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Old 02-19-2013, 07:59 AM   #21
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WM should take note from BestBuy...
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:25 AM   #22
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WM should take note from BestBuy...

They are, and that's the problem. It's a pretty predictable formula that big retail chains follow. Come in big with good prices, build lots of stores, grow grow grow, and wait for the smaller shops to die off. Then, as the competition dwindles, start to edge the prices back up. By now the manufacturers who you sell will be catching hell from all their other retailers about WM pricing compared to their own. The first remedy is WM-unique models to attempt differentiation. People will keep coming because "common knowledge" is that you have great prices and are "the place to go". Most people don't notice that they are slowly being porked. Next, create your own house brand. Get the cheapest crap you can from China or India or wherever and start offering that up where it yields high volume and high margin. Now you are keeping both the retail margin, and the manufacturers margin. Good strategy, right? Yes, until you thoroughly piss off the major manufacturers. Eventually your prices are no longer differentiated, and you are existing on your brand along. People finally catch on to this and start buying elsewhere. It may even be that some other retailer is in the early phase of this cycle and is offering low prices and expanding rapidly, so you start shopping there. Eventually the place turns into Sears or Kmart with empty stores any nothing but Musak playing in the background. The smell of death is rampant.
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:24 AM   #23
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WM should take note from BestBuy...
And that would be?
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:42 AM   #24
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And that would be?
Best Buy is on the verge of going out of business
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:38 PM   #25
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I never thought I'd be defending West Marine, but...

I do buy from them sometimes. In fact, lately I've found a few things cheaper than, or as cheap as, buying on line. Yeah, that surprised me, too.

They are convenient, two stores in no-sales-tax New Hampshire that are right on my way home. They can get just about anything they don't have in 2 days.

I buy a lot of stuff on line, and also Hamilton Marine in Maine and a local fishing supply store in NH.

There is some value to having a local brick-and-mortar. I can return what I don't use, or whatever doesn't fit. I can touch the products, comparison shop, measure, etc. And I know it's hit-or-miss, but often the sales people are real boaters who actually can answer a lot of questions.

I think of WM as similar to my corner hardware store. Sure, I can drive 14 miles round-trip to a Lowes or Home Depot for the same stuff a lot cheaper. But sometimes, in the middle of a project, it's nice to run less than 2 miles down the road, grab what I need and be back home in just over 5 minutes. I go out to restaurants sometimes too, even though it's much cheaper to prepare the same meal at home.
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:21 PM   #26
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Well, sorry to here that. I was going to order a new chart plotter/ depth finder tomorrow from my local West Marine store for $499.95. for my new fishing boat. I guess I'll order it on line now. Along with a EZ-steer, mooring lines, fenders, fire extinguisher, flare kit, paddle, outboard lock. and maybe a few other things.

There policy says it needs to be the same brand and part number before they will match it. How are you going to do that when much of their stuff is private labeled. No one else will have their brand!!!
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:11 PM   #27
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I have had nothing but great service from WM. They get just about any part I have ask for and have arranged international shipping and handling all for a good price.
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:23 PM   #28
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We always try to support local merchants whenever we can even if it means spending a few dollars more. So we shop for general marine equipment at LFS and Redden in Bellingham and Fisheries Supply in Seattle. We buy all our marine electrical hardware from bulbs to inverter/charger to generator starter from the lical family-owned and run marine electrical shop.

We have purchased all the electronics for both our boats-- VHS radios, GPS plotters large and small, radar, loud hailer/intercom, etc.--- from a one-man shop in Bellingham. Yes, we sometimes pay a few dollars more than the internet, although his prices are certainly competitive.

But the Internet won't take the time to answer questions, and it won't do things like spending two hours on our boat helping me align and set up our new radar after my wife and I installed it, including giving us the "secret" dealer/repair shop codes for setting up the unit's basic parameters, codes that are not included in the operator's manual. And did this for no charge.

We used to use West Marine because they are open on Sundays. But last year both LFS and Redden added weekend schedules so we have no reason to use West Marine at all anymore.
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Old 02-19-2013, 09:37 PM   #29
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Port Supply has a multi-tiered or smart discounting system. It is based on spending habits.
This is true. But what they do that "bites"....is at the first of every year they shift you back to the worst discount level and you have to earn (spend beaucoup bucks) back to that better discount.... They don't average it over a period of months or have a fixed discount....they play games with it....strictly to their advantage...and the logic behind it doesn't breed "customer loyalty"....not when you can get the same thing many other places for less without even trying.....
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:28 PM   #30
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The best way to save money at WM is to go to work for them. Maybe their employee discount policy has changed but when we outfitted our last boat in '04 the admiral went to work for them and we got some fantastic deals and saved a bunch of money.

