For most consumers, the great divide between brick and mortar retailers and online pool supply companies was not something they needed to concern themselves with. The division and heated debates were mostly between the brick and mortar store and online retailers and concerned the wide gap in pricing between the two and to some the unfair practice of online stores offering the same product for less than the brick and mortar owner could buy wholesale from their own distributor.
For years, the offline retailer tried to compete and for those with innovative and imaginative marketing finesse we have adjusted our business to accentuate the value we bring to our customers versus buying on line merely for price. In the latest few seasons, some retailers have even drawn a line in the sand and have decided to protest by not servicing pool equipment purchased online. If they were warranty centers where the manufacturer paid them to fix their equipment when under warranty they refused to fix items not purchased at their showrooms.
Manufacturers have finally become more sensitive to these powerful demonstrations by their dealers and have slowly begun to change their policies that close the wide gap of pricing. The big three manufacturers: Pentair, Hayward, and Zodiac in particular have closed ranks by adapting their warranty programs to fit what is most beneficial to their customers and their dealers. An example of this is their warranty changes; Pentair for instance offers 3-5 year warranty’s on specific products such as filters, pumps, and heaters if purchased and installed by a professional where as if you purchase online the warranty may be as short as 60 days only. Gone are the 1 year blanket warranty’s, each manufacturer has set up the warranty map to benefit the customer in that they will receive a correct and safe install of the purchased product and backs that up by believing in their dealers professionalism and skills.
As a consumer, your choices are an array of options in which to make your purchases; you have name brand and reputation, expert advice and knowledge and the option to select what is important to you as a purchaser. My husband always taught me that price is not everyone’s top reason for purchase, the safety, the value of the product and those who service it also can be top contenders when you are deciding on your purchase. There is no one answer or server to all and that is why free markets are so important to this countries growth.
We encourage “do it yourselfers” in certain circumstances when it benefits our customers and their budgets but be aware that purchasing big ticket items like a filter or pump online can be expensive should something go wrong with that item within and out of the warranty period.
Your comments are always welcome.