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#9982 09/15/07 11:01 PM
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As some of you remember, I started posting a few weeks ago about considering a Suzuki Upright from Costco.com. I gave up on the Suzuki after feedback from many of you. I was up in DC for a baseball game (I live in SE Virginia) and ran across the Yamaha roadshow at the Fairfax Costco. I will admit, I was impressed with the not just the prices but the Yamaha rep at the sale. It was nice to see a dealer/rep who spent the time talking about his pianos and not saying anything negative about competitors. The guarantee from COSTCO remains forever, less delivery. Now I am torn between the U-1 and t-116. The U-1 was about $2200 more but really seemed more substantial in build and finish. The U-1 was $6749 and this included delivery. Im tempted to jump on this deal. Feedback? And no, I am not interested in a used piano. Where would my money be better spent in your opinions?

Thanks


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People have gotten the Kawai 48" for a couple thousand less, to me a much better sound.

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Another thing to consider is the Kawai UST-9. It has the same insides as a K-3, with a simpler case that I actually prefer. It's basically their institutional model.


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T-116 from Thomaston,GA has been discontinued.

U-1 can be bought for less.

New model T118 should be considered at about $4k


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I am surprised at the price for the U1, especially for Costco. When I was shopping 3 months ago, the Yamaha dealer told me the U1 can be had for about mid $5000. (The sticker was in the $6000s.) (I don't know if the mid$5000 includes delivery and/or first tuning or not.) But you'd expect Costco prices to be better.


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If your part of SE Virginia is close to Williamsburg, see if Williamburg Piano & Organ, which carries new Yamahas, can beat that price. If you're more toward Norfolk, there are other Yamaha dearlerships in that neck of the woods.

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Rosanna,
"Yamaha dealer told me the U1 can be had for about mid $5000..." Seems an odd statement for a new Yamaha dealer. Had you been down in the dirt negotiating? Had you made them an offer to purchase?
"The sticker was in the $6000's" agains seems odd when the Yamaha MSRP is $9995.
Could you be confusing another model? Could you be confusing a used piano? Was this at a factory authorized New Yamaha dealer?


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if this dealer sells for the mid $5k range they'll be out of business by the time you need a service call. this is ridiculously low and I would make sure this is a brand new piano.


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Dealers put their pianos in the Costco Store.
Why should (would) it be less than if you purchased the piano at the dealers store?
I'm with Piano Dad here - go visit your local Yamaha dealer and purchase the piano from them.
Costcos warrantee be damned. It is the dealer who will be responsible for service no matter where the piano is sold.
BTW - I had a U1 for the first 18 years of my piano playing and I loved it. I played it very hard and often and it still took me 18 years to wear it out after which I sold it for 95% of what I paid for it in the first place.

Please - go visit your local dealer.

Mike


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Quote
Originally posted by mdsdurango:
Dealers put their pianos in the Costco Store.
Why should (would) it be less than if you purchased the piano at the dealers store?
There seem to be a few misconceptions regarding the new Yamaha/Costco relationship that perhaps needs to be corrected. This program is very different from previous piano roadshows at Costco in several important aspects.

#1) While it is dealer inventory that is supplying the show, the shows are more of a partnership between Costco, Yamaha Corp of America, and the local dealer. In most cases, the dealers only involvement is supplying the inventory and post sale service, for a modest percentage of the proceeds. In a few cases, the dealer may also staff the show with their own salespeople, but the vast majority of shows will be staffed by Yamaha salespeople.

#2) The dealer has absolutely no say in the pricing. The pricing is determined strictly between Yamaha Corp and Costco, based on average selling prices throughout the US. In some cases, the prices are within range of what a dealer might be willing to negotiate down to under unusual circumstances. For the most part, however, the prices are below what a dealer can sell the piano for in the showroom.

