What Happened to that $100 Sharp MD-X5 Unit from ShopAudioVideo.com?

I received this letter (and permission to post it) from ShopAudioVideo.com. -eaw
June 9, 2000
Dear Webmaster:

Sometimes even when you do good it looks bad. Here's the facts behind the ostensibly outrageous increase in the price of the MDMX5 system to $199.70 immediately after it was posted on your site that it was available for $99.70:

To set the record straight, etown.com itself, does not sell product. That is done by their Dealer Web Partners of which we at ShopAudioVideo.com are one. And yes, we are the ones that were selling the MDMX5 for $99.70. But you really need to understand how we obtain many of our products for sale, especially special purchase, last chance closouts, like, not surprisingly, the MDMX5.

Such items are purchased from wholesale distributors of Consumer Electronic products, similar, actually, to how it is done in many businesses. In this case, specifically, we had committed upfront to what we felt was a reasonable quantity of the systems from one of these distributors. Quite frankly the unit was selling rather nicely since we first put it up on the site about two weeks ago. I would even say at a slightly higher rate than we had anticipated. As luck would have it, and this really is a coincidence (no kiddin'), we had just about run through our allocation FROM THAT DISTRIBUTOR when the article appeared on your site. Sales went through the roof! A testimony to the impact of your site. By the time morning had come our supply (from that distributor - remember "that distributor") was long since gone. Well, it was good news and bad news for us.

Don't get me wrong, we are in the selling business and we love to do that, but now we had a significant number of orders AND no supply (from that distributor - once again). We did, however, and this is where it was good for your clubmembers who jumped on the bandwagon quick, have another source (re: distributor) for the MDMX5. Unfortunately for us (such is the life of an etailer) their price to us was higher than our original source, by a lot - a way lot, how about almost $100 "a lot"? (No kiddin' - #2. )

So being the ethical company that we think we are, we purchased units at this higher cost from our second source to fill all the orders that had come in at the lower price of $99.70. Yeah, we lost our shirts on those, but that is our cross to bear. Once those customers were taken care of, we then felt that the better part of business sense dictated that we raise our price to at least cover this increase. And so we did. This way, at least, although we could not keep the $99.70 good thing going, it was still a pretty hot price at $199.70 for those who were still interested - Hey, its a micro system with digital tuner, remote, two-way speakers, CD, 20 watts per channel, and less we forget - a mini disc player/recorder!

But being the "Never say die" kind of company that we aspire to be, all is not yet lost - at least not yet. We have put in calls to our illustrious Distributor #2 in the hope that with our committment to buy much, if not all of their remaining inventory on the MDMX5, they will bring their cost to us down to the point where we could once again offer it on our site for $99.70. As luck would have it, our two contacts there were both out of town, and it being Friday here, it looks like it will be next week before we see if we can make this all happen. My advice would be for those interested in the system to hang in there for a few days. We can post an update to your site as soon as we know what the situation (either good or bad) will be.

Well, there you have it. The story as it has transpired. We apologize for being a bit long-winded, but there were a lot of details to the story and we wanted you to have them all. So if you are going to to be upset at us (and am I being kind here?), we wanted you to feel that way based on what really happened, not the way it may have appeared in, more a less, a vacuum.

Sincerely,                                     Sincerely,

Donald S. Rothenstein                          Mike Goodman
ShopAudioVideo.com                             ShopAudioVideo.com
Merchandising Manager                          President
(Your humble author/story teller)              (The place where the buck stops)

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