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CAST Launches Online Store

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

  1. steveparrott

    steveparrott Sponsor
    Messages: 1,275

    Great feedback, thanks guys. It seems the main objection is the display of the 20% off discount. I'll try to explain our thinking.

    First, we had to establish a MAP (minimum advertised price) because some of our distributors have online stores and many of them were discounting the prices. People often search for 'cast lighting prices' and they end up on these stores.

    Second, the appropriate MAP could not be MSRP because our MSRP is very high compared to other lighting brands. Make the comparison yourself, check (for other brands) what you pay compared to the retail price - don't look at it purely as a percentage, but also consider dollars in your pocket. (One brand has MSRP set at 5% above contractor cost!) You'll find a lot more profit in CAST (even at MSRP minus 20%) than the others.

    Third, we post the MAP discount on our site (and describe our MAP policy on the home page of the site) for a few reasons.
    1. We want visitors to our store to come to the conclusion that they've found the best place to purchase CAST - a place where they can get the best discount. If we only posted MSRP, they would continue searching till they found a discounted store or another brand - you'd get zero referrals in that case.
    2. We want to capture CAST customers on our store vs. others because the orders go to our local distributors - this honors our committment to our distributors. (Give us some credit for not just taking the orders direct; building and maintaining our store is expensive, and the profits go to our distributors.)
    3. By capturing as many CAST customers as possible, we have the opportunity to persuade them to hire a professional. These leads that come from the store end up as referrals.
  2. indylights

    indylights LawnSite Member
    Messages: 178


    There has been a total of 6 different people make comments that could be viewed as negative in this thread. That hardly constitutes "everyone". And by the way, many fixtures (and lamps) I have read you say you use are readily available online at prices less than full retail.

    Scott Maloney
    Sunflower Landscapes
  3. steveparrott

    steveparrott Sponsor
    Messages: 1,275

    This is another reason we launched the store. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of installed jobs are serviced by you guys. Over the years, I've fielded dozens of complaints from homeowners that have been served poorly (or not at all) by distributors-to-the-trade. One homeowner drove 30 miles to a distributor to buy lamps, only to be turned away at the door because homeowners were not welcome there. Another was furious after numerous attempts to purchase lamps locally, he said, "Obviously your system doesn't work!"

    Many homeowners, frustrated at attempts to get CAST lamps, end up with box store brands and call us (or you) to complain about frequent lamp burnout.

    Now, our current system solves that problem, and even the most homeowner-unfriendly distributors are able to serve these homeowners.
  4. steveparrott

    steveparrott Sponsor
    Messages: 1,275

    Just to clarify my last post.

    The great majority of our distributors do an excellent job serving all kinds of customers. We choose our distributors with this in mind.

    There's only a small number who fail to serve homeowners.
  5. starry night

    starry night LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,193

    We ought to give Cast the benefit of the doubt. We laud them for their product development and we all appreciate Steve's contributions to the industry and to this forum. So we ought to assume that they did not make this decision without in-depth consideration of all the issues.
  6. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,553

    I agree with that.

    I deal with a single location distributor for a lot of my lighting needs... I get both irrigation and lighting supplies from him, and my discount is based on the volume I do.

    A couple of years ago I discovered that homeowners who spent over $1,000 with him were getting a significant discount off MSRP that amounts to them paying about only 10% more than I am.

    It bothered me at first, but when I factored in all the referral work I get from him, mostly people who don't want to do it themselves (once they discover all that's involved), and the convenience of the location, then I realized I could live with it.

    If I have customers who are looking for just a few parts, like for their drip irrigation, I refer them to him.

    I've never had a customer say I was charging too much for the products I install.

    And after OK experiences with a couple of customers who purchased lighting fixtures themselves online (that I installed for them) I discovered I can break out the design/ planning and installation from the sale of the product, so that if they want to feel like they're getting a deal, they can.

    Of course, any product warranty issues are theirs to handle (or I can handle those too for additional fees.)
  7. S&MLL

    S&MLL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 751

    How many of these local distributers are aquarius stores?

    What does msrp stand for? You are the manufacturer you suggest the retail price but then sell at 20 off???

    Idk about this one cast
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. S&MLL

    S&MLL LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 751

    There is a sign where i buy lighting..... it says attention homeowners our contractors come first. And that means alot to me
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. RLI Electric

    RLI Electric LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 381

    It has been my experience that most distributors will only sell to the professional. Except my electrical supply house of course.
    Would it have made more sense if the distributor was like my plumbers supply house? "Tell them Joe the plumber sent you and they will get you what you need." It works for my plumbers and my HVAC guys supply houses. My electrical supply house is open to anyone. I can be sitting there with a whole building worth of material to purchase but Johnny Homeowner needs a lamp for his microwave and the world stops for that $1.39 appliance lamp.
    I have to disagree with this one Steve. I think a better thing would have been for the homeowner to have walked into the distributor, asked for the lamp and the distributor would say. "Who is your installer? Let's give him a call and see if he can give you the ok to put it on his account."
    How long did it take him to drive 30 minutes, how much gas did it cost him? All he had to do was call the initial installer and all would have been taken care of in minutes.
    MSRP of CAST is expensive? Not for what you get in my opinion. There are many manufacturers we all know of that are 4 times the amount of CAST MSRP so in my opinion you are not pricing yourself out of a market. The people can either afford you or not. I know there are cheaper fixtures out there but I don't think you want to have your name mentioned in the same sentence as those.
  10. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,645

    I think it all boils down to what we, as installers add dollars wise to whatever prices folks can find out there, and does the potential client think our expertise is worth that additional cost. If they already have a bid in hand, and are checking online, then they already have their doubts.

    If you bid a job and spec a certain name brand, or you mention that name brand when you do your sales presentation, such as, we ONLY use brand x, then you are marrying yourself to whatever they find online about that company.

    If it is after the fact, you already have the fixtures in, and folks find online pricing for the brand name they find on the lights or trans,and they feel as though you overcharged them for the whole install, then really they are either unfair or you did not convince them that they got value for their money. why else would they be checking?

    But even before cast put it up, like steve said, you could already find those prices online from Cast distributors by googling it. So I don't see what the issue is by Cast selling to folks that don't have a distributor and making money off it.

    I would say that for Cast installers having the pricing out there at least lets folks know that they are expensive fixtures to buy without installation. It helps justify bids in my opinion.

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