Do you "showroom" shop then buy online?

Discussion in 'Garden Pond Talk' started by vestaviascott, Aug 10, 2017.

  1. vestaviascott

    Jimmy Gibson

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    You have to be very careful with Prime...... I will take our coffee for example...... They will sell it cheaper than we can buy it Sam's..... After a couple of times, they will raise the price, and all the other vendors that sell the same thing will go up the same..... So we go to Sam's. After a few weeks amazing the price goes down again..... What they are banking on is that people will get into the habit of buying and not check the price.
     
    Jimmy Gibson, Aug 13, 2017
    #21
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  2. vestaviascott

    addy1 water gardener / gold fish and shubunkins Moderator

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    We cross check prices amazon vs costco, vs ebay vs whomever else. Esp if it an expensive item.
     
    addy1, Aug 14, 2017
    #22
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  3. vestaviascott

    brokensword Not all those who wander are lost

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    I've never 'showroom' shopped because when I go shopping, I NEED something right then and there and get it--IF the quality and price are what I'm looking for. Now, I've gone more and more to online shopping because of free shipping and much greater selection. I can waste less time NOT driving and finding out a place doesn't have what I need, which means a trip to another store, then if I find it online and just buy it. This happened twice this summer, reminding me exactly why I don't buy from the B&M stores much anymore. Unless I need it yesterday, OR the product can be bought 'on my way home'. If they don't have what I need once, odds are I'll just go online the next time.

    Too, I used to work in a hardware store when young and I was TRAINED in the department. Now, I'm lucky if the salesperson I ask even KNOWS where the item I want is. Many times I'm told they don't carry said product, then I go looking and find it, so on my way to the checkout, I tell them where the product was found. Sad, really. But imo, most people are more like sheep when it comes to buying products and less likely to educate themselves. I blame advertising and deterioration of effort for this...too, most are more likely now to hire someone to do something they could do themselves. I was raised in a different era though and it shows...

    Michael
     
    brokensword, Aug 14, 2017
    #23
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  4. vestaviascott

    vestaviascott

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    For those of you who purchase pond and water garden products online, can you share a bit about your experience in this regard? Preferred vendors, customer service experience, ease of doing business with etc?
     
    vestaviascott, Aug 14, 2017
    #24
  5. vestaviascott

    Gemma

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    Me too!
    I can't seem to find a nice looking fish in stores, and even if I did find one, it'd be priced so ridiculously high I wouldn't want it anyway
     
    Gemma, Aug 14, 2017
    #25
  6. vestaviascott

    Gemma

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    I love to buy fish from Next Day Koi, they are the closest thing to shopping at a local store!
    They are fast in responding to whatever question I might have. The images they provide of each fish, show the fish in all it's sides and if I decide to buy, I can have it in my pond in 48 hours with a 14 days money back guarantee, and shipping is always the same...and their prices are good, when you buy small size fish, they grow so fast!

    Would I go back shopping at a local store if it had all of the above, plus no shipping? I doubt it! I spend a lot of time lurking online before making my purchase, I could never do that at a store!
    I think all retailers should have an online site for those who prefer shopping online
     
    Gemma, Aug 14, 2017
    #26
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  7. vestaviascott

    Spartamets

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    For online, I use Dr. Foster & Smith and Webb's, which is local for me and provides great customer service. I went to my nearest pond shop (there are two landscaping places with large water feature sections very close by) when I was doing my first build and got tons and tons of advice and guidance from them. I probably spent over $2000 in the process. They all know me by name and I'll always go there for plants and supplemental stuff. The other local pond place is bigger, with more selection, and it stays open longer--both in terms of hours of the day and the season, by staying open essentially year round--and they get a good bit of business from me that way alone.

    But moving forward, the largest portion of my pond purchases will be annuals like some tropical lilies and water hyacinths, and that's about it. I spent way too much money on this pond and landscaping the last two years. Supplies like fish food and conditioners (i.e., pond prime), I'll get online moving forward. I've got most of my durable goods at this point. Big-ticket items are always much cheaper online. All things being equal, I will always choose the local place because they earned it. But when a pump costs $100 more, or fish food is double the price, I'll buy online.
     
