!!!BUY WHEN YOU BUY, WHEN YOU BUY YOU'RE GONNA BUY!!!

Battlecorals

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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?
 

HolisticBear

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Bargaining is pretty rare for most of our purchases. It's probably fair that outside of house/car, most people pay the list price for almost everything

There are a few coral vendors that clearly expect bargaining, which is fine. The issue that gets me is fairness. If Vendor A assumes only suckers pay list prices and Vendor B never does bargaining, how many Vendor A customers learn after their first order that they should have bargained? How do they feel? Do they go back to Vendor A or stick with Vendor B.

To be fair, I think discounts on large orders or package deals is pretty common. Yet if my hypothetical Vendor A existed, I think he might lose some customers.

EDIT: My comments were generic about bargaining in general, nothing related to Battle Corals. I think it's safer for a vendor in general to have pretty set prices
 
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bubbaque

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I am generally not someone how haggles with purchases but when it comes to corals I do. I typically find the listed price of a coral to be much higher than what the actual coral sells for. I generally ask if I can buy the coral at the prices I usually see them sold for so I don't feel ripped off.

I think corals feels totally different than normal purchases. Most regular purchases never come with a freebie either.
 

Ssteve

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For me it depends on the item. I’m a bargain shopper so I usually research the heck out of things. If it’s a luxury purchase(which obviously corals are) there needs to be something stand out for me to make the purchase. Best price, best quality, best something. Being able to have an open dialogue definitely helps open that door to a point.

Purchasing from you I feel like I get the best service, on a quality product and an extremely fair deal. Add in a freebie and it’s super easy to justify the purchase as it now ventures into “best price” taratory when your talking cost per piece.

When I make “need” purchases online it’s a different story. Obviously equipment isn’t a need but more so than corals as a lot of the time it’s needed to keep the tank going so I’ll just bite the bullet and order it. In those situations bottom dollar shipped always wins cause the product is the same.
 

Sierra_Bravo

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You also have to keep in mind that when you are dealing with larger companies you have layers. That sales clerk or even the sales manager in a larger outfit isn't necessarily empowered to negotiate and cut deals. When you have a smaller business such as BC, when I call the customer service number I'm also getting the guy who makes the decisions. You are probably the CEO, CFO, and COO in addition to being the receptionist, sales person, shipping department, and guy that sweeps up and shuts the lights off every night. :p

When we messaged back and forth prior to the sale it wasn't about price. It was about what I was looking for in a BattleBox. That type of personalized interest in MY needs was a much more valuable interaction than saving a few bucks. Problem is trying to maintain that level of service once you get bigger and it's not just you anymore - that's the trick.
 

MTBake

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When it comes to buying live animals online, personal interaction of some sort is mandated, imo. Not only for reef related stuff either. This carries over to reptiles, dogs, amphibians, even rare plants. Not saying to haggle, but to ensure you're getting what you want and when you expect it.

The only time I've ever really haggled for a price was a car or home purchase. Now you got me thinking, can I get a discount on a sub sandwich from my favorite sandwich place? I might try tomorrow, lol.

When it comes to dealing with BC, I usually feel guilty when I get a grab bag Battlebox. I'm always blown away by what's in those boxes! Keep up the good work Adam!
 
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Battlecorals

Battlecorals

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You also have to keep in mind that when you are dealing with larger companies you have layers. That sales clerk or even the sales manager in a larger outfit isn't necessarily empowered to negotiate and cut deals. When you have a smaller business such as BC, when I call the customer service number I'm also getting the guy who makes the decisions. You are probably the CEO, CFO, and COO in addition to being the receptionist, sales person, shipping department, and guy that sweeps up and shuts the lights off every night. :p

When we messaged back and forth prior to the sale it wasn't about price. It was about what I was looking for in a BattleBox. That type of personalized interest in MY needs was a much more valuable interaction than saving a few bucks. Problem is trying to maintain that level of service once you get bigger and it's not just you anymore - that's the trick.
Ha yeah this true and something I didn't think about. Like you obviously wouldn't haggle with a cashier at target lol. with MAP pricing there really may be very little wiggle room anyway when it comes to bargaining for dry goods.
 

Maacc

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Lol I was always much more of a here's my tank, these are my tank conditions, I would prefer these colors, somewhere around this number of frags. Please build me a pack and tell me how much.
Big ticket non-reef items like trucks, boats, fishing, scuba and houses I haggle like crazy.
Typical stuff like auto parts, computer parts, grocery shopping and such I hate with a passion so I click the button or get through the checkout lane asap to stop the pain. ;Blackeye
 

AtlCPA

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I have a couple thoughts.

My line of work is professional services/consulting and we are expensive, but obviously reduce prices/make deals with larger customers because we want their current business and potentially their future business. That doesn’t always work out. Sometimes they are more of a pain and you wish you never gave them a discount. Sometimes all is well, but you never get that additional business you discounted for. It’s just business, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose but overall the process is best for us. I have a client I first charged $7,500 for work that should have been more like $12,000, but eventually we got all their work for more than $200,000. I have plenty of other stories where that didn’t work.

For me, as a reefer, I want good product at a fair price and a fair convenience. I’m not going to haggle if I think the “list price” is fair. My time is more valuable. If it’s what I want at a fair price, fine with me.

Having said that, I think I’m a good customer with money to spend on this crazy hobby. Adam I’ve order one pack from you and it was a very good transaction. We’re in an apartment while our house is being built and I’m putting in a 180 custom tank, plus a frag system.

