THE LFS vs. the eTailer- who's really pinching LFS's?

Re:

Postby Kmiec123 » Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:52 pm

clownfish152089 wrote::shock: $120 dollars for a B&W occs. I just laugh thinking about it :lol:

I got minen from morgman for $35 dollars :lol: :lol: :lol: $120 dollars for a B&W occs. :lol:

I wish more floks would over price there clowns....Then I could get more for them from home.
:D
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Postby mpedersen » Fri Jan 30, 2009 12:44 pm

So I had to come back and note that a 2nd area shop has now, in January 2009, just listed CB Black O's at $119.99. Obviously there is something driving this price...not sure WHAT. I should ask the shop's owner, he'd probably tell me why they are that price.

I was suprised to see that price given that a larger (2") pair of Black O's from ORA was just offered in the LiveAquaria.com Diver's Den for $119.99 for the pair! Clearly there's a disconnect here, and I still don't know what it is!

I wonder if it's a supply-side issue...i.e. shops are ordering something ELSE, like "Onyx Clownfish", expecting to get Onyx Percs (which would make sense at $119) only to be sold Black Ocellaris instead? I'll see if I can learn more...

FWIW,

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Postby xroads » Fri Jan 30, 2009 1:03 pm

Honestly it is a combination of ignorance & salesmanship.

He makes people get on a waiting list for his B&W. I dont think most of the people that buy from him use the internet or would think about ordering fish in.
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Re:

Postby mpedersen » Fri Jan 30, 2009 1:37 pm

xroads wrote:Honestly it is a combination of ignorance & salesmanship.


Well, by "ignorance" I think what you're saying is that the general hobbyist is unaware of the online competition? That's certainly true, at least in the beginning months/years. But I have to wonder...does asking a premium at this level "shoot you in the foot" when that formerly "ignorant newbie" eventually goes online and realizes the disparity?

Let me pose it this way. Suppose you love yellow clown gobies, and you buy some from your local shop. Now, lets say the average online price is $10. Two months after your purchase, you hop online and realize you can buy yellow clown gobies online for $10. How would you feel if you had paid $15 each to your local shop? Would you still freely go into your local shop and spend your money? What if you had paid $35 each?

And that's where the overall "concern" comes in of shops "shooting themselves in the foot". I genuinely wonder if asking such premium prices and a high short term profit could have a more long-term negative impact?

As far as salesmanship, I can certainly speak to that. I mean, just because a certain species is always available doesn't mean shops always carry it. By artificially making the supply appear smaller to your audience, you do drastically increase the price people are willing to pay simply because they PERCEIVE them being rare. When I worked in retail we did it all the time with anything that was rare to begin with...i.e. you never brought in 10 imperial zebra plecos even if you could...you brought in 1 or 2, and then maybe next week even though you sold them you brought something DIFFERENT in....and waited to see if anyone felt they had "missed out"...

FWIW,

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Re:

Postby Morgman » Fri Jan 30, 2009 5:01 pm

xroads wrote:
He makes people get on a waiting list for his B&W. I dont think most of the people that buy from him use the internet or would think about ordering fish in.


Okay. Just for your guys information the game out here SoCal is a little different than the midwest. There is a lot more competition between LFS. Not to mention there are a ton of LFS. I price my clowns to hobbyist at a decent/fair price somewhere between retail and wholesale. Simple as that. I would say the average price for B&W ocellaris clowns here in Socal is in the range of 45-55 bucks. Its kind of simple logic, sell them for more to hobbyist or take a big hit and sell them to LFS or worse off sell to wholesalers.


I don't sell over the internet. Most people are not going to want to ship one or two fish across the country for 40-55 shipping a box. Its cheaper to buy from a LFS.

I would never sell one B&Ws for 120; however, like Matt says if one creates some sort of limited supply and calls these fish rare and if people are willing to buy them then good for the LFS. It is shocking to see prices of B&W ocellaris go for $120. That is 6 times the wholesale price. Hey if times are tough and people are buying these clowns then hats off to the LFS. They have more overhead than I anyways. I do understand the LFS have many expenses to cover but a markup of 6 times any widget is crazy.

xroads wrote:He makes people get on a waiting list for his B&W. I dont think most of the people that buy from him use the internet or would think about ordering fish in.


Xroads- The reason for the waiting list was I ran out of stock and my primary breeding female died. It took me a year and a half to get some new B&W pairs breeding to recover from that. Now I have a steady supply and there is no waiting list. There was no market manipulation. I am no OPEC.



xroads wrote: I dont think most of the people that buy from him use the internet or would think about ordering fish in.



Why the insult to my customers. Most of the people that have purchased from me have been through the internet, through word of mouth and reputation. No I don't have an online shopping cart. It doesn't make sense for me. Most of my customers are local. In fact, I have tried to support other breeders on the east coast when I have a customer requesting B&Ws. It makes no sense to ship 2 fish 3,000 miles if another breeder is much closer.

