Specialist retailer versus wholesaler
After a laborious search for the integrated amplifier you want, it’s obviously tempting to buy it mail-order or from a “pile ’em high and sell ’em cheap” merchant at 150 Euros (170 US dollars) less. Yet the question is whether that is the right course of action.
Specialist retailers namely offer several major advantages compared with the other sale channels:
– Specialist retailers know their stuff: in this channel you usually find passionate and profoundly knowledgeable hi-fi professionals. They know what features and qualities the equipment they are selling has and can provide specific advice.
– Listen before you buy: If you arrange an appointment, specialist retailers will take the time to look after you and offer you a listening session, during which you can get a really good idea of what the hi-fi components you aim to purchase can do. You can also often arrange – for example when deciding on what loudspeakers to buy – to bring your amplifier with you. Or the other way around: The specialist retailer will lend you a particular hi-fi component and you can test-listen to it under real conditions at home.
– Service: A specialist retailer does not abandon you once he has sold you a product. If a piece of equipment gets broken, he takes care of complaint processing. Some specialist retailers also have their own workshops and perform repairs themselves.
– Once hi-fi, always hi-fi. The specialist retailer can in time start acting as a kind of “primary care physician”. He knows your hi-fi “medical history”, knows what your preferences and dislikes are, can on occasion recommend a new piece of equipment or make you aware of an exciting new product or innovation.
Under these circumstances you might like to reconsider whether saving 150 Euros really is the bargain you initially thought it was.