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#2095261 - 06/04/13 01:04 PM How do you buy on the internet?  
Joined: Jun 2013
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ADWyatt Offline
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ADWyatt  Offline
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I'm looking at upgrading my Kawai CN34 to a higher-end digital piano, and would of course like to freely test new models that interest me and then purchase at the best price. I've found this to be a bit of a ticklish problem, however.

The Roland LX-15 appears to be a solid value. There is a dealer about 130 miles away from my home who has one of these on his showroom floor, but I don't doubt that his sales price will be quite high. At the same time, a national dealer has advertised that no one should purchase a digital piano without first consulting him, as his price is often below even the best internet price.
When I contacted him, telling him that I might be interested in purchasing the Roland after I had tested it out, he politely rebuked me for wanting to be deceptive with a brick-and-mortar salesperson, pretending to be interested in buying from him.
I agreed completely with him, and apologized for my intent. And so I can only assume that this dealer intended that all prospective internet customers should buy from him without seeing or testing any musical instrument. This makes me uncomfortable, partly because I believe you should only purchase the digital piano of your choice by comparison testing, and partly because if you don't like your sight-unseen internet purchase, the cost of repacking, shipping and restocking could be quite high.

I'm not sure what to do in a situation like this. And so I'm asking the members of this forum how they would handle it. Thanks in advance for all opinions and advice.

Last edited by ADWyatt; 06/04/13 01:06 PM.
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#2095275 - 06/04/13 01:28 PM Re: How do you buy on the internet? [Re: ADWyatt]  
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spanishbuddha Offline
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I'm not sure I understand the problem. In my case, for my last three purchases, I play tested the models I was interested in in different stores. I took my time, usually around 3 months, sometimes more and even travelled to remote stores either on a days holiday from work or at a weekend.

Having done that I had made my decision on the DP.

Next comes, perhaps, the decision on where to buy. Local store, other store where I had been to, or Internet store. In two of the three cases, local stores noticed my interest and although I am generally quite unapproachable when shopping (takes years of practice smile ) a salesman engaged me. I eventually made one of those purchase on the Internet, and two of them in local stores. The local purchases won through by a combination of service and price, not just lowest price; the Internet purchase won through by lack of service with a local store, and price.

#2095291 - 06/04/13 01:46 PM Re: How do you buy on the internet? [Re: ADWyatt]  
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Morodiene Offline
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There are some places that will match a price. Go and test out pianos, and then talk to them about price and see what they can do. Sometimes the service and ability to talk to someone if there is an issue is worth a few extra $$, other times, it's all about money.

This is the market today and so local stores have to be able to deal with it.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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#2095292 - 06/04/13 01:46 PM Re: How do you buy on the internet? [Re: ADWyatt]  
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justpin Offline
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In the UK at least, I've found internet prices to be pretty much the same as in shop prices with pennies difference.

Harker Howarth which is rocking rooster, has a PX850 for £799.99 in store and online.

While Dawsons have same in store and online price as well.

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#2095315 - 06/04/13 02:05 PM Re: How do you buy on the internet? [Re: ADWyatt]  
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Thomas Williams Offline
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Thomas Williams  Offline
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Originally Posted by ADWyatt

When I contacted him, telling him that I might be interested in purchasing the Roland after I had tested it out, he politely rebuked me for wanting to be deceptive with a brick-and-mortar salesperson, pretending to be interested in buying from him.
I agreed completely with him, and apologized for my intent. And so I can only assume that this dealer intended that all prospective internet customers should buy from him without seeing or testing any musical instrument. This makes me uncomfortable, partly because I believe you should only purchase the digital piano of your choice by comparison testing, and partly because if you don't like your sight-unseen internet purchase, the cost of repacking, shipping and restocking could be quite high.

He is a very bad businessman. That is no way to run a business, and making that kind of accusation toward a potential customer is no way to win anyone's business. You shouldn't have apologized for what may have been your intention, seemingly validating his poor business practice.

Anyway, here's what my experience has been:

When I've considered the purchase of a new instrument, I have made more than one trip to a store (actually a couple of them -- both competing chains) to play and compare different models, take note of regular prices and special sales, and then go back again to play some more -- not a decision I've been inclined to make too lightly or without ample experience for thought and consideration. I've also shopped around with online retailers, but my discovery has been that they often don't really offer enough cost advantage to be worth it, especially given that in-person retailers will often make special offers (particularly if you seem to be savvy with negotiation and comparison shopping). Don't let on that you're looking to purchase online (even if that is the case), and if they are a respectable business model, a store should be happy to show you what they have in stock and let you play and compare. They are hoping to win your business, of course -- and maybe they will. One of the stores in my area decidedly won my business over the other. They know that I had no allegiance nor any real reason to choose them over the other, but their noticeably better service influenced me, and they've let me know about special deals. I'll still look online and elsewhere to compare prices anytime I'm looking to make a major purchase, but this particular store is my default place and my preferred store for such purchases.

I have made several purchases of used gear on eBay, and that can be a fantastic option if you're looking to buy something older at a great deal and don't necessarily need to try it out first. (I didn't buy my main keyboard that way, but I've bought some secondary equipment that way.) But that's really the only kind of online purchase that I'm inclined to make for substantial music gear. If I'm buying something new, I'll most likely buy from a store -- the one I've established a good business relationship with and have gotten to know some sales people who aren't manipulative.

