Poll: Buy online or locally?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DerekF, Nov 29, 2002.

  1. DerekF

    DerekF Stunt Coordinator

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    Another active thread has prompted philosophical debate around purchasing online versus purchasing from a local dealer. Specifically, the value a local business brings to the community and its consumers has been discussed at length.
    I am genuinely curious about everyone's opinions on the topic, so I would like to conduct a poll based upon the following hypothetical example:
    A reputable local dealer and an authorized, respected, online merchant both carry the same pair of speakers. You have never heard these speakers, but they are highly regarded. The online merchant is selling them for $300, including shipping, while the local dealer's advertised price is $480. You have enough WAF and cash, and you have decided to buy from either the local dealer or the online merchant. What do you do?
    a) I would visit the local dealer, audition the speakers, and state the Internet price. Unless the dealer matches the internet price I will buy online.
    b) Visit the dealer, audition and haggle with the Internet price as a bargaining chip. I'll offer $350, but if the deal could not be struck at that price, I would go online.
    c) Same as b), but I'll go as high as $400.
    d) Same as b), but I'll stop at $450.
    e) Same as b), but if the dealer won't budge, I'll give in and pay $480 (advertised price).
    f) I would never buy speakers online. I would do the best I could locally.
    g) I would simply order online, and if I don't like them, I would take advantage of the generous return policy.
    h) I would walk right up to the dealer's sales-person, mention the internet price and offer $350. No muss, no fuss, no audition. He can take it or leave it, otherwise I buy online.
    i) Same as h), but $400
    j) same as h), but $450
    k) none of the above (please elaborate)
    I'm sure I've left big areas open for debate in the above hypothetical, but I would ask that we debate the particulars after we've had some votes.
    Thanks!
    Derek
     
  2. Carl Johnson

    Carl Johnson Cinematographer

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    g) I would simply order online, and if I don't like them, I would take advantage of the generous return policy.

    Why should I bother trying to negotiate with the local dealer who's asking price is more than 50% higher than I can get it shipped?
     
  3. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I didn't read all the choices, but I would try local 1st. My rule is: I'll pay up to 10% more locally, then I go online. Even if the price is $480, I've found most places will deal if you get across that you're serious about buying.
    Real world example: Found Energy C-3's on the internet at $358 + 35 shipping. (They list for $500 a pair.) Went to my neighborhood Good Guys, got lucky with the salesman I talked to (a little higher up on the food chain than most of their grunts), he asked what did I want to pay for them, I said $400, he did some fiddling on his computer, and rang them up. $432 out the door.
    I joked to him later on, what if I had said $350, he smiled and said he would have said no to that. He did say, that he went for the deal I wanted because I didn't waste his time listening to 50 million brands over a period over 1.5 hrs. I already knew what I wanted when I went in. I'll be back to buy from that dude! [​IMG] I spent more time waiting for them to bring the speakers out from the back, than the buy itself.
    And, they are an authorized dealer. The internet place wasn't.
     
  4. Dan Hine

    Dan Hine Screenwriter

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    The first thing I would do is put a Poll in the Polls area. [​IMG] But since I'm here...
    k) none of the above (please elaborate)
    I would build my own
    Speakers are waaaay overpriced compared to the cost of actual parts involved. Now of course you need to add in the time it took to design the speaker...crossovers, proprietary drivers, etc... But when you consider that speakers which cost around $4k can be built for $500-ish it kind of makes you go hmmmmmmm. And since I'll need tools and materials I still get to help out my LOCAL economy. Also, this allows me to custom tailor MY speakers to how I want them to sound in MY room. One day I'll get there as I am still learning some stuff. In the mean time there are kits available that are worth twice as much as they cost or more.
     
  5. Phil_DC

    Phil_DC Stunt Coordinator

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    I would go with and have gone with "G" especially if the online dealer is out of state, so that you don't have to pay sales taxes saving you even more money.[​IMG]
     
  6. DerekF

    DerekF Stunt Coordinator

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  7. Boka

    Boka Stunt Coordinator

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    H

    I hate haggling
     
  8. JimmyK

    JimmyK Second Unit

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    My locally owned shop has always given my close to online prices without me even telling them what prices I've found online. Most recently, they even beat the online prices I found! Also, they will let me take speakers home to audition (without any deposit or pre payment!) with my own equipment/room setup so I can make the best choice for me. Of course part of this great service may be that I've been using this shop for over 20 years.

    As such, I will always try my local shop first. The only time I can see not using them is if I am buying a product they cannot get for me.
     
  9. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    I listened to mine at a retailer, then ordered from Etronics. I just couldn't turn down saving $130.00. Etronics gets mostly positive feedback from customers.
     
