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Guest paskinn

It's not just dealers..it is greedy old us

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Richard's post above makes a lot of valid points.

Thinking back to my own purchases over the past few years, and I've bought next to nothing from a Bricks and Mortar retailer. Firstly, living in a rural area, there just aren't that many about, and those that are have a very limited choice. I buy a fair bit of music, mostly on CD, and for many years now have bought from Amazon rather than anywhere else. I can get everything I want there, have a choice of prices, and usually with free delivery. Our local HMV has next to nothing I'm interested in, hardly any classical or Jazz, and the nearest town with half decent choices is 35 miles and nightmare parking away. On-line is just so much easier, let alone cheaper.

As far as equipment goes, I've bought a LOT of audio equipment in the past year, equipping a radio station. Again, it's been on-line, either that well-know auction site or On-Line retailers. Once I know what item I want, which can be well worked out from downloading the manual on-line, I just find who's got it in stock, and at what price. A Dealer, even a good one, would be of no help.

Domestically, almost everything we buy except for food and shoes / clothes that need trying on, we get on-line. This is mostly a matter of lack of choice, and the unwillingness to drive several hours into a major city, with attendant parking problems, get there and find they don't have the one you want in stock. Service is also lacking in many shops, and with many items. If a washing machine, refrigerator or large TV goes wrong, often the manufacturer's service department get their own people out, not the retailer's.

When it comes to HiFi, it would be great to have a local shop with everything on demo and at discounter prices, but that's just not feasible. Just look at any high-street, and what's happened to all specialist shops, where are the hardware shops, the tool shops, the bookshops, the record shops and indeed the HiFi shops? Either moved out of town or on-line.

Specialist retailing in fixed locations has had its day, firstly mail-order catalogues then the Internet has seen to that. I expect that in perhaps 20 years' time, the only physical shops will be those selling itmes that have to be physically seen and tried on, and even there, if mail-order is efficient, order several sizes and return the ones you don't want, or fresh food. Even Supermarkets with their on-line home-delivery service have started the first moves away from needing to be accessible, if home delivery takes hold, how long before a Supermarket decides to operate out of a few large warehouses on industrial estates and do all their business on-line?

S.

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Following the demise of high street retailing and the associated service, there will be room in the market for internet-based service provision. I'm going to give this some thought as it may well be an 'opportunity'...

Listening to kit before buying it is important. Not, in imho essential, but definitely a good idea. Listening to it at home, in your system, is also a very good idea. However, there are only two ways this can be achieved: dealer comes to you (with their associated costs) or you go to the dealer, collect item, and take it home.

Let's assume option 2... How many of us would be prepared to travel to a dealer, collect and pay in full for an item, before being allowed to remove it from the shop, with the proviso that you will return it in the condition you received it within 7 days in order to get a refund if you find it is unsuitable? Certainly I can't see many dealers being happy to give kit to Joe Public who walks in off the street saying he's looking for a £x000 amplifier.

Someone, somewhere, has to pay.

The retail analyst view is that the high street will only consist of service industries, and in particular services that don't translate online; eye tests, haircuts, pharmacies, fast food and coffee, pubs etc. The rest will change. If you look at today's high street, it's already in transition. The high-end streets are seeing shops like Jessops and HMV and Borders being replaced with restaurant chains, Supercuts and coffee shops. The less high-end streets add Lidl and pound stores.

There's even a move by landlords to de-zone prime high street retail property and retask it as prime living space, based on the idea that the high street is the most convenient part of a town to visit, it must also be the most convenient part of the town to live in. This attracts a young home buyer or high-end renter who likes being surrounded by coffee shops, restaurants and pubs.

Where this leaves hi-fi and home cinema retailers with bricks and mortar stores remains to be seen.

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Well i really don't get some online retailers who also have a retail outlet . HMV prices in the shop are sometimes alot more than on-line. Charge the same or adjust so the online price subsides the retail operation and not undercuts it . If i'm out i won't buy from HMV for 2 reasons. One i know they're cheaper online and secondly if i want to buy on line i'll always find the cheapest option . So i actually think that if HMV charged tthe same in store they'd actually pick up trade.

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I firmly believe in hearing equipment in your own home, and sending out small boxes is fine, but equipment that has to be set up or explained in situ, or larger items like loudspeakers that is a problem.

I can see a future where indivuiduals ( if they are willing) become the local representative for a certain product, and for their 'service' they receive a percentage if the sale proceeds.

Keith.

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I firmly believe in hearing equipment in your own home, and sending out small boxes is fine, but equipment that has to be set up or explained in situ, or larger items like loudspeakers that is a problem.

I can see a future where indivuiduals ( if they are willing) become the local representative for a certain product, and for their 'service' they receive a percentage if the sale proceeds.

Keith.

I think thats a wonderful idea . Right if anyone from ASR or Dartzeel want a local rep in North Kent phone me :love:

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Lol, Dealers increasingly would rather import their own brands rather than just retail other distributors products,unless the brands are extremely well established of course.

D ASR's are pretty heavy to cart around! Can you see any problems with that model, the 'reps' would have to declare their 'trade' status on forums of course.

Keith.

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Well it would be great but i think the dealer or distibutor would really check out the rep , the listening room , partnering equipment etc etc . Didn't bespoke kitchen companies try something similar . Like you got it for 60% of the price but had to let 15 strangers into your house to look at it .

