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View Full Version : Online or Bricks 'n' Mortar?



Beowulff
12-12-2007, 04:51 PM
Bit off topic guys sorry but I've just been reading through some of the "horror stories" about people's buying experiences with some of the less-than-reputable online photographic stores, as well as the good guys.

I'm in Australia, so obviously most of that particular thread's content doesn't mean a lot to me, but one thing confuses me (and it may be something peculiar to the USA) but nearly everybody seems more than happy to deal with online sellers, rather than a bricks 'n' mortar store.

The reason I ask is that a lot of the complaints I'm reading about here would have been avoided had the buyer visited a physical store, inspected/tested/trialled the camera gear, paid for it on the spot, and taken it home with them straight away. Why then run the risks of paying for something you haven't even seen, and then hoping that it'll turn up eventually, is in fact the actual item ordered, and that it's in one piece!

Downunder, I've found without fail that I can locate and 'negotiate' a better deal on camera gear at a physical store compared to any/all online Australian sellers. In fact, many of our online sellers have prices often far in excess of those at the physical stores sometimes in the order of 3050% more. Adding on the postage/handling/insurance simply makes the price even worse from the online sellers and it's something you can't avoid paying with them.

And as far as buying camera gear off Ebay, personally I wouldn't even contemplate it! Ebay seems to be a nest of rogues and rip-off merchants as far as I can see, and I'd be guessing that a good proportion of cameras sold through Ebay are a very dirty colour of 'grey' rather than black or silver lol.

For any Aussies reading this, I've found time and again that my local computer specialist(s) stores match or better the online sellers. They may not all carry the full range of a particular manufacturer, but will usually order in for you overnight. Although, having said all this, one of our worst stores for pricing is Ted's Camera Stores, which is a nation-wide bricks 'n' mortar(!) chain of specialist camera stores beware though; their prices can always be beaten.

Cheers :)

toriaj
12-12-2007, 05:40 PM
If I could easily travel to a "bricks 'n' mortar" store, and it had comparable prices (or even slightly higher) to, say, Amazon, Adorama, or B&H, I would definitely buy from the "B&M" (:p) store.

Unfortunately, I live in a remote area, usually at least 200 miles to the nearest decent B&M. When it comes to equipment like lenses, flashes, filters that I don't really know how to test in a store, I have no problem buying online right away. Holding it in my hand, trying it on my camera wouldn't make much difference.

If it's something where ergonomics makes a big difference, like a body or bag, I would probably make the 200 mile trip. Same thing if I thought I could judge the performance well by handling it, such as a tripod. I've also been known to "play" with the item in the store, and then buy it online at a cheaper price -- but I only do that if it is significantly cheaper online. The instant gratification thing is still a factor :D
(not to mention that I like to support the business that is allowing me to fondle the merchandise :rolleyes:)

P.S. When it comes to Ebay ... I think that requires some experience. I'm still pretty wary of it myself.

TheWengler
12-13-2007, 02:54 AM
If it's something where ergonomics makes a big difference, like a body or bag, I would probably make the 200 mile trip.

Ergonomics are extremely important when it comes to body bags...:D

Rooz
12-13-2007, 03:18 AM
Bit off topic guys sorry but I've just been reading through some of the "horror stories" about people's buying experiences with some of the less-than-reputable online photographic stores, as well as the good guys.

I'm in Australia, so obviously most of that particular thread's content doesn't mean a lot to me, but one thing confuses me (and it may be something peculiar to the USA) but nearly everybody seems more than happy to deal with online sellers, rather than a bricks 'n' mortar store.

The reason I ask is that a lot of the complaints I'm reading about here would have been avoided had the buyer visited a physical store, inspected/tested/trialled the camera gear, paid for it on the spot, and taken it home with them straight away. Why then run the risks of paying for something you haven't even seen, and then hoping that it'll turn up eventually, is in fact the actual item ordered, and that it's in one piece!

Downunder, I've found without fail that I can locate and 'negotiate' a better deal on camera gear at a physical store compared to any/all online Australian sellers. In fact, many of our online sellers have prices often far in excess of those at the physical stores sometimes in the order of 3050% more. Adding on the postage/handling/insurance simply makes the price even worse from the online sellers and it's something you can't avoid paying with them.

And as far as buying camera gear off Ebay, personally I wouldn't even contemplate it! Ebay seems to be a nest of rogues and rip-off merchants as far as I can see, and I'd be guessing that a good proportion of cameras sold through Ebay are a very dirty colour of 'grey' rather than black or silver lol.

For any Aussies reading this, I've found time and again that my local computer specialist(s) stores match or better the online sellers. They may not all carry the full range of a particular manufacturer, but will usually order in for you overnight. Although, having said all this, one of our worst stores for pricing is Ted's Camera Stores, which is a nation-wide bricks 'n' mortar(!) chain of specialist camera stores beware though; their prices can always be beaten.