I’m sure I’ll order from you again. I have a lot of coral to buy. If I’m going to spend $3,000 at least on coral in the next 6-10 months.....let’s work together. I need some frags I can grow out, but I also need some chunky pieces that are going to make it to the display tank sooner rather than later.

Look forward to buying more from you in the future.
 

Pauley

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Honestly, if I’m shopping in person at one of the coral “big box stores” in Orlando, I’ll bargain a bit. Probably because I’m used to the almost arbitrary pricing based on what’s being hyped as “hot”, who’s working that day and if they like me, online sales, etc. I feel like haggling is the norm in this hobby, and prices are typically marked up as a tactic, so the sales guy can knock some money off the final price in an effort to convince you that he’s cutting you a deal. I’m not disrespectful about it, but I think if you don’t ask for a discount, you’re probably
paying too much. (Of course, in this hobby, you’re probably paying too much anyways. LOL)

On the flip side, I only deal with a few hobbyist vendors, and only the ones I trust and respect, whom I feel are fair (both in pricing and service). I don’t really try to bargain with them- I just feel like it’s a different relationship. Maybe it’s just me.
 
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danreefman

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I only ask for a deal if I want the product and feel the price is unfair. But really I try not to.

I hate being haggled. But it's part of todays world. Alot of people are very cheap.

Look at reef raft. 900 on his site, but if you contact dirrect he cuts price in half at least. Its pretty ridiculous. Off topic a little. But beware of the various flat worms, sponge and other pest you'll end up with when you buy rr frags.

Adam, I have not ordered from you yet. But I think your prices are more than fair. I can see your passion over everyone elses on the forums. Very hard to find passion now days. Keep up the good work. I hope people don't haggle you too much.

I'll spend more on a small local business for good services. Especially if there product is actually made in America!! Some people want you to make money. Sometimes the hard part is finding those people. Like I said people are cheap, and can't see the full circle.

I haggle at Sea World, Nordstrom, Homedepot just for fun. Its more gratifying getting a deal from the big guys. They don't break as easy. I like the challenge.

The funny part is the hagglers never budge when selling there own stuff at top dollar. Or they haggle you, roll up in a 100 plus thousand dollar ride with way more cash in there pocket than what they worked the deal for. I hear people say thats how the rich stay rich. They are just wanna bees. I work for the truly rich. They are not looking for deals. They want the best known product.

This is a middle class hobby. If your going to sell to the middle class, your going to have to haggle for the most part. It is what it is. Ballers on bugdets.
 

Caravanshaka

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The price is secondary to the level of service to me. I like to find vendors that I can discuss decisions with, and ones I can trust will take care of me when I turn to them with a problem I had with an order. Once I am an established customer and know that they are going to be a major vendor for me, I don't mind talking to them and asking if they can discount their items a reasonable amount, as they now know that I am a repeat customer and I know they are good people. For this reason, almost all of my dry goods come from Premium Aquatics, as Luke and Jason have ALWAYS taken great care of me. They also cut me deals on what they can because I always come to them for my stuff.
 

jda

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Price is way down the list for me, too. I realized a long time ago that I cannot afford to be cheap. However, I do pay attention to free shipping and discount breaks at certain price points. If I am near a 10% or 20% off the order point, I will usually buy more stuff. I usually will not buy just a single frag and add shipping onto it... seems like a waste of my time and a waste of the vendor's time. If the vendor is willing to ship free at a certian point, there is value around that dollar mark for them, so I want to try and meet it.

BTW - I haggle and pay cash for nearly everything that costs more than a few hundred dollars. I try and find a local shop to support with a decision-maker nearby. I was able to get a new golf cart last year for $4200 off since I had cash, it was a demo with 3 miles on it and not eligible for financing and I got another 24 months of warranty. Cash still talks. Cash certainly talks at frag shows - half price sometimes.
 

jolt

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I am more concerned about value than price. Large, healthy, pest-free, colored up versus super tiny, or not healthy. Customer service is also part of value, especially if I have a DOA or even a later loss. You've replaced a lost frag for me simply on my word. I know you put yourself at risk of being scammed with such a policy, but it meant a lot to me.

PS - I am still trying to parse this thread's title LOL
 

mckinney0171

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When it comes to buying corals from you Adam the fun for me is in the surprise. I know and trust you after buying several battleboxes in the past. I am a coral collector and view battlecorals as little works of art. I know that whatever you put in the box I am going to love. It's like the fun when I was a kid of opening up packs of panini hockey stickers or topps hockey cards. I always hoped to get that lemieux or gretzky but was never disappointed as the thrill was in the chase. Battleboxes for me are the same type of excitement as an adult. I will never have the entire BC collection but I love going down your website and picking out the ones that I own. I would never think of haggling on the price as I know you take care of me regardless and I don't need to

Same goes for other coral and fish vendors really (although I don't shop at many others - ORA and LA Divers Den are the only ones I use really). In those cases I already know what I want and pay the price listed. I wouldn't even consider haggling with them either (wouldn't even know that you could really). I know this hobby is not inexpensive. And the amount of work that goes with raising fish and corals must be limitless. So, I don't mind spending full price.

So I guess that makes me the amazon type shopper.
 
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Battlecorals

Battlecorals

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I'll start referring to you as GG Adam.

Ha! well you know me, punching out customers left and right, not to mention.......... er........family friendly forum.......family friendly forum..........family friendly forum
 

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