  10. Greg Kolinski

    Greg Kolinski Second Unit

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    I guess I'm dumb and old fashioned, I would go with C
    Just for the convience and helping a local merchant,If he can knock 20-25% off his price I would buy,which would put it @ around $400 or maybe a little less.Like stated before,if they know you are REALLY buying ,most will work with you pretty good.I even did it at Circuit City,they will match ,but only local usually.I had just returned an Oknyo reciever due to speaker ohmage problems,so they knew I was a buyer,I wasved some super low internet,non authorized dealer prices at the guy.He said he couldnt match the super low$ ,but knocked $160 off of their price.So it was about middle range for internet numbers,I ws happy and they made some money.I would rather just deal with a person,just in case the deal goes south,I still dont trust internet selling 100%[​IMG]
     
  11. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    Only an idiot would pay the highest price possible for a product that can be acquired elsewhere much cheaper. The local dealer should come down in price to be competitive and his supplier should be notified that the product dealt may have someone dealing contrary to most likely a contract violation (most companies discourage internet sales as this brings down their margins for the entirety of their line and gives dealers an incentive to be licensed dealers). I would offer the "b" price since I have an approximate idea of what drivers cost (and this is at my cost, not the bulk rate a manufacturer of the speaker line will get) and should allow the dealer to make a slight margin (not what he wants, but at least he gets $50 more than the online dealer does).
     
  12. DanaA

    DanaA Screenwriter

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    DerekF,
    This is a very interesting, well conceived poll. [​IMG]
    My answer would vary depending on the component being purchased.
    First off, I can't stand paying list. Psychologically, it leaves me feeling very negative. Secondly, a lot is dependent on the shop and how they treat you.
    That said, I don't like to waste the dealer's time and won't do so, unless I'm really interested in buying something and will give him/her the chance to make the sale. If I'm just checking things out, I tell them so right up front.
    I will pay more locally to support a good shop. I do this for a variety of reasons. I'd like to see the local shop survive and I'd also like to build a relationship which will serve us both down the line. So, my answer would be "C" or "I" dependent on how familiar I was with the product being bought. It would also depend on whether the seller online was authorized. With so many things not working correctly these days, that warranty is pretty necessary.
    My Klipsch reference speakers were bought online, but only after the only place selling them, Good Guys, refused to budge very much on the price. Also, I wanted them in blond maple and was told that, if I wanted to return them, there would be a 50% restocking fee!!!
    I bought my Parasound amp online, well because Ubid had them so cheap, but I didn't take up any time with any of my local shops.
    My Rotel pre/pro and Arcam were both purchased from local shops. The negotiating prices part only took a little bit in each time. Each dealer said they were firm on the price, but, in both instances, I said I'd go home and come back with cash in hand right away if they sold it to me for "X" amount of dollars. In both cases, they said yes pretty readily and the rest of the time in their shops was spent socializing and having good discussions about equipment. I really enjoy both these shops and the treatment, especially at the Arcam dealer, was a joy.
     
  13. Peter_A_M

    Peter_A_M Stunt Coordinator

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    a) I would visit the local dealer, audition the speakers, and state the Internet price. Unless the dealer matches the internet price I will buy online.
    Barring DIY, that is. No haggling, no buying unheard, no fuss.
     
  14. romid

    romid Auditioning

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    f) I would never buy speakers without listening to them first(not just the same model but the exact speaker(s) that I'm going to buy)and buying some online only to find you don't like them, repacking them, shipping them back, ordering different ones, hoping that you'll like these and not have to go through this process again seems like a huge waste of time. I am happy to pay my local dealer more for the service they provide. None of this applies to the large chain electronics retailers of course, since they forgot what customer service is a long time ago.
     
  15. Bob-N

    Bob-N Supporting Actor

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    Hard to use one of your scenarios for my "technique". Probably closest is c). I'll try to meet my local dealer halfway closer to the better discount of course. My "technique":

    - I normally use this forum to get a feel for what the best prices people have been getting. I shoot for the average discount as a goal.

    - I only buy speakers that I can audition first w/o purchasing (so far). That means local shops specializing in the equipment I'm looking for. No chain stores! My current HT store allows for home auditions with an unsubmitted charge slip as a deposit.

    Unfortunately, that also goes for DIY kits. I'd love to be able to build my own and save a ton of $$$$, but a) I don't have the tools or the time and b) I don't know what they sound like before I invest in the parts and put it together. My nightmare is putting all the time and effort into them and I don't like their sound.

    - For pre/pros or receivers, same applies above. So much depends on your processing equipment that I can't buy w/o some sort of audition with my system (mainly speakers).

