greatly in the favor of an informed purchaser when shopping online. But, the above quote definitely describes the experiences I've had at the Tweeter(Hi-Fi Buys) and a home cinema shop near me. Really makes me not want to shop there.


    Tim
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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    Keep in mind another factor. Simply put, there are some Internet products that we may never see in a retail store. These items that I'm referring to are items such as speakers - SVS, Rockets or Onix from AV123, etc. I've found it to be quite a nice feature for companies that offer a 30-day trial period for their products. If, for some reason, it doesn't work out for you - or, it wasn't what you expected, you can return it.

    Try that with a mom 'n pop shop, without being made to feel guilty. I'm sure there are some out there that wouldn't hassle you, but they've got to be the minority.
     
  19. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    It depends on how important you think your room is. If you think your room is the most important factor in getting good sound, then a expansive showroom won't really make any difference. It's their room, tweaked to their likes and dislikes. On the other hand, if you believe that the speaker (or the amplifier) makes all the difference, then being able to size up a bunch of speakers all at once is very useful.

    Reviews can give you a feel, but if you don't really know what "cold" or "warm" are, then you could be ordering speakers for a thirty day trial, playing them for a bit, and repackaging them up three days later.
     
  20. JediFonger

    JediFonger Producer

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    imho, most mfr's support new+used products from b&m and web unless they KNOW that a batch had been stolen or somn (like those sneaky NYC dealers [​IMG]. i got a few of my B&W, velodyne speakers via online no probs.
     

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