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 Brick and Mortar
Author: SecondTry 
Date:   2023-08-12 00:04

This post is in response to Pedro Fuentes experiences with online clarinet shopping. It seeks to offer a business idea rather than make editorial statements as to Mr. Fuentes experiences with his purchase or fellow board member's responses to it.

Needless to say perhaps, many things purchased in life are not like "Oreo Cookies." Were they, we could walk into pretty much any supermarket in the States, go to the cookie aisle, and know with reasonable certainty that that sealed box from Nabisco is apt to have near identical and standard quality in Maine as it would in California, and anywhere in between.

Clarinets certainly fall into the class of things that are anything but standardized like the aforementioned snack. The prospective buyer needs to try the item out, observe fit and finish up close, and perhaps compare it to similar clarinets.

And yet the reality of both the internet and real estate prices make the idea of physical music stores harder and harder for individual people to own. Even the well known chains like Sam Ash and Music and Arts have internet presences, the latter built around the idea of ordering online and trying in the store. Once upon a time 47th St in Manhattan had many music stores. Most of the properties today are office or condo spaces.

Perhaps there needs to be physical presence that I'll call loosely call a "reverse ebay store," that makes valuable items, relatively small in size, available for in person examination prior to purchase. (Maybe not.) Such a volume necessary business clearly would not limit its items to just musical instruments.

For those familiar, an ebay store (sans "reverse") is a place that you can physically go to that will sell your item for you (on ebay) for a small transactional fee.

Maybe a store and shipping network needs to exist that can transport items at greatly reduced cost given the volume, from sellers in the network to the nearest member store of a prospective buyer's choosing. Small transaction fees can be charged to buyer and seller to facilitate the sale of items that people wish to experience up close before purchase, and whose sale and price might be to risky for a buyer to acquire without examination prior to sale.


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 Re: Brick and Mortar
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2023-08-12 00:29

Hi SecondTry,

It's a really good thought, but I think clarinet are a particularly difficult case for this.

I mean they are so tricky, in so many ways. They are highly inconsistent even between two copies of a single model of instrument. They are also easily damaged, unhygienic to share, and expensive to insure in the post. The experience of playing them is highly subjective and individual to the player. They also cost a ton of money.

It seems like a major minefield to try to figure it out.

I'm not sure it's just clarinets though.

I'm selling an expensive camera lens at the moment, and that is very similar, because people are wary of spending a lot of money when they're just not quite sure what they are getting. I know the lens is great, and the price is a steal, but reassuring people online is hard.

The direct effect is that I will get a low price for the lens, and I suppose that's how it would be for clarinets. A lot of money would be used in the process of selling, if the person can't just come to the shop, so it lowers the price.


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 Re: Brick and Mortar
Author: ISM 
Date:   2023-08-12 01:27

Of course there are shops like Wichita Band Instruments that have a store and repair shop but broaden their reach by making part of their inventory available online.

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