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Author Topic: Why buy from a bricks and mortar store?  (Read 22274 times)

dilbert

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Why buy from a bricks and mortar store?
« on: January 16, 2013, 06:23:02 AM »
One of the camera stores local to the Australian Open is offering store members the chance to buy a ticket (less than $100) and shoot from court-side with Canon folks there to help if required.

Now that's something that buying from Internet-only store fronts won't get you!

Do other stores offer similar opportunities?

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Why buy from a bricks and mortar store?
« on: January 16, 2013, 06:23:02 AM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Why buy from a bricks and mortar store?
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2013, 09:54:18 AM »
Sounds like a nice incentive to increase business. 

As we've seen lately, brick-and-mortar stores are suffering - both large chains and small independents.  For the small stores, some of the problem is actually Canon's fault.  According to the owner of a local store (not a chain) I was talking to a few weeks ago, in addition to Canon's recent MAP policy, they also cut margins (i.e., raised wholesale prices), adding back via 'discounts' for volume and for pre-payment, both of which are hard for an independent shop to meet. He said that was pretty much the last straw for him. In fact, that was what brought me in. He was liquidating much of his photo gear and shutting down his print lab, leaving just the broadcast side of his business - essentially B2B with no effort on the consumer end. He said he'll still sell Canon video-oriented dSLR gear (5DIII and up, fast lenses), and he's not expecting a significant profit from those sales.  (He also sells field lenses like the one you posted a partial picture of, and sells the cameras they must be used with...ok, I'm all done beating that horse now  ;) ).   
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awinphoto

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Re: Why buy from a bricks and mortar store?
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2013, 10:32:32 AM »
Why?  Because it gives you warm and fuzzy feelings?  For us in the states, I hardly never buy locally... It doesn't help that our local stores are usually 5-10% higher than adorama or BH, if not more... plus you got local sales tax, and it just makes the out-the-door price skyrocket...  I go to my local store to test out gear and narrow my choices, then I go back home, and order my gear from adorama, with free shipping, and no taxes.  =)  I'm sure our government will close the tax loophole soon enough, but until then, I will do as I need to... 
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robbymack

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Re: Why buy from a bricks and mortar store?
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2013, 10:34:55 AM »
 It will be a sad day when the only camera store in town is a store that would be just as happy to sell you a new fridge as a camera.

neuroanatomist

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Re: Why buy from a bricks and mortar store?
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2013, 10:59:31 AM »
I'm sure our government will close the tax loophole soon enough, but until then, I will do as I need to...

Sorry, but it's not a loophole.  In pretty much every state that charges Sales Tax, there's an equivalent Use Tax that applies to goods purchased out of state for use in the state where you reside.  The buyer is responsible for paying that tax to their state government.  A loophole is a technicality or ambiguity that allows you to avoid the spirit of a law while obeying the letter of that law.  Not paying Use Tax on internet purchases is flat out tax evasion.  Much like driving 10 mph over the posted speed limit, it's unlikely you'll ever be caught/penalized...but it's still against the law.
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tgara

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Re: Why buy from a bricks and mortar store?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2013, 11:10:23 AM »
I would not mind buying from a local store, but the (excellent) independent camera store down the block from my office charges full blown retail on everything they sell.  They are too small to handle the volume of sales that the big box stores and online retails do.  By contrast, I can purchase the exact same items from an internet seller for about 20% less.  Now, if the price difference was $10 or $20 or maybe even $50, I would go to the local store because I really do want to support them, but the difference is usually much more than that.

Consider this example:  My local store is selling the Canon 5D Mark III for full retail, $3499 USD.  Tax in my state is 6.35%, which adds another $222, for a total of $3721.  B&H is selling the same camera for $2975, no tax and free shipping.  That's a difference of $746, which is simply too big to ignore.

pdirestajr

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Re: Why buy from a bricks and mortar store?
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2013, 11:10:34 AM »
My office is in the same building as Calumet's store in NYC. I'm a 2 min walk to Adorama. And a 15 min walk to B&H... These are my local shops ;) Lunch breaks are really hard to not spend money!

I buy from Calumet if/ when their prices are as good as Adorama/ B&H/ Amazon just because of convenience, and the environment is way more "relaxing". Adorama & B&H's vibe is a little hectic (to say the least).

I always prefer buying in a store where I can test the lens out with my camera, and not have to worry about the mail carrier punting my box down the hallway!

Also Calumet every now and then does promotions like "No tax We Pay your tax on all Canon Lenses" (in store only), or other store promos.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 11:13:12 AM by pdirestajr »
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Re: Why buy from a bricks and mortar store?
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2013, 11:10:34 AM »

jp121

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Re: Why buy from a bricks and mortar store?
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2013, 11:19:18 AM »
Failure to adapt & incorporate the internet sales model has brought down many businesses; see HMV.

Currently, the major Australian chains & many independents are suffering from this. Failure to provide reasonable (if any) delivery options, competitive pricing & provision for greater customer service will always lead to business failure.

admittedly, many products have a regional price for Australia that is set ridiculously high. There is almost no way bricks & mortar can compete on price against overseas competition.


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Seanlucky

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Re: Why buy from a bricks and mortar store?
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2013, 11:19:29 AM »
Why?  Because it gives you warm and fuzzy feelings?  For us in the states, I hardly never buy locally... It doesn't help that our local stores are usually 5-10% higher than adorama or BH, if not more... plus you got local sales tax, and it just makes the out-the-door price skyrocket...  I go to my local store to test out gear and narrow my choices, then I go back home, and order my gear from adorama, with free shipping, and no taxes.  =)  I'm sure our government will close the tax loophole soon enough, but until then, I will do as I need to...

