"why is that they're so much cheaper at big al? the other day i stopped into a lfs
and saw they have an emperor 400 on display in a 75 gallon tank. i asked the guy at the counter how much it was and he said, "they retail for about $79.99. it's a great filter.""
Retail mark up. Filters, food, stands, and other accessories are high mark up items. Even with high markup on some items, a lot of LFSs still have trouble staying in business due to other operating cost.
Big Als/Dr Foster Smith/etc are primarily warehouses that can sell items for a few dollars above wholesale and still make a profit. Not only do they have the advantage of a huge turnover which gives them even better wholesale prices, their overhead is very low. It is grea that Big Als has stores, but most of their business is mail order.
prices on equipment are out of hand, it is pretty amazing what people will pay if they don't do a little research/shopping."
LFSs would not stay around for long if they began selling big ticket items for $3 and $4 above wholesale. Many good filters last for years and that $4 would not go far.
"I have to think they'd sell a higher volume of product if they lowered their prices. Sales would increase and they'd still be making a buck..."
Well, people who need a filter usually end up buying one
The market for items like filters would not increase hugely with reduced cost. Even if they sell twice as many, they would still be profitting $8, compared to making $60+ for a cansiter at standard retail pricing.
For the time being, enough people get their goods at the LFSs to keep them happy. If the current trend of internet ordering keeps up and people keep buying more and more good online, LFSs will have to adapt or get run out of business by mail order. The first thing that would likely happen, is the cost of the fish themselves would go up.
Also, this can be applied to almost anything. Anyone here paid $20+ for a shirt? That shirt was probably $2 wholesale. When you spend $300 to get a car fixed at the dealership, you probably could have got the same parts online for $75 and did it yourself with little effort.
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