Less Expensive Isn’t Always Better-Buying Pool Supplies Online
Everyone loves a bargain. With so many products available online, consumers can compare prices with the click of a button. They can shop at 10 o’clock at night and have items shipped to them without ever leaving the house. It can be far more convenient to shop online than to visit a physical store. But do consumers always know what they are getting? Is an online bargain really a bargain at all?
In the world of pool equipment and accessories, brick and mortar businesses face stiff competition from the internet. Although visiting a store has added advantages to customers, such as a knowledgeable salesperson, price differences often steer consumers to online retailers. This is where things may get confusing.
If a customer finds an item online for significantly less than their local pool store’s price, they may feel angry that they were charged more. However, the consumer may not realize that what they are purchasing is not the same item that their local store is selling. The part or accessory may be a generic and not produced by the OEM (original equipment manufacturer). Generic items can be less durable and not made as well.
What Should Consumers Look For?
Product descriptions on websites can be misleading and vague. It can be difficult for a consumer to know if they are buying something from an OEM or a generic. There are some things consumers can look for.
SKU or part number similar to the original manufacturer’s with slight changes, such as an added dash or missing number
The original SKU in a list with other numbers
The OEM’s logo on the page, even though the page does not belong to the OEM
Words and phrases like “generic,” “replacement,” “aftermarket,” and “fits”
Comparisons between the product and the original
Replacement parts are especially vulnerable to generic competition because they are cheap to make and harder to identify as not being from the OEM.
What Are the Consequences?
Consumers, retailers and manufacturers are hurt by generic replacement parts and vague product descriptions on the internet. They may feel their local retailer took advantage of them by charging more for the same products they find online. This hurts both parties since it can destroy trust and a good working relationship. Retailers lose business and consumers may end up with inferior parts that will cost them more in the long run. If the part fails and the customer seeks warranty support from the retailer or OEM and finds that support is unavailable, the customer will be frustrated and will have to spend more money on replacement items.
If you decide to shop for parts and accessories on the internet, be aware of what you are really buying. Look for signs that you are purchasing genuine OEM replacement parts, and use your local retailer as a resource to make sure you are getting what you need.
For more information, please contact one of our convenient Pools of Fun Customer Care Locations.