What you're doing is literally the rudest thing ever. These stores need to maintain a storefront and keep an inventory of demo cameras (which incidentally cannot be sold for full price), all of which cost money. To use their resources, and then take your money elsewhere, is just being inconsiderate of the employees time and the store's overhead. I understand no one wants to pay more for this already expensive camera gear, but one should really try and be considerate and think how they would feel if the roles were reversed.

sambafan

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Re: Why buy from a bricks and mortar store?
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2013, 11:25:19 AM »
I bought my 5Dii online at an insanely good price (that I was unable to match), but almost always buy lenses locally. The sales tax, at least on <$1k lenses, is a small price to pay for getting to try out a range of lenses in-store before buying; plus you build a relationship and get calls when good new/used stuff comes in...
Also, it's one thing to go check out a TV at a big-box and then order online, but wasting a local shop salesperson's time and effort with no intent to buy is, at best, rude in my opinion.

awinphoto

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Re: Why buy from a bricks and mortar store?
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2013, 11:36:54 AM »
In my town, when I moved here, we had about 3-4 camera stores... now, we have 1 store... the rest died off and no we have a monopoly.  It's either that, if I want to try out a piece of gear, or go to best buy, which would be great if I wanted to get consumer lenses and bodies...  and quite literally, to go to another store, I have to travel 2-3 hours... not going to happen.  And because of that, they have no pressing need to stay competitive...  Sales tax isn't a deal breaker... but it's factor in the price of goods...  and frankly, most stores cant answer any questions I can look up online anyways... most employees being close to minimum wage and treating it as a job until they can get a better job.  My last lens purchase, with their markup and taxes, it would have been about a $200 difference than adorama with free shipping.  I'm not going to lose sleep for saving $200, especially when my bottom line is affected.  Yes, I understand i'm on the honor system to randomly send usage tax to my state...  they can bill me and I'll be glad to hash out the money with them... 
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agierke

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Re: Why buy from a bricks and mortar store?
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2013, 11:55:26 AM »
i do support the idea of buying locally but i stopped going to my local camera shop because they were generally inept and practiced crazy upcharging on whatever they could (ex they charge 80.00 for 9' seamless that is 45.00 everywhere else)

so currently i buy from Calumet in Philly (when i am in the city) and everything else is purchased from B&H. the beauty of that for me is that i live in Delaware, home to NO sales tax! and as far as Use Tax is concerned....this made me crack up...

http://www.tax-rates.org/delaware/use-tax
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Re: Why buy from a bricks and mortar store?
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2013, 11:56:59 AM »
I've bought cameras from a small local store.  The owner and all those that work there are photographers, they give good advice and know their products.  The equipment they sell is good quality and not junk just sold because it has a high markup.
Sadly, they will likely not last too much longer.  We also have a much larger local camera store that has been around for over 100 years.  They have a huge internet presense as well as two brick and mortar stores.  They have survived by branching out into high end home theatre and headphones / etc for those who want to hear the sound before plunking down a few hundred on a headset.
The store has lost its pro photographer sales people, and gone to less experienced photographers, so you need to know about a product before you buy it.  The staff does at least have a reasonable knowledge of what the products they sell can do, and don't register a blank look when you ask then a tough question.
I think we are quite lucky to have both of them.  Yes, some products I buy are only available at Adorama or B&H, so they get business from me as well.

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Re: Why buy from a bricks and mortar store?
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2013, 11:56:59 AM »

robbymack

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Re: Why buy from a bricks and mortar store?
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2013, 12:00:57 PM »
I would not mind buying from a local store, but the (excellent) independent camera store down the block from my office charges full blown retail on everything they sell.  They are too small to handle the volume of sales that the big box stores and online retails do.  By contrast, I can purchase the exact same items from an internet seller for about 20% less.  Now, if the price difference was $10 or $20 or maybe even $50, I would go to the local store because I really do want to support them, but the difference is usually much more than that.

Consider this example:  My local store is selling the Canon 5D Mark III for full retail, $3499 USD.  Tax in my state is 6.35%, which adds another $222, for a total of $3721.  B&H is selling the same camera for $2975, no tax and free shipping.  That's a difference of $746, which is simply too big to ignore.

This is a common problem with a simple solution...everything is negotiable.  You have to understand that your local store may not necessarily be able to match the price of a volume retailer like BH, but maybe they can make it more palatable. I too would not necessarily want to spend $746 more than I need to, but everything has it's opportunity costs.  At least for me a premium on top of the volume retailers is fine if it helps my local store which also provides a lot of services to the community.  My local camera store hosts a twice a year swap meet where I have found countless items, they sponsor the local photo clubs, put on demos, host training sessions, most of which cost little or nothing to attend. 

Dukinald

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Re: Why buy from a bricks and mortar store?
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2013, 12:06:22 PM »
These are tough times not only for brick and mortar camera stores. It is hard to compete with online retailers that charge less than MSRP and offer free shipping and no tax (if u are not going to declare).

They have to offer more (like in OP situation). THey need to adapt or be extinct (sadly).

I too am guilty of trying out stuff at the store. Hopefully they open a Canon Experience Center near where I leave so I wont feel guilty anymore   :-[
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Re: Why buy from a bricks and mortar store?
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2013, 12:06:22 PM »