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The retail analyst view is that the high street will only consist of service industries, and in particular services that don't translate online; eye tests, haircuts, pharmacies, fast food and coffee, pubs etc. The rest will change. If you look at today's high street, it's already in transition. The high-end streets are seeing shops like Jessops and HMV and Borders being replaced with restaurant chains, Supercuts and coffee shops. The less high-end streets add Lidl and pound stores.

There's even a move by landlords to de-zone prime high street retail property and retask it as prime living space, based on the idea that the high street is the most convenient part of a town to visit, it must also be the most convenient part of the town to live in. This attracts a young home buyer or high-end renter who likes being surrounded by coffee shops, restaurants and pubs.

Where this leaves hi-fi and home cinema retailers with bricks and mortar stores remains to be seen.

The retail analysts miss one prime point. If people no longer go into town centres to buy things, they will no longer stop off for a coffee or a burger while they are there. What even the best analyst fails to recognise is the impending and almost complete fragmentation of the physical high street. Apart from picking up the late-night passing kebab trade, there is no reason for a takeaway restaurant to be in a traditional town centre location, where rents and rates are at their highest levels. In my town, this is already apparent. The butcher, barber and Indian restaurant I use are not in the high street, but in the middle of residential roads. Increasingly, specialist shops are converting the ground floor of a house for retail use and living in the upper stories.

Go into the centre of most smaller towns these days and you can already see the tumbleweed.

Where does this leave the home cinema and retail hi-fi stores? Much as it hurts you to acknowledge it, you already know the sad answer to that question.

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Well it would be great but i think the dealer or distibutor would really check out the rep , the listening room , partnering equipment etc etc . Didn't bespoke kitchen companies try something similar . Like you got it for 60% of the price but had to let 15 strangers into your house to look at it .

Reminded me of this.NSFW

NSFW

[video=youtube;noTjI3CloYk]

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We all know you can only truly judge gear by listening to it, preferably in your own home. Which is fine, but it has become increasingly hard to get hold of the gear to listen to. Why? Well, let me suggest one reason.Last week a manufacturer I know drove 250 miles (each way) to let a potential puchaser sample his gear in his own home, over several hours. The chap said he really loved the item and would be ordering it; but when the manufacturer rang several days later, the chap announced that he had been 'put in a quandry' because he has found the item, second hand, on the internet, so he had bought that. That was, morally at least, simple theft of the manufacturers money , time and goodwill.The chap only bought the item because of the demo. It was the third time it had happened to the same manufacturer in two months. How long will that product be available for audition? If us 'punters' behave like a bunch of pack animals exploiting everyone we deal with, hi fi really will be dead.We all want a fair price...but dealers cannot survive without a profit. And if they are not around we don't get to hear much of the stuff. It is like a farmer who 'saves money' by eating his own seedcorn. I fear that is the future.....

Personally, as someone who worked in HIFI retail I think the dealer should be able to publish their name on an internet black list, most dealers already have one already

and the really good ones can spot a tire kicker straight away.

I have always thought a small dem fee ie £20 per hour would be acceptable and would keep some tire kickers away.

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The retail analysts miss one prime point. If people no longer go into town centres to buy things, they will no longer stop off for a coffee or a burger while they are there. What even the best analyst fails to recognise is the impending and almost complete fragmentation of the physical high street. Apart from picking up the late-night passing kebab trade, there is no reason for a takeaway restaurant to be in a traditional town centre location, where rents and rates are at their highest levels. In my town, this is already apparent. The butcher, barber and Indian restaurant I use are not in the high street, but in the middle of residential roads. Increasingly, specialist shops are converting the ground floor of a house for retail use and living in the upper stories.

Go into the centre of most smaller towns these days and you can already see the tumbleweed.

Where does this leave the home cinema and retail hi-fi stores? Much as it hurts you to acknowledge it, you already know the sad answer to that question.

Well, this is why town centre retail outlets are becoming town centre hotel and residential complexes. It's not happening at this time because of the slump in the building market and the flatlining of house prices. But when we claw our way out of the gloom in a few hundred years time, this is what the town centre will look like.

The residential property as showroom is already here. Coherent, House of Linn, Cool Gales all run out of residential properties. There will also be more companies relying on small lock-ups on industrial estates and business parks, despite the inherent problems of making such premises approximate domestic environments. And there will be a lot of man-with-van traders.

This is almost inevitable. The problem then becomes one of visibility, but I suspect visibility has been a problem for years.

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Couple of things spring to mind.

It seems it's the 'middle men' , importers , distributors, retailers etc who are being cut out. Brands like B&O have thier own dedicated stores thi scould be possible for the bigger brands.

I would pay £20 for a demo, for the joy of listening to the shop's wears, it's almost entertainment. Currently I rarely go into to my local reputable hi-fi shop (only half a mile away) because I know I will not be buyng anything nevermind go in and request a demo I couldn't do it.

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Just goes to show how ridiculously marked up these products are if they can afford a day's time and a tank of fuel in order to get one sale. The only way I can do this in my job is if i can see the potential for on sales, for a one off job with no chance of lots of future business I simply could not afford to go to market in this way.

oh and before people go on about R&D costs of hifi etc. As if they are some unique case, they can think again. We do R&D and manufacture in the UK and we manage to sell electronics at prices that would make most hifi manufacturers wince.

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Well i think whether you can buy something or not there is no harm in letting people into the shop to browse as long as they're straight with you. Even let them listen to a couple of demo rooms if they're free. Whats the downside . None . You'll defnintely get free positive publicity . They may not buy something but i guarantee they reco a dealer to a friend if the atmosphere is welcoming .

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