I had a customer who is looking for some B&Ws in New Jersey. I made a request on MOFIB if someone on the east coast was selling B&Ws No one responded. I have even told people in San Diego that were looking for a fish to go see DavidM he is closer and he has what you are looking for. I am sure I would do the same if someone near Tennesse area need fish I would point them to Fishboy42.
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Postby xroads » Fri Jan 30, 2009 5:43 pm

I was not talking about your place is SO Cal, I was referring to the LFS here in the midwest.

He starts the waiting list when the eggs hatch. He only raises a batch every few months or so to keep up the impression that they are hard to come by & spawn every few months.

I was not insulting your customers, I was refering to the customer base of my LFS & the business plan he has.

This LFS is the same one that sells a single stalk of common zenia for $50. B&W clowns for $125. The discussion was what is hurting the LFS's & this is an issue I see with this one.
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Re:

Postby Morgman » Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:38 pm

xroads wrote:I was not talking about your place is SO Cal, I was referring to the LFS here in the midwest.

He starts the waiting list when the eggs hatch. He only raises a batch every few months or so to keep up the impression that they are hard to come by & spawn every few months.

I was not insulting your customers, I was refering to the customer base of my LFS & the business plan he has.

This LFS is the same one that sells a single stalk of common zenia for $50. B&W clowns for $125. The discussion was what is hurting the LFS's & this is an issue I see with this one.


Xroads- Okay I just thought you were bashing. My fault, sorry. :oops: I agree that 150 is a crazy price. Lets see how many he sells @ 150. Why not go to another LFS and ask them to order from ORA? I am sure you can get the clowns cheaper than $150. If he keeps up those prices I doubt he will get by. Sorry if I went on a rampage :). No hard feelings :)
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Re:

Postby xroads » Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:51 pm

Hey NP,

Actually what is amazing is that he sells every batch. I dont know how long he can keep it up but he does.

What he has going for him is he is the only true LFS in the area. Other places may have a few salt water tanks but all he does is SW.

The other thing that really ticks me off is he has no prices on anything. He will size you up & down & shoot you a price based on how much he thinks you can afford.


Morgman wrote:
xroads wrote:I was not talking about your place is SO Cal, I was referring to the LFS here in the midwest.

He starts the waiting list when the eggs hatch. He only raises a batch every few months or so to keep up the impression that they are hard to come by & spawn every few months.

I was not insulting your customers, I was refering to the customer base of my LFS & the business plan he has.

This LFS is the same one that sells a single stalk of common zenia for $50. B&W clowns for $125. The discussion was what is hurting the LFS's & this is an issue I see with this one.


Xroads- Okay I just thought you were bashing. My fault, sorry. :oops: I agree that 150 is a crazy price. Lets see how many he sells @ 150. Why not go to another LFS and ask them to order from ORA? I am sure you can get the clowns cheaper than $150. If he keeps up those prices I doubt he will get by. Sorry if I went on a rampage :). No hard feelings :)
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Re:

Postby mpedersen » Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:46 pm

xroads wrote:He starts the waiting list when the eggs hatch. He only raises a batch every few months or so to keep up the impression that they are hard to come by & spawn every few months.


Xroads, just for the record, after seeing these responses I'm pretty sure we are probably talking about completely different situations, and different stores. The store i just cited does not raise up batches of Black Ocellaris. So, is there a third store in the Chicago area that's selling Black Ocellaris at $120 a shot right now?

You also have me wondering - it sounds like you're describing Rod Buehler @ Rod's Reef, and I'll have to come to his defense if that's the case because it would mean you have your fish confused (for the record I've never been to Rod's shop..I need to get out there sometime). Rod raises and is known for Onyx Perculas, which are completely different than Black Ocellaris although some people get them confused. Onyx Perculas are currently rarer than Black Ocellaris. Onyx Perculas DO tend to sell for around $75 as 1-1.5" CB fish, and yes, they easily can go for $200 a pair on up into the thousands. Average online price in the Jan '09 survey was $64.99, but the truth is that half the time, you simply cannot find Onyx Percs at all. There is always SOMEONE that has Black Ocellaris.

The thing about the breeder not producing every spawn...well that's just SMART. OVERPRODUCTION is a very real problem in fish breeding...the last thing you want to do is to produce to much and then flood the market. That's one reason I haven't bothered to rear another batch of my own Onyx Percs in about a year now...

I will also say this - Black Ocellaris ARE hard to spawn for many people. My pair spawns only infrequently (every few months), has only a couple hundred eggs at most, and has yet to let a nest run to term. Meanwhile I got my spawning regular Ocellaris for $50, and they now spawn every 10 days laying down nests approaching 1000 eggs. So yes, there are difficulties with Black Ocellaris...they are much more rare than a regular ocellaris, so they DO deserve a higher price than a regular ocellaris - as per the January clownfish survey, the average online retail price is $42.63.

