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Mail Order Madness!

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by anonymous, Jul 4, 2002.

  1. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    I just had a very interesting experience that many might find informative, or at least amusing. I recently received a mailing from a mail order superstore that I have hardly ever done business with. I buy almost everything significant from local pro audio dealers because i get better prices and much better service. All I ever usually get mail order or from prosumer stores are things like cables, music stands, and other accessories.

    This particular company has been after my business for years (I won't mention any names to protect the innocent/guilty, and to avoid any potential lawsuits...) and the other day they sent me a post card with a special offer - namely that for the month of July they would give me their "employee accomodation" prices on anything I wanted to purchase from them. Ostensibly that meant the special discounts that their own staff would get if they were to buy these items themselves. While not identifying the specific company, I will say that this is one that we all know, and that they take many pages of advertising out every month in almost all of the music magazines published in the USA.

    Sounded like a great opportunity! So I called them up and got quotes on a number of things i was considering buying at some point, and the prices did seem pretty good. So I decided to do an experiment.

    I called my local pro audio dealer (who I will also leave anonymous so that I'm not accused of being a shill) and without telling him anything about the mail-order offer and/or prices, I asked him to give me some prices on the same items. I will stress again that the local dealer had no inkling he was in a competition for my business, so he had no special incentive to give me any more than my usual consideration in pricing.

    You may find the following examples interesting:

    Waves Platinum TDM Bundle Upgrade:
    List - $1200
    Mail Order - $850
    Local pro - $749

    Antares Autotune TDM:
    List - $599
    Mail Order - $449
    Local pro - $389

    Soundelux U99 mic:
    List - $2500
    Mail Order - $1850
    Local pro - $1669

    Soundelux U195 mic:
    List - $1350
    Mail Order - $865
    Local Pro - $799

    Beyer M160 mic:
    List - $699
    Mail Order - $550
    Local pro - $499

    Summit TD100 DI:
    List - $495
    Mail Order - $375
    Local Pro - $359

    Raxxcess IsoRAXX (14 space):
    List - $1299
    Mail Order - $855
    Local Pro - $699

    I think the above data speaks for itself. But what makes it even more remarkable was that the mail order company was representing these prices as a "once in a lifetime" opportunity, whereas my local pro dealer was just giving me his regular pricing, and yet still blew the "employee accomodation" prices out of the water!!! Imagine how much more differential there would have been if I had NOT been getting the "employee" prices.

    The purpose of this thread, by the way, is to show the real value in establishing a "preferred customer" relationship with a real pro audio dealer. You get the best advice, tech support, loaners, and other service that way. Some of you may have found even better prices through your own contacts, but i gotta say, after this experiment, i would tend to be pretty loyal to my dealer.
     
  2. audiowkstation

    audiowkstation Active Member

    Once you build up a relationship with a local pro shop, that would be the only place to buy IMHO. (well as long as they have what you want) I do not know of any pro shops aroud here who have 2920 D-0.5 14" tape for a PCM 3348!) The local pro shop also knows of the "special mail order deals" as they must, to stay competitive. Often the distrubitors will give the locals a better deal of undue competition from mail order is lurking. Typical markup is 40 points to 50 points on electronics, 55 to 65 on Loudspeakers, 70 to 75 on cables and acc. When a dealer wants to throw in some acc. to sweeten a deal, it is usually the cheap stuff..so you do get what you pay for.

    I did buy a piece once for 170 dollars and found it later mail order for 79 ..so it pays to shop the net and do your homework. In the meantime I don't mind a dealer getting their profit. I want the folks to be there if and when I need them next. The deal is only as sweet as the service.

    Next time you have a gig and one (or more) of your instrument cable(s) are missing...popping in there will be cool..as it may be a situation where you can get (a) free loaner(s). Try that with mailorder(!)..and I leave all cash and credit cards home during gigs. (in store account)

    I walked into one store with a purchase order for 37K of retail. It came to an even 20K tax and all. I bought all this equipment to outfit a "b" room. I see the mixer going used for twice what I got it new in the package deal. Go for the package deal and when the dealer wants to throw in acc. make another deal. Take the retail value of all the acc they are willing to "throw in" and ask to apply that amount to more gear or top flight acc. Perhaps then the prices will be correct to market in the first place.

    You get what you pay for. Visit your local dealer , Mom/Pop shop often. Best deal I ever got was from a Brick and Morter shop on a SKB 6 space rack. Brand new, 65 bux.
     
  3. sdevino

    sdevino Active Member

    Littledog, since you and I live in the same neighborhood let me guess that the pro shop's name also start's with a P.

    I recently bought a Pro Control brand new for $3000 less than the advertized price at the big S mail order house.
     
  4. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Well, Steve, your guess leaves two possibilities: the one in Wellesley and the one in Rockland. I've done business with both, but I can say that I spend a lot more time (and money) West of Boston rather than South!
     

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