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Old 03-28-2011, 08:48 PM   #21
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This thread has been very revealing. I have never studied the technical aspects of running a business like this, but it's interesting to compare what the consumer demands with what the businesses do in response. It's also easy to miscalculate and do the wrong thing in response to consumer demand- such as overextend, stock too much / too varied inventory, etc. I can think of one startup company supplying homebrewers that has appeared on HBT for only three or four months. They have been trying very conscientiously to meet customer demands, but I'm far from certain that they will be successful.

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Old 03-28-2011, 08:55 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by amrmedic View Post
Most stores do not advertise that they will special order or take requests, thats great to know you do. I use Brewmasters Warehouse frequently, I will probably be contacting you for some special orders.

Having different shipping options would be best. Offer USPS flat rate, it doesnt cost you anything. And its cheaper than Fed Ex and UPS.
I guess I really do not advertise that we do special orders but we certainly do them, especially for customers that order from us a lot. So let me know when your ready what you want and I will see what I can do for you.

As far as USPS Flat Rate the lowest price for flat rate is $5.00 for a small flat rate box. If you put in a small order and asked for USPS small flat rate box if possible then we would do that, and give you your $1.99 back. We ship USPS to Canada, Alaska, and/or Hawaii just about everyday so that is not really a big deal. Anything larger than the small USPS box costs more to ship than our flat rate shipping.

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Old 03-28-2011, 10:01 PM   #23
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[QUOTE=Brewmasters Warehouse;2782183] So let me know when your ready what you want and I will see what I can do for you.

Now how can we do that when there is no customer service from internet retailers. OOOPPPS sorry just looked at your site and others. Why they have a button that says contact us. Huh when did that happen ? email-phone# even address. Dang technology always amazes me.

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Old 03-28-2011, 10:23 PM   #24
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Well, I have asked other retailers online for special orders or help in getting certain products and have been brushed off as a nuisance. So before you make a smart comment and go negative, think of all possible explanations.

I started this thread as a means to express my frustration I have with online retailers and in a way, the lack of a convenient LHBS.

This hobby/addiction we have has a unique supply chain. Its not like you can walk into Wal Mart and pick up your brewing ingredients (though most of my brew gear does come from Home Depot lol). Also, the demand for our needs is limited, so there is not always going to be a LHBS that is convenient. So, we turn to this marvelous invention called the internet. I think we all have utilized an internet retailer at one time or the other. I frequently find myself having to go to all the major online retailers pricing what I need, including shipping to see where I can get the best deal. Shopping around when buying something is important, when making a large one time purchase, however I do not think that you would want to go to every grocery store chain every week to check the price of milk when you need it. You find a store that you like and you stick with it. Creating customer loyalty is a key aspect to a business' success. it is time consuming and at times frustrating when you find a store that has most of what you need or not in stock, but then having to go to a second store for the remainder of the stuff. Often times, I go back to my recipe to see if I can change it to get it one stop shopping. I find myself not having one retailer loyalty, yet.

However, as I write this, my recent purchases from Brewmasters just arrived.

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Old 03-28-2011, 10:25 PM   #25
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I really like the LHBS in my area, the guys are very friendly and helpful. I'm glad to do business with them and help them out a little bit.

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Old 03-29-2011, 12:29 AM   #26
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I get frustrated too by online retailers because I find it way too easy to keep adding stuff to my order to get free shipping. Wish I had the problem of not finding what I wanted.

Of all the hobbies I've been involved with I've found this one to have some pretty darn good e commerce options and I have found the shipping to be more than fair when I factor in the time it saves me.

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Old 03-29-2011, 12:51 AM   #27
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This is exactly what we do. When enough people request a product we carry it. We also special order products for customers that are willing to wait for a non stock product. You can request products by posting in our main thread, on facebook or through our contact us form.

We have doubled the number of products that we carry since we have been open. Many of them were from requests from customers. I did a special order today for a new 3 gallon ball lock keg for a customer that asked for it in our main thread.

Thanks,

Ed
I am in the same boat as a lot of people in that my preferred LHBS (Brewmasters Warehouse) is about 1 hour away. However I have a friend that works in Atlanta and he doesn't mind stopping by and picking up my grocery list.
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Old 03-29-2011, 01:03 AM   #28
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The problem I have with my local shop is the freshness. The hops are always old and the grains are just never fresh. So I am always shopping with usually NB or Brewmasters Warehouse. Between the 2 they almost always have what I need. ANd if not they will usually have it shortly. Both of them offer great flat rate shipping that is more then fair. Bottom line is we have a heavy hobby haha

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Old 03-29-2011, 01:16 AM   #29
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Last weekend I was in St. Louis and i decided to check out a local HBS, St. Louis Beer and Wine Making. It was in a decent location and the store was very clean. I wanted to buy a Russian Imperial kit for my brother in law and the price was $60. UGH! I can understand some amount of mark-up by the LHBS but this is crazy. So I decided to check out a nearby mega liquor store and found the exact same kit for $42.

So here it is, if you are going to open brick-mortar store, don't think you can get away with absurd mark-up just for the sake of convenience for your customers. There are just too many other options out there.

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Old 03-29-2011, 02:18 AM   #30
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It could be worse - you could be in China! I looked up a 1# can of invert syrup yesterday from an online retailer - once shipping rates and customs were inputted the cost was in excess of $70!
When I need specialty items over here, namely hops, I have had the items shipped to my parents in NJ, then they turn around and ship it over here, but it still isn't cheap. Shipping $20 worth of hops routinely costs close to $40 to ship to Beijing.
Since we just started brewing over here, we will be relying on trips home as well as visitors to ferry specialty supplies over to us.
On that note, if you happen to be visiting Beijing any time in the future please let me know and I'll give you a shopping list - then I'll buy you a noddle dinner and a beer for your troubles!

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