This LFS is the same one that sells a single stalk of common zenia for $50. B&W clowns for $125. The discussion was what is hurting the LFS's & this is an issue I see with this one.


A stalk of Xenia is actually a very different matter...remember Xenia doesn't ship well. While "advanced hobbyists" often consider Xenia to be a plague and a pest, novices love the stuff. And while it grows easily, most "advanced hobbyists" make the mistake of GIVING IT AWAY. Meanwhile, due to the problems with shipping, cultured Xenia continues to fetch a fair price - $30-$40 on LiveAquaria.com. So is $50 at the LFS really an unfair price when we're talking $30-40 for the same thing online? Knowing that hobbyists are giving the stuff away vs. even trying to cultivate relationships with shops who might buy the stuff has really screwed up the market for it. In other words, here's a case of HOBBYISTS UNDERPRICING something and again, shooting themselves in the foot! But, this was a thread about LFSs... ;)
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Postby xroads » Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:33 pm

Actually no I wasnt talking about Rod's. I am about 200 miles from Chicago.
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Postby xroads » Mon Feb 09, 2009 10:43 am

Hang on to you misbars.

B&W ORA misbars are $39.99
Reg $69.99
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Postby Kmiec123 » Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:42 pm

I actually try not to use the term “Misbar” When people come to pick out fish at my place I say “These fish have some interesting marking” and you would be surprised to see that nobody have ever picked the fish with perfect developing bars that I was keeping for my stock. I would tell them there are two or three fish in there I am not selling, but I’m not going to tell you which one unless you pick it. :D Seems to work for me, they have never picked the perfect ones. Just something I do.
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Re:

Postby xroads » Tue Feb 10, 2009 7:48 pm

Kmiec123 wrote:I actually try not to use the term “Misbar” When people come to pick out fish at my place I say “These fish have some interesting marking” and you would be surprised to see that nobody have ever picked the fish with perfect developing bars that I was keeping for my stock. I would tell them there are two or three fish in there I am not selling, but I’m not going to tell you which one unless you pick it. :D Seems to work for me, they have never picked the perfect ones. Just something I do.
Carl


Actually that is a really good idea, one of my Fav clowns is a misbar
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Postby mpedersen » Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:22 am

I thought perhaps the last word had been written on this thread, but then I walked into a shop this weekend on my drive home and I was sucker punched in the gut by the most insane price I've ever seen.

Black Saddleback Clownfish Pair $450.

Yes, that was $450, or $225 per fish plus tax.


I think I cracked a rib and spit out a couple teeth. There's not a clownfish on the planet called "Black Saddleback" that anyone should be paying $450 for a pair of (unless they're spawning or something)...so I can only assume that yes, in fact, the "Black Saddlebacks" in question where the pair of brown-snouted juvenile misbarred Black Ocellaris swimming in the tank on the front counter.

I'm going to forego naming the shop...I'll just say that yes, this shop is a high-end shop, but as a point of reference, I believe I've seen Black Ocellaris in their tanks for $50 in the past.

I'm trying to convey my thoughts on this yet still be nice and I just can't. How can a shop ask that kind of premium for a run of the mill fish and expect that it won't come back to bite 'em in the butt later? I see things like this, and I have to wonder if it's really such a mystery that "hobbyists" are chosing swaps and online vendors over stores? And by "hobbyists", I mean the person who's made it through the first year or two..the person who may see that pair of fish and must have them, but a year or two later realizes that the $450 clownfish pair they bought could've been had most other places for $80-100.

Of course, it doesn't stop there...I'm guilty of wondering why the same refractometor at the Drs. for $45 runs $100 at the LFS? Why is super selcon $11 online and $20+ at the LFS? Salt for $35 a bucket instead of $60? I understand the concept of buying in bulk, warehouse vs. retail space costs, but I'm starting to wonder if the difference has gotten out of hand.

It's not really a new discrepency, but hobbyists who are pinched by the current worldwide economic downturn are gonna be harder and harder pressed to continue to "do the right thing and support the LFS" when facing such an extreme premium to do so. I just wonder if again, some shops are going to price themselves right out of the market, or if not, it'll simply come back to bite 'em later on?

Still picking up my teeth after seeing Black Ocellaris being offered for $225 a shot....

