Thursday, November 12, 2020

The online rug traders


Surely, you have seen this everywhere: websites selling entry and mid-level watches at an unbelievable discount.
Out of respect, I have marked out the actual brand name (Swiss, in business since 1837). Quite frankly, I am embarrassed on the brands' behalf. But rug traders are not. 
Seiko watches too can be bought online. There is not the slightest doubt that more and more brands will offer watches online, including the most prestigious Swiss makers. It is just a matter of time.
But are we ready? By we, I mean everyone in the retail chain - from brands themselves and retailers, to customers.
The question is: why would you buy a Seiko from us, the watchmakers, instead of from a 'rug trader' - an online shop?
Especially since we do our best to stick to recommended retail price, while online traders offer heavily discounted stock. Why shouldn't you pay less?
Of course, if paying less is your only goal then the choice is obvious: go online.
However, before you do so - let me present our case:
1. Seiko watches are supplied to retailers in 3 categories: common stock, mid-range, and top end. Online distributors have no access to the top range. As a top level authorised dealer, we will carry a full range including 'Boutique Only models and Limited Edition pieces'.
2. Our long term plan is to stock Grand Seiko, the crème de la crème. At this moment this is a vast improbability, but to sell Seiko at discount will not help us work our way up the ladder. Online discounters don't care about high end horology, we do.
3. We offer an extended 3+2 years guarantee on all Seiko watches.
4. You pay retail price, but you will get a premium service: dealing with watchmakers you can trust blindly is worth a lot to a watch collector and a watch enthusiast. 
5. FREE delivery Australia-wide.
6. Our intention is to run trade promotions, so buying a new Seiko will automatically get you in the draw for a chance to win a watch (or two!). At the end of this year we are giving away two Seiko, one valued at $1300 and one at $490. Since we are not really a volume retailer, the chances of winning are actually pretty decent.
The next two points are something I came up with last night:
7. Every watch will be checked before shipping for timekeeping and if needed, adjusted to best of its ability to keep time. Online sellers can't offer you this service - and quite frankly not even the major jewellers. We can.
8. Insurance valuation - FREE of charge! Hundreds of watches are stolen or go missing every day. If you wish to insure your Seiko then we would be happy to offer a free valuation. And because we keep all invoices on file forever, we can easily update your valuation in years to come - at no extra cost. Can an online discounter match this offer? 
Again, we have neither the intention nor the time to get into a discounting war with anyone. Discounting is sign of impotency, poor business practice, and disrespect to the product you sell which ultimately leads to limited choices and questionable post-sale practices.
Of course, once we build up our relationship with Seiko and prove ourselves as a serious partner, then certainly we may be in a position to get a better deal on some models - and that saving will be passed onto you - our loyal supporter.

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