View Full Version : Group Purchasing

Brian Sims
10-Nov-2005, 11:39
Some of you may have seen the thread on the Maxwell Screen. This was the first time I've seen such a strong consensus on a product recommendation. Usually we have a raging battle over competing brands (perhaps that is partially due to a certain argumentative characteristic of the "dominant demographic" of this group). Whatever the cause, I would like to propose a new use for our group forum: Anytime there is strong consensus on a product, one of us members would offer to negotiate a group purchase discount. For example, perhaps if we can deliver a list of 20-30 orders we could get a 15-20% discount. A number of details would have to be worked out for this to work for us and for the vendors. We would also need to protect the forum from turning into a market place. I am not suggesting something a formal as a buying club--just a process of delivering a bunch of customers to a vendor in exchange for a good deal. What do you think?

10-Nov-2005, 16:25
This is tangential to the meat of the topic, but...
I was thinking of supporting black and white film, and those manufacturers that demonstrate a firm commitment
to the medium, by organizing "mass purchase" campaigns. For example, what if, as a group, say 20 or more LF photographers decided to buy say, one box of FP4 in 8x10 format per month, or perhaps bi- monthly. It might
serve as an indication of reciprocal dedication to a company that demonstrated it commitment to the craft.


Bob Salomon
10-Nov-2005, 17:52
10 cases per month per photographer would be more likely to gain someone's attention and they would have to be backed up with binding purchase orders that could not be cancelled.

As for group discounts it isn't that easy. To a manufacturer 20 pieces isn't a lot. Who is the responsible party that will pay and receive the merchandise, how would they distribute them? What happens if someone is dissatisfied and wants to return it? Who is responsible for taxes? Whose Federal ID number will you use? Who pays for the freight?

Why would a manufacturer, to sell a few pieces, want to disturb his regular dealer network?

Why would a manufacturer, to sell a few pieces once, go to the time, trouble and expense of opening a new account?

Brian Sims
10-Nov-2005, 21:53

I don't think any manufacturer would be interested in such a deal (unless they were a small operation into the direct retail of their product). The question is what kind of a discount a retailer is willing to give a group, especially for a product that is recognized by the group as top of the line. Since posting my question, I have learned that this group already gets a discount from at least one retailer.

Matthew Cordery
10-Nov-2005, 23:32
I've seen guys do this in Jeep automotive forums. Some dealers will go with it, others won't. As my dad always says, "If you don't ask, you don't get". The man is the master of getting things for nothing or less. Unfortunately, that's one gene he didn't pass on... Anyway, if you're going to set something like this up for Maxwell screens, I'd be interested.

11-Nov-2005, 00:50
Where is the businessman's incentive to sell at a discount if this forum is telling him his product is in strong demand anyway?

Bob Salomon
11-Nov-2005, 04:28

If an item is in strong demand the reailer does not have an additional 15 to 20% of his margin to give away. He still has to pay a buyer to order it (no savings in 20 extra pieces) he still needs to pay the freight (20 pieces cost him more in freight), stock it (20 pieces cost more to stock then 1 piece), finance it, and then sell it. He still has to pay his staff, he has to ship it, etc.

You have not given him any reason to give away 15 to 20% of whatever little margin he has on the product.

Brian Sims
11-Nov-2005, 10:31

I guess you're saying that every item out there is priced at the most competitive price to just cover costs plus a minimum margin. Boy, that's just not the world of business I know and participate in. You didn't pay list price on the last car you bought did you? My brother is in a fly fishing club that gets discounts on gear all the time. Just look at the number of retailers that give discounts merely for carrying an AARP card (which I refuse to join until they start paying attention to issues of concern to the kids and grandkids).

QT Luong
11-Nov-2005, 14:21
When I was in college, our classes were 350. The student mountaineering club organized an annual group purchasing with the largest outdoor store in Paris (Le Vieux Campeur), and we got a discount. It's been 20 years, so I don't remember how much, but it wasn't neglectible. I also know for sure that when someone licenses 20 images from me, or orders 20 prints, they get a discount if they ask for it.

Bob Salomon
11-Nov-2005, 16:15

Sorry but photo dealers do not operate the same way as car dealers.