    Spartamets, Aug 16, 2017
    #27
  8. vestaviascott

    qclabrat

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    Sorry, but if you are visiting a B&M store with the intention to just shop elsewhere, it's kind of unfair to the business. It is considered especially in poor taste to gain extended professional knowledge from the store then use it online to purchase the same recommended items cheaper. I see this all the time in the bicycle business, where people go in to test ride a bike, spend an hour picking the saleperson's brain, then buy a bike online.

    I'm not talking about the big box stores like Petsmart which already has an online presence and you are able to comparison shop against others from home. My experience with these stores have not be great and has actually been getting worse in the past few decades (labor market changes?). I've actually never been to a real fish pond store as I've never had the need to given the sage advice I've received here since joining a few months ago. However if I were to visit one locally and received the good service and advice from them, I would certain find a way to support them. There's just no way for them to compete with the online stores in pricing and stock, which is why most independent pet stores have closed in the last few years or moved to some remote parts of town.

    To the OP, as already mentioned before, service is where you'll win and keep customers. Though not all customers will understand or follow this business model. Another option is to diversity, for example maybe offer free space to a farm stand and also have a tent themselves. Lastly, is differentiation, the moms and pops need create a business which does not need to compete with the onlines. Most of what I mentioned is MBA 101, I suggest your friends reach out to the local chamber of commerce and small business alliances for help as well. Good luck
     
    qclabrat, Aug 16, 2017
    #28
  9. vestaviascott

    Spartamets

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    I'm not sure if this was a direct reply to me, but I did spend thousands of dollars at the pond shop that I go to most often. That could be why they all know my name. I just bought a second pump there, for example, and it was a little more expensive than it would have been if I bought it online. But I'm not going to spend a ton more for the same thing. I'm just at the point now of only needing to buy supplemental things. No more liner, piping, etc., for example.
     
    Spartamets, Aug 16, 2017
    #29
  10. vestaviascott

    qclabrat

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    apologies if that was implied, but not at all
    I think being a savvy shopper makes great sense, but I know folks who always shop online after milking the salesman. The local businesses will survive by repeat customers like you and it doesn't mean you have to buy everything from them.

    Here's an example, I have a fish problem, go into a local store for suggestions. Leave and buy online to save a few bucks. That just seems wrong in my book.

    btw: I love Webbs, they just need a better mobile site.. :)
     
    qclabrat, Aug 16, 2017
    #30
  11. vestaviascott

    IPA

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    The B&M is 30 to 40 minutes away and run by a passionate and knowledgeable owner. I made a visit a few weeks ago and was ready to make a purchase but left empty handed with a great deal more knowledge. However, at that time, I have some grandiose ideas for a pond and because of his help a lot of them were being flipped on end.
    That said, I wound up buying everything online, mostly from Amazon, no gas, no traffic, and best of all a package waiting for me when I get home. I don't want to have to order my fish from Amazon so maybe I will go this weekend to buy an air pump and the rest of what I might need to get moving on installing my pond.
     
    IPA, Aug 17, 2017
    #31
  12. vestaviascott

    PowerUp

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    I find myself doing the opposite of showroom shopping for certain items (big and bulky, or need it today). I'll be standing in the aisle looking at several options, and using my phone to read Amazon reviews or Q&A on the product to decide what I should buy! Often times the price is a wash.

    My big, huge, never-go-back annoyance with specialty brick and mortar is when the salesperson gives me incorrect or misleading info on an important purchase. Even worse, the salesperson gives the bad info to my wife, and then I have to walk it back without openly being a jerk to them. By the time I get to the store, I have probably done at least some basic research on specialty items.

    My always-go-back is typically for fully informed and invested employees who truly love their stuff. If I learn from them, I will pay sticker price no problem. Onsite ownership tends to get this right.
     
    PowerUp, Aug 17, 2017
    #32
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