CAST Launches Online Store

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by steveparrott, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. RLI Electric

    RLI Electric LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 381

    Most of my clients are computer savvy. They ask me for a referral for regular interior lighting and I send them to one of my local lighting stores. They meet with my lighting store guy and then go home and go to the online stores and shop for the lights. He gives them all his expertise and they stick it in his back.
    That is why it is tough to be a brick and mortar store and the world has changed.
    Now, my client my not "want to go through the trouble" of installing it themselves but they sure will try to use the pricing against me when negotiating a project. Rest assured it will be used against us.
    This is the new way of business, I understand and appreciate that but we as designers and installers will evolve with the new world too. I am not exactly sure how yet, but it will start with not promoting a particular name brand fixture. That does not mean only CAST so please don't take offense. I will promote my skills and talents that I have spent thousands of hours and thousands of dollars to achieve. I will market my company as a design/ build company and the fixtures of manufacturers are just that, tools. Always has been and always will be.
    The names of the fixtures I use will have as much relevance as the names of the paper clips in my desk drawer. It is a commodity and whoever has the best pricing for keeping the elements off of my lamps (the real working thing in all of this) wins. I test the heck out of lamps, fixtures, connectors and everything else related to this industry. Those that I don't test, I call on my AOLP buddies to help out with answers and we come up with a proven winner. Sometimes its CAST, sometimes it's FX sometimes it's Vison 3 and on and on and on.
    Just my two cents.
  2. Classic Lighting

    Classic Lighting LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 512

    Your right. My Cast distributor is a wholesale to-the-trade plant nursery and homeowners know not to even walk into the business. I assumed that all Cast distributors were to-the-trade only but it's a regional issue.
  3. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Messages: 1,865

    Like everyone else, I would prefer that Cast, like RainBird, sell at MSRP on their company store instead of MAP. In most distribution, MAP is meant to be something the distributor is bound by, not something that the manufacturer is going to sell for in their own online store. By selling directly from the manufacturer at MAP, you've effectively turned MAP into MSRP.

    That said, I do not break out my parts and labor in my bids so it's tough for a customer to know what I'm charging for the materials and I won't break it out if they ask me to. I'm selling a lighting system, what the materials cost is in that is irrelevant, either they see the value of the project and can afford it or they don't/can't.

    PS - My distributor sells at full MSRP to non-contractors. I wonder how they feel about now having to sell Cast at 20% less than they would have to a non-contractor if the order comes from the Cast online store...
  4. indylights

    indylights LawnSite Member
    Messages: 179

    I don't have any problems with manufacturers selling online at full retail, it's how things are done now. But I don't see any justification for giving a 20% off discount to online purchasers while people who walk into stores get jabbed with full retail if they aren't contractors.

    Second, for the contractors who think their customers can't buy at their cost or know what your cost is, you are dreaming. I have called all of the national distributors, both fixture and lamp, several of whom sponsor this board, and several local ones(if you want me to name names I will) and not one, I repeat, not one hesitated to give me contractor pricing just by me telling them I was a contractor.

    And what about all you guys who say sell yourself, sell you skills, you never break out fixture costs or promote brands, you sell systems and not fixtures, be remarkable? Why do you care if any fixture is advertised on line if that is what your business model is? You're not selling a fixture, remember?

    And finally, why do you buy from and keep in business internet based distributors who sell to anyone and everyone at the same price? Don't be hypocritical guys. If you're going to bash one, bash them all.

    Scott Maloney
    Sunflower Landscapes
  5. RLI Electric

    RLI Electric LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 381

    Scott, you're absolutely right. However sometimes I get tricked and in a knee jerk reaction I will mention a price. It happened yesterday during the day. The potential client said,"How much is a fixture?" I said roughly "X amount of dollars" reciting the list price that I just happened to know off the top of my head.
    I then got home and saw this post and thought, "Hmmm, it may appear to my potential client that I am trying to make a 20% markup if they knew where they can shop online."
  6. LLC RI

    LLC RI LawnSite Member
    Messages: 149

    Hi Guys,
    I've read the posts on this thread and have a few thoughts to share;
    1. In this day and age the consumer/ some consumers, take to the internet to 'check' pricing that they get from their various quotes. An example of this is when I quoted a job and was bidding against a franchise installation company with three initials. The client told me that the competitor was charging him 1 dollar PER WATT for the transformers, and he found the transformers cheaper online.

    2. Having said that, I think by offering the 20 % off to the average consumer is a mistake. If I did a job quote with some CAST lighting on it, and it happens to be that kind of consumer who will take to the internet to check out my information, they will likely mention that they can buy the lights online and save 20 %. This will undoubtedly lead to some issue and a reduction in our pricing to 'compete' with Casts online price.

    Might I suggest that CAST does their online store and instead of even having a cart, but they try to 'steer' the internet customer to a designer/installer in their area.

    This would be a win win win... the contractor gets a job, the distributor gets business from the contractor, and cast gets business from the distributor. The client is the big winner because they got a top quality job, designed and guaranteed by a qualified contractor.

    4. I do agree with STeve's last comment about few DIY'ers willing to pay that kind of money to put in their own system... however, I think it's a safer play to have retail prices online and then if that particular internet shopper decides they want to buy direct, then the order goes to a distributor and based on volume, for example, that individual distributor could take a percentage off at their own discretion.

    Lighting Quality Homes for Nearly A Quarter Century
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2012
  7. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,187

    Sell the sizzle, who cares the brand of steak. I can't remember the last time a potential client asked me what brand of fixture I use. They simply tell me I want it to look like those pictures of the other jobs you have done. If someone wants to buy CAST or any other online product on the cheap, big deal, let em. Mark up your installation pricing accordingly to offset the loss and oh, coincidently " Mr Customer, feel free to purchase all the equipment you want online. I will even tell you what you need to buy. However, since you are purchasing it, you are directly responsible for any warranty issues that may arise. So if something gets broken, a bulbs burns out or if something is faulty in the product, you will need to take care of that or I can do it for a service fee.
    I don't seed this as a huge issue. Everything is online now, and showing a 20% break, well be prepared to adjust your install costs accordingly to compensate if need be. .02
  8. indylights

    indylights LawnSite Member
    Messages: 179


    The great state of Indiana must finally be getting into your blood. You always get the bigger picture more than most. Hopefully this ridiculous weather we've been having is keeping you busy.

    Scott Maloney
    Sunflower Landscapes
  9. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    A long time ago i was told a parable that goes something like this:

    When you make a decision that you think is right, and most everyone else tells you you are wrong, you are most certainly wrong.

    If you read back through this thread so far you will find an example of this. It has to do with the decision to post discounted prices. The better solution is to only post MSRP prices. That will keep your current customers happy and open your business up to accepting the retail / diyer business that you want to capture.

    So many great posts on this thread. I hope CAST and Steve are hearing and not just listening.
  10. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,187

    Hey Scott,

    Yes, its nice to be in a state of Right thinkers. We have been swamped with this early spring. How has biz been for you so far? Good to see a fellow Hoosier on the forum.

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