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Postby KathyL » Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:16 am

And to think I had a whole tank of misbarred blacks! I could be rich, rich, rich! :(

I agree. Such practices are bad for the hobby.
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Postby Fearlessmoto » Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:12 pm

Cracked ribs and spit teeth, I almost had to wipe soda off my computer screen and change my drawers when I saw that price even a breeding pair shouldnt be going for that much, that is insane! :shock:
seeing as everyone is posting their LFS prices Black O.s here they are going for Whatever My LFS owner thinks you can afford but no less than $95.00 each, nuts I tell ya, crazy!
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Postby KathyL » Mon Feb 23, 2009 7:42 pm

Are you sure you got the decimal place right?
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Re:

Postby Fishboy42 » Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:36 pm

KathyL wrote:Are you sure you got the decimal place right?


That's really the only way I'd be able to make sense of it...if not, I'd like the name of the shop so that I we can strike a deal on some misbar B&W o's. Even with a 400% plus mark-up we should be able to get $100/pair. :) There must be a story there that helps explain the price?

As of 1 Jan this year, "my" LFS in Knoxville sells black ocellaris for $24.99 each; it helps that SA now owns the shop (purchased as a retail "factory outlet," product testbed, and learning tool for all of us at SA :) ).

It's been very educational though. Sometimes online vendors are able to price things lower than our purchase price (even with the connections we've developed purchasing in-bulk as a hatchery), so competing there can be difficult. On the other hand, taking a bit less margin on some items has really made pricing competitive and helped us to make sales instead of sending the business elsewhere. Keeping livestock losses to a minimum and stocking "responsibly" also allows a less agressive mark-up since we aren't passing the price of poor husbandry or animal choices on to our customers.

These things require capitol though, either investment in systems or purchasing in quantity to get better pricing. It might be that shops (including this one last year) struggle with cash flow (or simply planning), especially now, and aren't able to float enough funds to run the operation properly, so the quality and pricing suffer (and the cycle continues...).

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Re:

Postby aomont » Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:28 am

Hi Matt (Fishboy42),
Good points to be addressed:
Fishboy42 wrote:Keeping livestock losses to a minimum and stocking "responsibly" also allows a less agressive mark-up since we aren't passing the price of poor husbandry or animal choices on to our customers.

Fishboy42 wrote:It might be that shops (including this one last year) struggle with cash flow (or simply planning), especially now, and aren't able to float enough funds to run the operation properly, so the quality and pricing suffer (and the cycle continues...).

The competition will bring the lack of attention to what you buy, lack of care to what you keep and lack of planning to the table.
Anderson.
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Postby Morgman » Tue Feb 24, 2009 3:47 am

I did notice a wholesalers is selling B&W ocellaris misbar pairs for 99 bucks wholesale. Who knows how long the pairs have been established. Maybe that is why we are seeing such a huge spike in some B&W ocellaris?
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Postby Fishboy42 » Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:41 am

Yes, I've seen those as well, listed as "1/2 Stripe Black Ocellaris Pair, Special."

I may call our rep there and ask for some information on these, just for fun :)
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Re:

Postby mpedersen » Tue Feb 24, 2009 12:29 pm

Morgman wrote:I did notice a wholesalers is selling B&W ocellaris misbar pairs for 99 bucks wholesale. Who knows how long the pairs have been established. Maybe that is why we are seeing such a huge spike in some B&W ocellaris?


Fishboy42 wrote:Yes, I've seen those as well, listed as "1/2 Stripe Black Ocellaris Pair, Special."


HMM! Well if THAT's the case, that they're wholesaling for $99, well I can certainly see how that would translate to $450 for the pair at this retailer, which is a high-end place. I'm well aware that livestock markups are often 3-4 X the wholesale purchase price.

The fact that they had brown noses means in no way are they OLD or even established pairs. I'm all for a breeder getting the most out of their offerings, but misbarred black O juvie pairs for $100 to a shop? Hey, maybe they'll sell and misbarred black O's will be the next piccasso perc?

IDK...
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Re:

Postby KathyL » Tue Feb 24, 2009 3:56 pm

mpedersen wrote:...
The fact that they had brown noses means in no way are they OLD or even established pairs.

I have a breeding pair, the male has an orange nose.

Hey, maybe they'll sell and misbarred black O's will be the next piccasso perc?


That would be a lovely turn of events. I find it rather easy to raise black misbarred o's.[/quote]
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Re:

Postby mpedersen » Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:03 pm

KathyL wrote:
mpedersen wrote:...
The fact that they had brown noses means in no way are they OLD or even established pairs.

I have a breeding pair, the male has an orange nose.


Really? I really thought that wasn't possible!

Well hmm. Maybe those tiny brown nosed black o's are a $450 proven breeding pair...who knows?!
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Postby Fearlessmoto » Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:28 pm

Man did I have it ALL wrong, ive been trying to raise perfect fish , but now I see the REAL money is in the defects, maybe i can find clowns born with one fin smaller than the other and market them as nemo clowns, ILL MAKE A FORTUNE! :twisted: LOL but seriously why are the oddballs considered to be worth so much, and the perfect fish considered too common?
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