- Oct 15, 2009
- Reaction score
When it comes to customers, I think I can safely say that I’ve dealt with just about every variety out there: from people deeply involved in the entire process - to the practically anonymous three click buyer. More often placing orders through sites with no active discourse with the vendor at all, other than to answer obligatory questions like ship dates or address confirmation. Stuff like that. Generally speaking, I think most online sales, not just including hobby related, are done this way. Using myself as an example, when I buy misc stuff for my camera, from small parts to expensive lenses, I just visit my preferred site, find what I want, then click and buy. I’ll do some research on big ticket items, but I don’t think it ever even crossed my mind to contact a big store like that directly to see if they can do any better for me, or haggle just a little even.
But this hobby is different, and it’s definitely unique when it comes to hobbyist sellers, because you are essentially forced to interact, through forums or email, in some way or another, and bargaining certainly ensues. If you want to buy something from a hobbyist, you have no choice. You have to talk to them at least once or twice. I think that this type of forced interaction may have been what has lead so many people to be more active and involved with their other purchases, rather than simply placing an order like you would on amazon, for example, or like me with my camera parts. Purchasing what you want, with a couple clicks of the mouse, and expecting it to show up a few days later. At no point do you have any actual communication with the seller. It’s pretty automatic really, and as I said before I am definitely more of the anonymous buyer myself. Maybe some part of me isn’t much of a haggler, or perhaps I’m just shy, or lazy - LOL - but I do most of my purchasing that way, paying the asking price and going on my way.
Now being a vendor, I know that working with buyers has it’s advantages and disadvantages. With straight online site order placers, the process it pretty streamlined. Order placed, order fulfilled, then shipped and that’s pretty much it. A few emails with details on shipping and such, and perhaps pack details, depending on what was ordered. Certainly easier on my end to manage and process, and not very time consuming.
Where as, the interactive buyer is far more engaged in the process from the start. They will often begin a preliminary order with an email or two, and a couple questions. Sometimes a phone call and a text or two as well, maybe followed by and order at some point. And sometimes not at all. It’s more of a marathon of a process, that has taken from a few days, to up to many months in some cases. During this process I definitely get more in tune with the buyer, and will have have established some amount of rapport by the time the order is finally placed. I’d like to think that the relationship will usually translate to an overall more satisfying end result for the buyer, whether it’s a blind box order, or a custom pack. But by the same token, I will admit that my anonymous customers often get the royal treatment, perhaps as some kind of unspoken gratuity for simply paying the asking price, and ultimately making process so much easier for me. LOL. However, one thing I have noticed a lot, is that people who place straight site orders the first time, may reach out on their second order, and we will work together on a specialized pack. After that, all of their future orders are done directly with me. So I think once the ice is broken so to speak, I’m sure its easier to engage with a vendor as well. At the end of the day, on my end accept for maybe the occasional ultra low baller, I really apprieciate every single type of buyer out there more than ever. I you want to get in touch and go over as many detail as you can come up with before you order please don't hesitate to contact me and get the gears turning. Always happy and willing to work with customers any way I can at any time. Even if it means late night texting sessions while I am literally lying in bed, about to call it a night. No sweat there at all.
So really I’m just curious to hear what you guys think. Do you like to get in touch with the vendor and bargain a little, and see what kind of deals you can work out? How about dry goods? I’ll admit I have never even tried, but are dry good vendors willing break prices down for the astute buyer? If I called up @BRS and asked for 3 DI cartridges, a few alk test kits and some T5 bulbs, could they work with me a little on that, give me a "pack price"? Would they work with me on that, or is this engaged buying process reserved only for stuff with less "absolute" pricing...
Or, are you more like me and like to do things a little less personal and just go ahead and place an order.
What the heck kind of a buyer are you?