Gear vendor prices
Been a while since I bought any new gear. Years in fact. I notice shopping the web that prices are cooky cutter uniformity!
Looking for a Hartke lh1000 bass head. Everywhere I look 499.99!
Everyone has the same price. NO incentive price wise to buy from one over the other. Where is the concept of capitalist competition in sales?
Many items are like this. I did find one with a make an officer deal on ebay so I made one. If he takes my offer it is clear why they are selling and my money did not go to the "Usual Suspects", the established vendors.
Got a Gator case the same way for 88.50 when everyone else wanted 10 bucks more.
I guess the economy is not that hard on retailers?
It's very hard on retailers. You're seeing two main things at work:
1) Most music gear web stores are owned by the same parent company. So they are just different "faces" for the same catalog.
2) Those big web stores are able to price low due to volume, so everyone else (all the littler vendors) try to compete by offering the same low price, even though it's killing them.
If a individual vendor has room to cut the price more and still pay the utility bills, you'll see them offering a slightly lower price, or those "make an offer" deals. Even in those cases though they don't want to outright advertise a noticeably lower price, because (a) the big company may notice and drop their price to match, killing the competition, and (b) just because that smaller vendor can afford to take a little hit here and there doesn't mean they WANT to if they can help it.
Also, have you ever heard of MAP pricing? Apple does the same thing, as do many other manufacturers...
Yeppers, that good ole minimum advertised pricing thingy.
It pays to make a few calls and ask about a deal. The worst they can tell you is no and in most cases they will knock a little off if you rub their ego the right way.
This works even better in person so there is still a lot to be said for developing a good relationship (if possible) with your local independent retailer.
Interesting. All news to me. NO local music stores in my area that sell at anywhere reasonable prices so I am stuck with the net vendors. Heck one even went out of business here on the Idaho WA boarder.
Many retailers are also owned by the same corporation, Guitar Center, Musician's Friend and Music 123 for example are owned by Bain Capital which also owns Staples, Clear Channel, Dominos Pizza, The Weather Channel, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts and many other companies.
In most cases, the manufacturer is setting the minimum price at which a retailer can sell.
I've had way better success asking for a deal/cash in hand offers at my local guitar center, than at my nearest independent retailer. Again, worst they can say is no.
Bain capital huh. Interesting.
I always remember in the past that if I looked around enough I'd find a deal. I always did but now with the internet and all these sellers to be found at the tip of your fingers and the prices are all the same.
It's as if anti trust laws are being freely violated. Or the stuff is so cheap it just can't get any cheaper.
"Minimum advertised price" means that a manufacturer can forbid retailers from advertising below a certain price. They can still sell it for a lower price if you want to haggle. MAP has been upheld by the courts. Of course online retailers can offer free shipping, and any retailer can throw in other freebies like cords and strings.
In the old days, it would have been hard for each store to know the prices charged by every other store -- if two stores in the area even sold the same brands. Thus there could be price variations from store to store. In classical economics, an information gap can lead to a price disparity.
The Internet has enabled free and instant flow of information -- everybody knows exactly what everybody else is charging. This, plus MAP pricing, will tend to push prices close together.
Well the best deal I could find was on ebay. After haggling back and forth with offers and counter offers I got a LH1000 Hartke Bass head for 440.00 out the door.
Building good relationships and report at a pro shop is in my view the best weapon against MAP. If you take care of them, they take care of you. From a dealer standpoint, price buyers are irritating and often a time waster
They can sell lower, they just can't advertise lower. There is a store local to me that sells all the Fender stuff lower than Guitar Center. The prices are not allowed to be visible outside of the store.
I either buy used or try to buy from a good shop. Some online retailers are good to work with some aren't. You pay more for CS with a good local shop and it's worth it. Nothing is for free. You may get a screaming deal on ebay, but issues with warranty, returns and such can be a pain in the ass. Buying local is good for everyone.
I know of one dealer that often beats the going price. That would be Pro Audio Star in Brooklyn, NY. Under the prices on their website it says "Need a better deal? Call 718-522-1071".
They also have a live chat box for working out a deal. Besides offering to deal they often sell B-Stock and customer returns at discounted prices. Bass amp brands they carry:
When I bought my LH-1000, Musician's Friend was having one of their perennial "15% Off" sales. If you go look at the fine print for their "xx% Off" sales you'll find about half-a-page of manufacturers who 'choose not to participate' in the deal. Most manufacturers we on TB find interesting are in the exclusions list.
But Hartke is _not_ on the exclusions list, and that right there helped seal the deal for me vis-à-vis some of the competitive products because 15% of $500 is worth considering...
So 15% off and free shipping - not a bad deal in my opinion anyway.
Musicians Friend frequently sends me emails reminding they have a 'special deals' hot line. I expect most of the big e-commerce sites have similar secret-handshake hotlines to skirt the MAP concept...
A guitar player I play with calls himself a Musician's Friend "Power User". He buys so much gear from them that they are willing to cut him special deals.
I've bought plenty of stuff on the xx% off deal when the manufacturer was on the "not playing" list.
If you can't get 10% just for asking, you need to relearn the way you ask. It takes a little finesse to get more, but I can't think of a single place on earth that can't give you 10% as a matter of course, provided you don't act like you are entitled to it. Granted, as an alcoholic I have cultivated the art of BS to a higher degree than most, but that doesn't mean anyone with the desire can't do the same thing.
Selling and buying are exactly the same thing, it's all about stroking the ego of your opposite into thinking they are doing you a favor. Get good at either and you rarely have to pay full retail. Exceptions are "fair trade" items, but with the advent of the information age, MAP has pretty much consigned the "fair trade" angle to the dustbin of retail history. If you see it these days it's usually going to be reserved for the highest of the high end products.
The The only Hartke dealer in the area dumped them when Hartke jacked him around on parts for service on the breakdowns that came into the shop so on line is my only option.
My ebay deal is fully warrantied and will be fully insured. I don't have any worries. Someone was selling a good condition used LH1000 and had just had it in the shop to clean up before sale. Put a new tube and filter in and blew out any duct. He wanted 350.00 start bid, I might have acted on it if it was 300 to start. $450.00 buy it now and I might as well buy it new. After all I got mine for 440.00
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