Solomon Bruce Consulting Blog

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Business Owner shopped in town after all!

   In the August 29 blog post, I addressed the point of a  local business owner using the internet to buy some products for a project he was working on instead of using local vendors who sell the same, if not similar products.
   The business owner called me today and told me that after reading my blog post, he thought about what we said and indeed did give a local vendor the opportunity to bid on the product before he pushed the "BUY" button the computer!
   In this particular instance, there are several local vendors who sell the product that the business owner needed.  He selected a local vendor whom I have done business with, know the business, his staff and have purchased some of his products for my own use.  I did NOT influence the business owner's thinking in any way, just pointed out that there were several local vendors with whom he could call and get a quote from.
   The business owner told me that the local vendor's price was approximately 40% higher than that of the internet.  The local vendor did identify that he believed that his product was of significantly higher quality than that bought over the internet.  My business owner friend stated that he has not seen the product that he ordered so he would reserve judgment on the quality until after the product arrives from the vendor.
    I asked the business owner if the vendor would install the product.  The business owner said "YES" he would.  Of course, having used this particular vendor before, I knew that.  I did identify to the business owner that obviously there was some additional cost included for installation.  I also pointed out to the business owner that he had paid that cost before, using his own staff to do the particular work necessary to install the product.  The business owner conceded that was true-- the cost for installation was included in his staff's hourly schedule.
   The business owner did tell me that he talked with his wife and did recognize that his business does come from the local community.  The business owner also told me that he recognized the points I made regarding returning to the local community business because his clients also came from the local community.
   Now the fun begins!  I cannot wait to see the product that the local vendor has sold to my business owner friend.  The business owner will be able to compare the quality of the product that he bought.  I pointed out that there is nothing made that someone cannot make or sell cheaper.  Those that focus on price alone will be sadly disappointed when they have to replace a product prematurely.
   Yes, using a local vendor probably costs more-- at least ostensibly.  However, what many people fail to realize is that what you are really paying more for is the SERVICE that the local vendor provides.  Large internet box stores can certainly buy and sell cheaper than a local vendor.  That there is no discussion  with.  HOWEVER, service, quality and knowing that you helped a fellow business owner out is worth more than just price alone.  My business owner friend did concede that he recognized that this local vendor can be used as a great "silent salesman" for his business as well as many other businesses in town.
   Price and cost are just two factors that you need to consider when buying something.  The local vendor will be there when there is a problem, something breaks or an adjustment is required.  That is not the case with the internet company.  In most cases, you are unable to talk to a live human being to explain your problem, let alone get satisfactory resolution.
   I told my business owner friend that he made the right decision!  If you are in the same boat, think long and hard about using the internet vendor when there is a competent, competitive vendor here in town.  Service, quality and the ability to call the local vendor is much more important than the few dollars that you might perceive to save using an internet vendor.
   We are all in business together.  In some  cases, using the internet makes perfectly good sense and you should use it.  However, always shop locally and see what the local folks can do before just thinking that price is the sole determinant in the buying equation. 
   I will report more after this product arrives and is installed at my business owner friend's place of business.


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