Haggling with Online Retailers

Reborn

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What has been your experience or strategy when haggling with online stores like Sweetwater or Wildwood? Have you been successful (if so, maybe how much were you able to shave off?) or is it just much easier to pull off in person?
 

sonar1

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After a couple purchases at Sweetwater, I started asking if there was any “wiggle room” on the price.
Adam Cesarz (ext 1700) gave me 10% off. Now I don’t need to even ask and he’ll give me 10%, even on demo stuff that’s already discounted.
 

Dilver

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When I called Wildwood and asked if they could match Sweetwater’s price on a 2018 Les Paul Junior, they said they could not, but would be willing to get close. Since Wildwood has all specs and pics of most of the guitars they have in stock on their site, I chose a guitar they had, even if it was a little bit more than Sweetwater. I’m glad I did, it’s a great guitar and the finish was flawless. If you’re looking for any chance of a discount, you really have to speak with someone.
 

Roxy13

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After a few purchases anytime I ask at Sweetwater they either give me a discount or throw in freebies if it's something small like a pedal.

And they will certainly price match so if say CME has a 15% off sale going on, SW has no problem matching it for you.

SW is within reasonable driving distance of me so that might be important on something like an amp as they can often do a repair faster than say the manufacturer's closest repair center can.
 

lespaulfreak93

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In my experience, most music stores around the world are willing to give you a discount if you ask nicely and are serious about purchasing. Online and in-store. The nice people at CME also put a lot of effort in trying to offer me a better price and the cheapest possible shipping to Europe, unfortunately even with the discount shipping was just too much.

I've only been to one store where they wouldn't do anything and were offended that I asked for a discount on a guitar which had obvious wear from people testing it. Never came back there.
 

Wuuthrad

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Well there was MSRP and now there is MAP.

Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price has given many of us in the USA, whom are older than Millenials I suppose, the idea that retail price is freely negotiable, which it was for a long time, as people could ask just about any price in store.

Minimum Advertised Price has sort of levelled the playing field- whenever you get a deal it’s a “price match,” or the salesperson has an allotment per month, or some other specification, which is given to preferred customers.

At least as far as I understand having spoken mostly amicably with, and gotten a variety of deals from a good variety of salespeople and managers in the last several decades. Some better than others!

Interesting to hear how this may or may not be different in the EU or the UK? I wonder how Asia sets prices?
 

mjross

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I’ve found that you have to establish a relationship if you have a rep! As example, after purchasing a lot of gear from the same rep at SW I’m getting some pretty good discounts these days. With a dealer like MF, I just remind who ever answers of the thousands of dollars I’ve spent with them over the years! Don’t know if it means squat but I get some pretty good discounts. SA use to be pretty good but lately they are not dealing very much. Hopefully, they get back to pre covid deals some day!
 

FingerLakesFan

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As many have mentioned, form a relationship with a Rep at a dealership you like. After a few purchases, they usually give a good deal on something you want. I know my guy at Sweetwater quoted me a price on a R9 they had coming in in a couple months. A few days later, someone backed out of a M2M R9 they had in stock and he sold it to me for original price he had quoted even though this was more. Build a relationship is my best advice.
 

moreles

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As far as I can tell, with any large or online business, it's just math. Nobody'as actually doing you personal favors, though the wise sellers frame it as though they are doing you a favor. They're not, beyond the step of deciding that they will use one of their additional discounts on you and not some other buyer. Almost all the general discounting is standard, though you don't get it if you don't ask! I have found that virtually every seller, online and bricks and mortar, will match markewt price or current selling price (that is, a real price for an existing instrument in stock someplace). The best place for me to find genuine bargains has been small shops, individual sellers (yes, CL; it works for me!), and EBay (yes, Ebay) when an item is poorly listed and so flies below the mass radar. I'm happy to pay the going price for some instruments that do not exist in number in the market. We all know that asking prices, listing prices, opening bid prices, MSRP, published "discount" prices are inflated, and that the value of an instrument is what smart buyers pay for it, and nothing more than that -- at least in terms of dollars.
 

ehb

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MSRP = some bullshit number pulled out of thin air.

MAP = Minimum Advertised Price

It is set by the manu/distro. A shop CANNOT advertise a price lower than that. It was intended to prevent John D. Rockerfeller'n the competition, as in selling below cost out in the open...

If you look at a specific non-custom piece, everybody has it at the same exact price everywhere on their website. That is the MAP price. THAT is why the prices are the same.

MAP does NOT apply in person or on phone. Most places will deal with you 'unless you're a jerk'... Call or show up and be courteous and you can get more off....

MAP, % wise, is NOT a huge margin so don't expect them to 'give it to you'... They have to make money.... Costs a LOT to run a shop....
 

Spinifex

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Well there was MSRP and now there is MAP.

Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price has given many of us in the USA, whom are older than Millenials I suppose, the idea that retail price is freely negotiable, which it was for a long time, as people could ask just about any price in store.

Minimum Advertised Price has sort of levelled the playing field- whenever you get a deal it’s a “price match,” or the salesperson has an allotment per month, or some other specification, which is given to preferred customers.

At least as far as I understand having spoken mostly amicably with, and gotten a variety of deals from a good variety of salespeople and managers in the last several decades. Some better than others!

Interesting to hear how this may or may not be different in the EU or the UK? I wonder how Asia sets prices?
UK experience... playing and buying for about 1.5 years... and buying new guitars around US$1,000... and second hand guitars for much less.

UK prices that I have tracked are similar to US website retail eg sweetwater. ie US$ online retail without sales tax converted to UK£ at my favourite FX rate then add 20% on top (for VAT - UK's tax on sales)... result is pretty close to UK retail.

The two UK retailers I have bought from do not negotiate on price. One instead offer free strings and el cheapo strap. Both do have sales and are competively priced.

I have not bothered comparing prices for models beyond the LP tribute.

I enjoy playing the more aspirational LP models and putting them back on the wall hanger... happy that I have some well set up guitars at home.

Still want a nice Standard though...
 

jbash

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Sweetwater will work with you, but not if you are using a multi- payment plan- you need to use their card, or pay the entire amount at the time of sale.

As mentioned, build a relationship with your Rep.
 

flamesarewicked

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The only online retailer I’ve ever dealt with as far as negotiating a price on more than one occasion was CME. I’ve had a good experience with them overall. They’ve cut some off the top of used guitars I’ve bought from them. I’ve also sold them a few Les Pauls in the past.

Since the addition of taxes was brought into Reverb sales, they’ve more or less taken off what the taxes would have added. It’s a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things but every little bit helps.

Wildwood guitars was another vendor that did give me a small cut on guitars but I was buying two of them at once. This was also before the world went upside down and prices went crazy.. I’m sure it would be a different story now. Now days your biggest challenge is a store actually having something on hand.
 

efstop

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I have bought only one guitar but many amps and pedals online but never thought to haggle. Either what I was buying was already reduced, or I just paid whatever the price was.

Most of my guitars were bought in person at L&M. Although they rarely discount (aside from occasionally reducing an entire line) their used prices are often better than anywhere else in North America. I have several that can't be replaced for what I paid. They will still move on used prices. I got my used Junior Tribute DC for $50 off just for asking what kind of a deal I could get. It was already lower priced in the store than any I had seen on their or any other site.

Careful shopping should net you as good a deal as haggling.
 

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