I had recently written an article about the importance of a relationship between a Hi-Fi enthusiast and a good Hi-Fi Dealer. The benefits to both concerned lie in ensuring that both nurture their relationship. But what happens if the Hi-Fi Enthusiast decides to go astray and get in touch with a direct to customer brand entity that dangles the carrot to the Hi-Fi Enthusiast, by means of providing a home audition in exchange for paying about 50% of the cost of the product availed for demo(refundable if not liked/purchased and returned by the listener, minus shipping costs)?
A good question to ask as currently, the established brands and their representatives (distributors & dealers) in our AV Industry, do not entertain such possibilities except for a very small 0.5% of brands representatives that deal in super hi end brands, who do offer this facility, but then they know that the said client is a genuine and bonafide prospective buyer. But what about those who aspire to the lower end of the av segment? So far, this segment is not entertaining this idea, for most part they being justified as our market hasn’t genuinely matured or evolved to the level of those mature av markets abroad + the fact that we the people are known to not be respectful to such offers and more of than not abuse such a facility to their advantage. Here lies the conundrum and also the opportunity for direct to customer selling brands. We have recently seen the propagation of such direct to customer brands trying to attract prospective buyers with their home demo offerings at the cost of the prospective buyer paying 50% of the value of the product offered for demo. I recently experienced such an arrangement thanks to a friend of mine, requesting for certain equipment that he wanted to try out in his Hi-Fi set up. What happened in his case was also quite intriguing and shocking but I shall leave that story for another article!
To cut a long story short, the fact that such a facility now exists is quite appealing to the Hi-Fi enthusiasts at the moment and am sure that there will be cases of both +VE & -VE experiences, but we shall be seeing some movement in this direction for sure. How will the established distribution/dealer network react to this scenario will also be interesting to observe. Change is constant and in most cases for the better BUT expecting change just for the sake of it, is not at all a good thing. Time will tell for sure!