    - For amps, it's hasn't been as critical (IMHO) to audition them. I've bought amps just by value and word of mouth so far. Hasn't been a problem yet (knock on wood). For amps, I'm more willing to buy used on line to save about 50% under MSRP.
     
  16. David Young

    David Young Extra

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    I'm glad to see that us Brits aren't the only penny pinching misers out there.
    Sorry no offence intended, twas merely a reference to an article about the fickleness of British buying habits that appeared in the August issue of Hi-Fi News - written, unsurprisingly, by an American, Ken Kessler (though having lived over here for 20-30 years I suppose one could, by now, consider him an honourary Brit).
    Having viewed the problem from the other side of the fence, so to speak, I can well understand his somewhat jaundiced view when, after spending several hours trying to convince someone to part with £250.00 for an entry level hi-fi system (remember this was a number of years ago), he's greeted with the, "'Ow much fer cash? I can get it fer £5.00 less at ..." (all the while failing to realise that at 30 odd miles away any "saving" would be largely eroded by the travelling expenses). The trouble is, of course, that with the advent of e-tailing the savings available are, in some instances, no longer in the mere 2/3% bracket. Take, for example, my "new" CD player.
    Having at a local store spent a not inconsiderable sum, in the purchase of some Home Theatre equipment, I returned around 12 months later with a view to adding an SACD player. Sure enough they kindly set up a dem and spent some time time trying to "sell" the item, but when it came to the vexed question of cash they wanted £450.00. Trouble was I knew I could get the same piece of equipment on-line for £320.00 (inc. delivery).
    Okay, I can well accept that local stores have overheads that on-line retailers do not - and am quite prepared, on that basis, to pay a premium. A 30% (thereabouts) saving, however, is something I simply cannot ignore (and one that I feel goes beyond the mere covering of costs). I did take the time to mention this to them, I felt it only fair that I allow them the opportunity to review their price, but would they budge - no. So did I remain a man of priciple and support the local traders regardless - err, no. And do I now feel guilty that I did not - again, no.
     
  17. Tim Ranger

    Tim Ranger Stunt Coordinator

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    I guess it depends on a lot of factors. IF I really like a certain piece of gear I'd try to work with my local dealer to buy at a fair price. However, last year I went with option K. For mean, this means I go direct to the manufacturer to purchase. In my case, a pair of Sapphire III LEs and a Titan II LE sub from ACI.

    Turns out this approach really has a lot of advantages. 1st, the price is extremely attractive right from the start, buying direct saves, period. My subwoofer for example competes very well with models from REL that cost WAY more. ACI and SVS are both prime examples of this. 2nd, you get incredible service. My experiences with ACI have been incredibly positive. And, you get a real home trial. Not just a day or two, but a month. Long enough to really know if it is right for you. There are other factory direct audio companies out there that I'd like to check out as well.
     
  18. Jeff Ery

    Jeff Ery Stunt Coordinator

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    h-j is sincere and honest, it does not make use of auditioning services that you are not willing to pay msrp for ,yet offers the dealer the same no hassle sale that the on-line retailer gets, maybe gets you better trade-in/up policies, as well as better return/exchange/service and may help you forge a good, honest relationship with a local dealer who after coming up with a compromise price may also audition them for you ,hopefully in a comparison (BLIND A/B) so you feel more assured that they are what you like...no loose for anybody!
     
  19. Evan M.

    Evan M. Supporting Actor

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    i am very old fashioned when it comes to buying anything. i always buy from a local dealer. of course i try to get the best deal from them but if it isn't the best in the world than thus is life. maybe i am an "idiot" but i know that the service that i will be getting from my local dealer will be better then trying to communicate with someone over the phone or e-mail. i get a kick out of people who go to a store and audition equipment and take up a salespersons time to just turn around and buy the same thing on-line. i know this is the only way to do it sometimes but don't drag a salespersons time into it. state the truth in what you are doing and don't string someone along with you like it is a game. it is my experience that the first time one buys from a local shop they will not get a great deal, but the the more they get to know you the better the deals get. i also know that i may be the "idiot" who pays 100$ more but i know if i have a problem i can bring it back to the shop and either bring a new one home that day or get a loaner model. as apposed to shipping it back to iceland to get it repaired and listening to your alarm clock [​IMG]. every time one purchases locally it helps the local economy (which we all no is important right now) as apposed to buying on-line where businesses are dropping left and right. i am not sure where this response fits in your pole so i chose Z) buy from my local dealer that i KNOW is trustworthy.
     
  20. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Producer

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    I wouldn't purchase a speaker I hadn't heard under any circumstances; for me, that's the heart of the issue you present in this thread.
     

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