Shopping will never be the same

The continued up trend in leads and shoppers was no better no worse last week. We completed a sales meeting in Maryland which brought all of our offices together for 1 ½ days to go over 2012 and some of the exciting things we are going to accomplish in 2013.

For those who don’t know me I enjoy running early in the morning 3-4 days a week. Its on these runs or shortly afterwards where my most productive thoughts or ideas are formed. On one of these runs the thought came to me about how the world we live in today has become something like never before in terms of shopping. All of which can be tied back to the revolution and pace of technology. The internet opened the door but it’s the ipad, smartphone and walking mobile proliferation that has blown it off its hinges. You can stand in a store and pull your phone or tablet out and shop that item in 30 seconds. This is not going away and has altered the landscape of how people buy.

Never before has it been harder for people who own a small business to sell goods over $1000 if they are not looking out from their zip codes. For those that figured out ways to move outside of that scope it’s also a time when never before could they sell more products to further reaches. Two perfect examples of that came to me from my own experience this year.

1)      My lawn tractor was on the blink and my 15 year old said dad we need a zero turn mower it will cut the lawn time in half. He was right and I took a look locally at a few. But then I jumped online and compared brands, specs, and of course prices. My local dealers “on sale” price was $3799 plus tax. On an ipad in the back of my car driving to dinner my son found the exact model in a crate shipped from Michigan in one day for $3149 no tax no shipping from a tractor supply warehouse store. Gave them my credit card on Sunday and had it Tuesday morning. One month later needed a part walked into my local dealer and bought the part for $24.99. Had no interest in shopping to save $1.49 on the part but absolutely when spending thousands.

2)   My parents where replacing the range in their home and wanted a very upscale gas range. Knowing what they wanted my wife sent them to a really high end kitchen store. They found the brand, style and options they wanted. Shopped it online over the course of 3 days to 7 different dealers with an email that gave them “hey this is what we want, give us your best price”. The final bid was accepted and the purchase was made based on price and delivery. The high end local store was 18% higher then where we bought it from.

These were commodities where to me exceptional service mattered far less then price or support for who I ended up buying from. I am willing to accept that when I problem occurs I may have to work a bit harder to get it resolved but it’s not as if I need training on how to cut the grass. The exact same example of this occurs in every item out there over $1000 today more then ever before. It’s not everyone mind you but far more then 5 years ago and 15 years ago it was hardly even a possibility. If you have a production type boat where there are 5-10 out there this is why listed price is so vital to make the phones ring and why we wanted to show you some stats to bear this out.

THIS IS WHY WE NEED TO THINK LIKE BUYERS MORE AND SELLERS LESS.

100 Random settlements for Knot 10 in 2012 looked like this:

55% of the boats stayed in state. 45% of them went to another state or country.

55 boats listed in the same state stayed in the same state

45 boats listed in a state that sold to another state or country

Florida to Toronto

Florida to Virginia

Florida to North Carolina

MD To MI, NY(4), PA (2), MA, FL (2),VA (8), DE (2), DC

MD To Singapore

MD To Ontario

MD to Germany

MD To British Columbia

Virginia to MD (2), CA, NJ,FL,MA

Connecticut To NY (2)

Massachusetts To NH

Massachusetts To Venezuela

New Hampshire to MA

Vermont to Canada

When prices are right the end result is shoppers inquiring more about boats farther away as the cost to ship and logistics to do so outshine the local options.

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