When buying instruments or their accessories, there is always the temptation to shop online in hopes of finding that ever-alluring, lowest possible price.
We understand the temptation–money talks–but did you know that you often get ripped off when you buy music products online instead of at your local music store?
When you choose to shop online, you are choosing to buy an inferior product at an arbitrarily low price.
Check out this eye-opening article written by the Mantova’s Two Street Music Research Division!
1. The Warranty Issue
Online shoppers have to pay more if they want a warranty to cover their purchase. So lets say a guitar at MTS Music costs $500 and the same model can be found online at $399. Big difference, until you notice it costs 49.99 for a warranty. At this point, if you still decide to purchase the guitar online, you are only saving $50 that, as we will show, is going to get used up real quick.
Please notice at Mantova’s Two Street Music you automatically get a warranty with your purchase.
2. Manufacturing Defects/Product Inspection
When buying online instead of at our store, you are choosing to pay a little bit less for an inferior product. That’s because our technicians take a close look at every single instrument that comes in from our suppliers. The truth is that we see manufacturing defects all the time from our own orders. When this happens we either fix the defect and lower the price a little bit, or we get on the phone and send it back!
So how many defects does the stuff you bought online have? How much money will you lose fixing those defects?
At MTS Music it costs at least $20 for a guitar setup. Lets go back to our online guitar that sold for $399 plus $50 for warranty costs. Let’s now say that that $450 online purchase had a couple minor defects on the assembly line and was dropped on the ground on its way to the UPS handtruck. The costs for our technicians to fix the problem was at least $20.
So your online item now costs $470. “But wait a minute,” you say. “That is still $20 cheaper!”
Yes it is. But we have some more costs to look at
3. Shipping costs–the silent but deadly cost-raiser
There is something about the human mind that doesn’t factor in the cost of shipping with the stated price. Well, it should–money is money.
Now if this online guitar has a shipping cost of $39.99, then the price of your online purchase now sits at $510. What was the price at your local store again? $500.
But you say: “Some of the more well known online sites have free shipping!” Yes that is often the case, but do you really think the price of your online guitar is completely separated and devoid from the shipping cost?
Think again. The price of an item adds up all the costs that go into that item–including shipping. Are you getting an even lesser valued item just so the business can keep the price tag low? In what ways is the business devaluing your item so they can sell it cheaper? Some stores buy product in the millions of units and in order to save costs the manufacturer cuts corners–Does yours?
Shipping cost is also an excellent opportunity to mention that shopping online means you have to wait for your product to show up. Sure you can get it over night–for a price.
4. Sales Tax sucks
“But what about sales tax?!” you say, “that still makes the store purchase more.”
Yes, it could. But isn’t it worth paying an additional 8.5% to make sure that your products are covered by a warranty, not defective and get to you immediately?
5. India-based customer service will never be as good as face-to-face.
Outsourced service will never match the customer service you will get at Mantova’s Two Street Music. The well-intentioned and polite folks that are paid to handle your calls for online purchases have a script book they read for answers to your problems. Not enough when the problem is your instrument.
The cost you pay online also includes what it costs to pay these outsourced phone-jockeys. They make as much as .85 cents a call, its a pretty good deal for them. Is it a good deal for you?
6. Music Stores that fight to be the best carry products you can’t find online
Music stores that are worth visiting take their online competitors seriously. At Mantova’s Two Street Music, we make sure that some of our products are items that you can’t find online.
For example: We get Djembes that come directly from Ghana through a Seattle based middleman. They surpass the quality of 99.9% of Djembes available on the online world.
7. You can’t make a special order online
What is a special order? It is that thing you need that we don’t have on the floor. Well you can purchase it online, or you can special order it through us. Did you know that we oftentimes can throw your special order on top of an order we are about to make and get you free shipping? Did you know that sometimes, our manufacturers have a special discount on the thing you want?
We have more flexibility on special orders than the online guys.
8. There are no layaways online.
What’s a layaway? It is a wonderful system where you can pay off your product over time in payments. You can pay 10% down for us to hold that guitar you want for a month, or even 30% down if you want us to hold it 3 months for you. It’s all yours when you pay it off.
No accumulated interest. No hidden fees. No nonsense.
What if you have hard times and cant make any more payments? That’s ok–your money will become store credit, which you can use any time to buy our products or services.
Or, and this is on a case-by-case basis, you need a little more time to make a payment, we can talk about it
We will let you trade in your gear toward new gear. The online guys don’t.
10 Good Music Stores help their community
Some music stores actively help their communities and others don’t. Research which music stores empower their communities and support those stores.
Mantova’s Two Street Music recently helped raise money for American Cancer Society, The Breast Health Project and Relay for Life. In April 2010 we will pay the advertising budget for The Brain Dance 2, a non profit that helps people with brain injuries with recovery. In June we will be gearing up to help three animal-aid organizations with a fundraiser. We also help out local music and sports programs as best we can.
Shop with local music stores that do good work, and you become part of the effort!
Still want to shop online for your music needs?