Cheers :)

i couldn't disagree more, in fact the pricing you gave is the reverse. bricks and mortor stores in australia are a pack of opportunistic pricks who have been price gouging the australian photographic market for years. i avoid them like the plague.

the only bricks and mortor store i use is D-D Photo who have only recently gotten into a premises. and guess what...the price of a d300 there was alot higher than what it would have been back when they sold gear out of their 1 bedroom unit.

are there rogues on ebay ? sure there are. but there are also excellent sellers if you care to take the time to ask people for their experiences from particular places.

Beowulff
12-13-2007, 04:42 AM
Interesting observation Rooz.

We've just bought a Canon A720 IS from a bricks 'n' mortar store in Melbourne for $299. Back home with it clutched in our sweaty little paws within 30 minutes.

If you include postage and insurance, there's not a single online store selling it for that price (of the 50 stores listed). In fact, there's more than a dozen online sellers asking upwards of $350 with a top price (would you believe?) of $445. Even worse, the lowest online price for its superseded predecessor, the A710 IS, is $319!

I still stand by my contention that one can't necessarily rely on the online sellers to give you the best deal an assumption which seems to be universally accepted as gospel however.

I guess, like all things, we need to do our research on the option that best suits us. For me it's simple walkaway lowest price.

Cheers :)

downtrodden
12-13-2007, 12:58 PM
Over here state side there are a lot of reasons people prefer to shop online rather than BnM.

For me, I prefer online, because I'm legally blind and cannot drive, so many of the things I buy, I buy online (i also live in the country, so walking or riding a bike to a camera shop is out of question) If it's somethinkg like a camera, or lens or something that should be tried out to see how you like it, I beg, borrow a ride to a BnM *the cloest BnM to me is about 45 mins away* and test it out- if the price is better, the same or slightly more than a reputable online dealer- I buy it in store. But more often than not the markup in BnM stores here is so high that buying online and shiipping it would still be cheaper.

But obviously, every American isn't blind and every American doesn't live half an hour away from the nearest urban center. I *believe* a lot of the problem is pure Laziness. It's much easier and comfier to sit at home and click a few times type some info and hope and pray for the best.

I won't even bother with dealers i, or a user on here i respect, hasn't done business with before or Ebay for that matter.

Also, a big difference is that a lot of us regulars know enough about the stuff to which we'd be looking, that we don't usually fall for crappy online ploys and what not. I suspect most newcomers don't realize that those '2 lens kits' and 'cleaning kits' that come with the camera packages on ebay are cheap, generic rubbish.

That's just my opinion though-

Cory

Rooz
12-13-2007, 04:04 PM
Interesting observation Rooz.

We've just bought a Canon A720 IS from a bricks 'n' mortar store in Melbourne for $299. Back home with it clutched in our sweaty little paws within 30 minutes.

If you include postage and insurance, there's not a single online store selling it for that price (of the 50 stores listed). In fact, there's more than a dozen online sellers asking upwards of $350 with a top price (would you believe?) of $445. Even worse, the lowest online price for its superseded predecessor, the A710 IS, is $319!

I still stand by my contention that one can't necessarily rely on the online sellers to give you the best deal an assumption which seems to be universally accepted as gospel however.

I guess, like all things, we need to do our research on the option that best suits us. For me it's simple walkaway lowest price.

Cheers :)

ahhh...apologies. i thought you were talking dslr. have never looked at compact prices so i take your word for it. but for lens', dslr bodies and accessories there is no comparison.

Beowulff
12-14-2007, 06:01 AM
No probs Rooz... :cool:

And I take your point about dSLR's. (Which to be honest, I wasn't thinking about.)

Cheers :)

TheMayer78
12-15-2007, 12:36 AM
guys, guys, guys. Be wary of ebay and very cautious if you think your getting too good a deal to be true. Otherwise I recommend NewEgg.com. I have bought from them and been very satisfied and ALWAYS gotten a better deal than local retail. Their own description of their return policy is a little off-putting, but they are very reasonable if you call them on the phone, and have returned (unopened) merchandise that I decided against, they even sent me a UPS label for shipping. They are not a specialty camera store although they have a decent selection of the most popular cameras. They sell all types of electronics and are always less than retail, and usually ALOT less than retail.

Just my 2cents, check 'em out.

themayer

Honest Gaza
12-15-2007, 02:51 PM
No probs Rooz... :cool:

And I take your point about dSLR's. (Which to be honest, I wasn't thinking about.)

Cheers :)

You have to keep in mind the available margin. In the P&S compact market, there probably isn't much room to move. But as Rooz said, in the DSLR world, there are significant differences with pricing when comparing "traditional" shops like Ted's, Camera House, Fletchers to "on-line" stores.

As an example, the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 SLR Lens sells for approx $2,300 at the "traditional" stores.....same lens (grey market), is approx $1,600 at D-D-Photographics.

That's a huge difference....and someone's making a motza :mad: