While talking with a person – that could prove to be pretty important in Sugar River Fibers future – a few weeks ago, we began talking about online selling. She proposed a question that I have never talked with anybody about, but have some strong feelings and definitely have an opinion on.
As I talk with the people that are important in molding the future of my company and therefore important in shaping my very future, I find myself replying very thoughtfully. As I hope I answer with what they want to hear.
The question that we were discussing was, online retailers discounting a product because their overhead is less. And I find this disturbing.
Some supply companies appear to moving towards regulating their suggested retail prices (SRP) and requiring a retail price. I will dub this, the RRP.
Everyone will cry out, “…this will destroy the free market and kill the competition of capitalism…”
I got a little carried away, most likely nobody will cry this out. But if this does cause you to think…that is good.
As a consumer you could spend all sorts of time researching a product, reading reviews, and comparing prices – for some this is might be fun.
But honestly, wouldn’t it be nice to know that it will be the same price at your buddy’s little shop down the street as it will be at the mega-giants.
Wouldn’t it be nice to talk with the shop(s) that know what they are talking about– or at least willing to get an answer for you – and get all of this for the same price.
Wouldn’t it be nice to shop somewhere and not hear “next.”
Somewhere that help is only a few steps away. Not hovering over you and definitely not reachable only by pressing the service button.
And as a retailer, wouldn’t it be nice to carry the same product –with the same price as the mega giant down the road – allowing a different kind of competitive market take over.
The competition of the seller knowing the product, using the product, loving the product. The competition of “…here is how I use the product, and I have seen others do this.” Real knowledge.
With all of this ‘equality’ now you can make your decision on what each store brings to you and your community, rather than how much I saved by going there.
So backing up to the online discussion…
I am in favor of an ‘RRP’ – as long as the suppliers are fair and equitable and provide a markup that allows the smaller volume sellers to make a profit. The supplier cannot control how the business does, but they can provide the tools that allow a business the potential to bloom.
On a price bases…I can’t compete with the mega-giant stores.
On a price bases…I can’t compete with the e-cannibals that find pleasure in gobbling up the less powerful.
On a price bases…I can’t compete with Wal-mart.
I can’t compete with Amazon!
This isn’t just about Sugar River Fiber…this applies to all of the small shops that are just around the corner.
And indirectly, this applies to all of the shops that – used – to be just around the corner.