#3) Even if the dealers did control the pricing, you would still see lower pricing than at store events, college sales, etc... The reason? Overhead. There is almost no overhead in these sales. The only cost is moving the inventory to the Costco and Costco's participation. Compared to the tens of thousands of dollars tied up into advertising, plus the expense of moving 80-100 pianos for other outside events, tuning the instruments, etc... As a result, a modest Costco sale with reduced pricing can produce more profit than a major store or outside sales event.

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Very interesting post Luke's Dad.

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Luke's Dad, one question:

You say there is reduced overhead. If the pianos are sold into the dealer's market, and he does not close his store or stop advertising, how can you say that all the costs associated including moving all those pianos to and from Costco, prepping them and Costco's cut doesn't ADD to overhead.

His fixed costs are the same (rent, utilities, payroll, etc.) and his variable costs increase.


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and trust me, there are many costs in facilitating these Costco sales. We did one in White Marsh, MD back in early August.


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nonetheless, yes, Costco offers the pianos at very good prices to their members.


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And how do the local dealers feel about this?

They must be making some money if they are supplying the pianos.

LD, you are a Yamaha dealer? How does having Yamaha pianos at Costco effect your business?

Mike


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Luke's Dad is just a little off in his depiction of the COSTCO sales event. Today there are two options.
1. Every authorized Yamaha dealer is offered the opportunity to do the COSTCO piano roadshow sales in their market area. They do the planning, pricing, staffing, load in and out, everything.
2. If the local dealer opts out of this opportunity Yamaha now has a outside sales wing that will run the show, staff the show, and everything through Yamaha. This is new in 2007.


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Quote
Originally posted by Steve Cohen:
You say there is reduced overhead. If the pianos are sold into the dealer's market, and he does not close his store or stop advertising, how can you say that all the costs associated including moving all those pianos to and from Costco, prepping them and Costco's cut doesn't ADD to overhead.

His fixed costs are the same (rent, utilities, payroll, etc.) and his variable costs increase.
The local dealer concept is that of Hecht's (now Macy's) of stacking the inventory High and Deep, and making up the margin in getting more (reduced rate) sales. Costco plays off the "we can get you more foot traffic than you can in your store" pitch to get the manufacturer to sell at discount.

I used to get to put up with that bushwah when buying advertising on AOL: they could (then) charge their murderous ad rates because they had 3x the population of the planet's eyes looking at your ad, eleventy-elevn times a day. smile


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Quote
Originally posted by Craigen:
Luke's Dad is just a little off in his depiction of the COSTCO sales event. Today there are two options.
1. Every authorized Yamaha dealer is offered the opportunity to do the COSTCO piano roadshow sales in their market area. They do the planning, pricing, staffing, load in and out, everything.
2. If the local dealer opts out of this opportunity Yamaha now has a outside sales wing that will run the show, staff the show, and everything through Yamaha. This is new in 2007.
I've been running some Costco shows for over a year now, and was a big part of the beta-testing that took place last year. I can tell you as facts:

1) If the dealer runs the show, the dealer handles providing the inventory, staffing the event, and is now starting to work on scheduling the shows. The pricing is completely out of their hands, is strictly handled between Yamaha and the Costco buyers. The dealers have no say in it.

2)Even when handled by the Yamaha sales staff, the event is still handled pretty much the same way. Inventory is provided by the dealer, scheduling is handled by the dealer, Pricing is completely handled by Yamaha, and staffing is handled by Yamaha. Dealer is still committed to all after sales service.

Christopher, all I can tell you is that the only costs we've incurred at our events were the move in and out of 16-18 instruments, salespersons commissions, and Costco's percentage. The shows have been pretty successful from our point of view, at little expens, and little risk.

Steve, if at Costco, we found that we were selling to the same clients that were coming through our brick and mortars, then yes, the shows would be costong us alot of money. Our research has shown, however, that less than 5% of the members that have purchased pianos have ever been in our stores. Also, many members choose not to purchase during the shows, but are willing to go back to the stores a month or two later, and pay a higher price for the same product, or to have a larger selection to see and try.

It's been working out extremely well, all the way around.


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