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Old 02-19-2013, 10:57 PM   #31
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I sent the following email to WM:

Dear West Marine,

I am very disappointed to hear that WM will now only offer price matching within 50 miles of a store. The reason price matching (from any source) was so popular is that WM products are over priced to begin with. There have been many times I have purchased items using price matching. The price matching was even cheaper than I could get the item through my port supply account. Again, which proves most of WM items are over priced.</SPAN>

I will continue to buy marine products from sources that are priced reasonably and will most likely not be WM rather places like Fisheries Supply, England supply and the internet.

It would appear WM does not want my business and you are artificially holding prices high. In these times of hard economic times I would think WM would work with their customers and not against them, but then again the high profit philosophy of WM seems to take a priority.
This is the response I got to my email:

Tom,

Thank you for your email. I do apologize that you do not agree with our new price matching policy. If you decide to continue to do business with us, please feel free to call 1-800-BOATING to place an order.

Thanks,
James
West Marine
Customer Service
wmcustomerservice@westmarine.com
www.westmarine.com
1-800-262-8464
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:43 AM   #32
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This is the response I got to my email:

Tom,

Thank you for your email. I do apologize that you do not agree with our new price matching policy. If you decide to continue to do business with us, please feel free to call 1-800-BOATING to place an order.

Thanks,
James
West Marine
Customer Service
wmcustomerservice@westmarine.com
www.westmarine.com
1-800-262-8464
Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, doesn't it?
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:15 AM   #33
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This is the response I got to my email:

Tom,

Thank you for your email. I do apologize that you do not agree with our new price matching policy. If you decide to continue to do business with us, please feel free to call 1-800-BOATING to place an order.

Thanks,
James
West Marine
Customer Service
wmcustomerservice@westmarine.com
www.westmarine.com
1-800-262-8464
The arrogance is overwhelming
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:10 AM   #34
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The arrogance is overwhelming
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:40 AM   #35
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The arrogance is overwhelming
What do you ecpect them to say? At least they took the time to reply.

I'm sure the top people thought this through and decided tis was the best way to go. It's unrealistic to think they would change their minds because of a single complaint.

In the end, they will sink or swim on their business decisions just like any other business, marine or otherwise.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:43 AM   #36
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........... But the Internet won't take the time to answer questions, and it won't do things like spending two hours on our boat .............
Many Internet vendors will take the time to answer questions. These folks, for instance:

BOE Marine - Marine Electronics, GPS, Radar, Fishfinders, Autopilots, FLIR, SAT TV

As far as coming to the boat to help with an installation, I've never asked the folks at West marine to do this and I'm pretty surprised that they would.
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Old 02-20-2013, 09:46 AM   #37
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I see a lot of posts suggesting supporting local marine businesses and "mom and pop" stores. That's great if you have them. Aside from various boat dealerships which may or may not have marine supplies, West Marine has no local competition in my area since Boaters World went under. Except for what's available at hardware stores and home centers, for me it's pretty much WM or the Internet.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:13 AM   #38
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How many internet suppliers can one walk to from a dock to pick up a needed part while cruising?
I buy off the net once in a while too but it sure was nice when I needed a bilge pump on a cruise an was able to walk to a WM not too far from the marina and buy one, not only that, when they found out I had walked over the manager drove me back to the boat.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:31 AM   #39
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I buy off the net once in a while too but it sure was nice when I needed a bilge pump on a cruise an was able to walk to a WM not too far from the marina and buy one,
I agree! I buy off the net once in awhile but it sure is nice when you are in a hurry to just stop buy WM, get your item and split. WM is in business to make money. No one is forcing you to buy from them.
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Old 02-20-2013, 10:57 AM   #40
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I agree! I buy off the net once in awhile but it sure is nice when you are in a hurry to just stop buy WM, get your item and split. WM is in business to make money. No one is forcing you to buy from them.
Nobody is questioning that. I don't have any problem with them making a fair profit from us, but being flat-out greedy about it is another story. Selling things at, or often above, the MSRP (which I know is just SUGGESTED) when online retailers (even the ones WITH brick and mortar locations) are selling things for far less is, if nothing else, stupid. It stinks of them just taking advantage of us and I don't like it.

You're right, nobody is forcing us to shop there, but it sure does give them a bad reputation in a lot of their customer's eyes.
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