#2095332 - 06/04/13 02:37 PM Re: How do you buy on the internet? [Re: ADWyatt]  
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bennevis Online content
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I'd have thought that DP stores will let anyone go in to try out their wares - regardless of the customer's intentions. Just like acoustic piano stores. After all, any prospective purchaser with any sense will take his time going around several stores to try out as many DPs as possible before making his decision. You don't have to say anything about your purchasing method, or even whether you are looking to purchase.

I went back to two stores more than a few times over the course of a month before making my decision, when I was looking to buy a DP three years ago. And since then, despite not being in the market for any replacement (I got what I was looking for first time round), I've still occasionally gone into DP stores to try out the latest. Noone ever questioned me on whether I was buying from them - I just made it clear I knew what I was doing....


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
#2095335 - 06/04/13 02:41 PM Re: How do you buy on the internet? [Re: ADWyatt]  
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PianoWorksATL Offline
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I think this is simply a case of poor understanding and perhaps mistaken assumptions. I think that shopping purely for price ahead of the test drive is out of order. Assuming that you cannot get a fair price from your nearest dealer is also deflating and sets the wrong tone.

My advice is go, test drive, and work with your nearest dealer as best as you can. Make this a positive experience. Everything else is premature.


Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
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#2095429 - 06/04/13 04:24 PM Re: How do you buy on the internet? [Re: ADWyatt]  
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gvfarns Offline
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It sounds like the store owner is trying to guilt you into buying something. If you are feeling guilty, you are in a very weak bargaining position.

There's a major problem in the piano retail industry. Pianos are a low volume item so retailers have to make up for it with high margins. Online retailers can have minimal margins so they are a better deal but there's no way to try it out. The brick and mortar stores are going out of business in a big way and the industry response is to forbid many models of pianos from being sold online at all.

I don't know what the solution to that systematic problem is, but I don't think making people feel guilty for trying to get the best price is it. Price matching is one possibility if they can stay in business that way. Another is integration. If you go to best buy they will obviously price match you and if they don't have something they will order it for you or even direct you to order it yourself on their website. This model works because the online business and the brick and mortar store are the same. In digital pianos, each retailer is a separate store and just purchase from the manufacturers. As such they don't want you looking online, but it's a battle they are not winning. Barring Yamaha, Kawai and Roland opening display stores where they let you try out their wares but aren't focused on selling, I don't know how the brick and mortar part of the industry will continue.

#2095449 - 06/04/13 04:42 PM Re: How do you buy on the internet? [Re: ADWyatt]  
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Dave Horne Online content
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Dave Horne  Online Content
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My local music store met me halfway on the purchase of a CP5. I could have saved €300 or so by ordering it in Germany through a friend who was exempt from German VAT but I would have had to spend all day driving to pick it up; shipping costs would have prohibitive.

My local dealer met me halfway. I paid €150 more than I could have but I was saved a day of driving. My local dealer also made a purchase that he otherwise would not have made. It was a fair transaction from all sides.

Buy local, you never know when you need to rent a piece of equipment at the last minute; and when you're friends with your local store, you already are in good standing. My two cents.



website | mp3\wav files | Yamaha AvantGrand N3 | Roland RD 2000 | Sennheiser HD 598 headphones
#2095544 - 06/04/13 08:01 PM Re: How do you buy on the internet? [Re: ADWyatt]  
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PianoWorksATL Offline
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The issue is called "showrooming" where a B&M dealer goes through all the trouble to have, display & explain with staff the tangible differences to both inexperienced and experienced shoppers alike. Then the customer re-shops for price.

Manufacturers authorize too many online-only outlets that live by fishing for ready-made customers with price and little else. Some have exploited the margins by bundling (often with low quality throw-ins with dubious value added).

There are exceptions like Sweetwater who tries to create a "next best thing to being there" online experience and those like Thomann that have helped navigate a complicated continent.

However, to any manufacturers who are listening wink , by reducing the value to B&M, you forgo long-term brand value for short term market share. In other words, a bigger piece of a smaller pie. 2/3 of our customers choose to upgrade over the minimum offer or original budget once they see the value in person. Online, the race is naturally towards the lowest product in the line OR the half-step up. It takes incentives like reasonable margins so that B&M dealers can offer reasons to upsell the products that are more profitable to manufacturers.

In a good, comfortable and educational environment, customers don't have to be sold on the benefits of the better products; it happens naturally. Our environment = our ability to upsell (not spiffs or tricks or worthless throw-ins), making the real estate in my showroom valuable to our business partners.

To the OP, I don't know if you live in a rural area or simply in an area that can no longer sustain small local businesses that might offer you convenient selection. We are in the 'burbs of Atlanta people still complain we aren't more convenient to them. Good luck in your search.


Sam Bennett
PianoWorks - Atlanta Piano Dealer
Bösendorfer, Estonia, Seiler, Grotrian, Hailun
Pre-Owned: Yamaha, Kawai, Steinway & other fine pianos
Full Restoration Shop
www.PianoWorks.com
www.youtube.com/PianoWorksAtlanta
#2095707 - 06/04/13 11:39 PM Re: How do you buy on the internet? [Re: ADWyatt]  
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MarkF786 Offline
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MarkF786  Offline
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When making an expensive purchase, I'll visit a local dealer to try the product out. If they give me good customer service (ie. if they treat me well), then I'll give them my business if they do a reasonable job of trying to match the best price. But if their prices are dramatically higher then what I can get elsewhere, I'll thank them for their time and explain why I'll not be buying the product from them - though often, they'll then meet the price (or close to it) to avoid losing the sale.

Last edited by MarkF786; 06/04/13 11:46 PM.

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