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Thread: Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

  1. #1
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    Default Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

    Hi all! This isn’t really meant to be much of a debate since I am sort of down the middle about it, but has anyone else noticed that a majority of the classified instrument section is now postings by retailers? In one sense, I think it is fantastic because the whole idea is the love for the mandolin and getting it out there in as many hands as possible, right? It makes us all very aware in one space of all the fine instruments available at these amazing shops. Having them all collected and available to view in one space is great, otherwise we may not have had the opportunity to see them as conveniently. So, thank you to the cafe for this. My only concern is that a lot of these dealers post 10-25, and maybe more instruments, at any one time. It seems to saturate the classifieds a bit making it hard for us non retail sellers, who sometimes sell one thing at a time. I see the advantage and disadvantage to having this many retailers in one classified posting so many instruments at a time - especially since each contributes a % to the cafe. That’s the beauty of them being part of the community and such amazing contributors to the cafe. Okay, so here is what I'm wondering: Would a retail classified category help separate the retailers from private sales and prevent a sense of saturation to the classifieds? Again, I love this website and would be crazy without it. I also looove being able to go on here and see all the mandolins available. That’s the thing - these retailers have the best photos of these available instruments. I’d love to hear some thoughts on this. Does anyone feel having retailers and private sales in the same category makes it harder to sell for the littler man?

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    This was typed on an iPhone so excuse all of the typos. It was too small worry about good grammar. :-)
    Last edited by Demetrius; Feb-24-2018 at 10:14am.

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

    I hadn't realized the disproportionate ratio of ads by retailers to ads by individuals until I read the original post and started browsing mandolins to see for myself. Yes, Demetrius is right, at this moment of posting, retailers are now the primary advertisers in the mandolin and banjo sections of the classifieds.

    My question is this: Should the classifieds be a database that is focused on giving an outlet to individual members of the music community, or one that is focused on serving retail shops?

    The retailers already have their own websites, databases such as gbase, and links on the Café. Most of the rest of us have only the Café classifieds and Reverb, unless you want to throw craigslist and ebay into the mix. I would prefer it if retail shops were limited to posting in a "dealers" category.

    An alternative would be to limit the number of ads that anyone can post at one time.

    The current policy is "Please do no post large groups of ads-- five or more in a row at one time." Perhaps this could be changed to "five or more active ads at any one time."
    Last edited by rcc56; Feb-24-2018 at 10:41am.

  4. #3
    Mediocre but OK with that Paul Busman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

    I'd also like to see a separate dealers category. People in the market for a new instrument (not necessarily mandolin) would know where to look and people only looking for used wouldn't be inundated (or tempted )with the new instrument listings.I suppose a dealer selling a used instrument on consignment, at used prices, would be OK.
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    Default Re: Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

    I don't necessarily agree that having a separate listing for private sellers will make a difference not that's its a bad idea but what separates the private guys from retailers should be price. I've been buying & selling instruments & gear for a long time and I price things right (IMO) and sell stuff very fast because I'm not trying to make money on it. If you price your stuff right it will sell. I sell on Reverb, Craigslist and even sold a mandolin here, I don't think I've ever had anything advertised for more than a few weeks before it's sold most of time I sell stuff in a day or two. I see "private" sellers on Cafe who have listings with double and triple digit ads they've posted I wouldn't put those sellers in the "little guys" line up. If your really a "little guy" who's buying and playing and want to sell after you've played the heck out of it just price it right & you'll sell it way quicker than the "big guys" if your in it to make money than that's different story.
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    Default Re: Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

    I find that a large part of the instruments on Reverb are also dealers, at least of the instruments I was looking at. When I have browsed Reverb I found very few private seller ads in the categories I was looking at. I think that many retailers have found an easy way to reach target audiences. I also find, however, that most private sellers are agreeable to "make an offer" and dealers aren't, so even if I have browsed dealers ads I will gravitate to those who are willing to entertain offers (private sellers.)

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    Default Re: Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

    Demetrius, saw your add the other day and couldn’t help but wonder where MAS is leading you now? (I suffer from it as well )

    I’ve never sold anything in the classifieds, but see where you’re coming from. I wouldn’t mind having retail and private sections, but don’t mind the way it is now, either...
    Chuck

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    Default Re: Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

    Has been asked before. Won't happen. Ever.

    There may be classifieds sites dealing in stringed instruments that tell retailers, "put your goods over here in this little category so we don't have to look at you if we wish," but I can't say I can name one. Maybe someone can. Bravo. eBay doesn't, nor Reverb, nor Craig's List, and those are our competition. I'm quite happy with how this 1.X operation stacks up to them. There's a simple reason why retailers post instruments here, because they sell. Elderly, Music Emporium and a few others sell multiples per day and we can trace and prove that. They support the site quite well, which help us bring in butts in chairs (my term), and without them, the Cafe goes away. We're on the record already stating this: we'll take all the retailers that want to list their instruments here.

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    Default Re: Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

    I prefer they be together because I just want to look in one place and see what's out there. I do this multiple times each day. Quick and simple. I'm just not going to take the time to look in two places.
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  13. #9

    Default Re: Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

    I don't mind at all the mingling of private and dealer instruments. The thing I wonder about is, if a dealer has a web site and also uses eBay and Reverb, how does he know which venue was responsible for the sale? I'd be inclined to just find the instrument on the dealer's web site and buy it there.

    I also enjoy just seeing something new on a daily basis.
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    Default Re: Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    I don't mind at all the mingling of private and dealer instruments. The thing I wonder about is, if a dealer has a web site and also uses eBay and Reverb, how does he know which venue was responsible for the sale? I'd be inclined to just find the instrument on the dealer's web site and buy it there.

    I also enjoy just seeing something new on a daily basis.
    That’s actually a very good point. However these dealers have been around a long time and have a great reputation and for reason. I’m sure they ask where did you see the item? I trust that if someone said mandolin café then the dealer would pay a percentage.

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    Default Re: Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

    Yes, like I said, no debate. I'm split down the middle and was no more than curious. Was just a food for thought and discussion, since it is a discussion board. I certainly, nowhere in my message, implied that these retailers should be condemned or put in a little category, so we don't have to look at them if we wish. Perhaps you were directing that to someone else from some other place, some other time, who may have been implying this. Anyhow, I was just simply stating that the the classifieds seems to be primarily retail-based at this point and wanted to hear thoughts from others members on how they felt about it. It doesn't bother me either way. In fact, I enjoy browsing the classifieds and actually feel a little safer dealing with reputable retailers. These ads have given me many leads on many fine instruments and have introduced me to retailers of which I wasn't even aware. So, again, thank you for presenting this opportunity to the mandolin community. Otherwise, I don't believe I would have gone out of my way to seek out these instruments on the actual retailers websites. Too many out there to keep track of...

    Thank you for chiming in and laying it out for us.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandolin Cafe View Post
    Has been asked before. Won't happen. Ever.

    There may be classifieds sites dealing in stringed instruments that tell retailers, "put your goods over here in this little category so we don't have to look at you if we wish," but I can't say I can name one. Maybe someone can. Bravo. eBay doesn't, nor Reverb, nor Craig's List, and those are our competition. I'm quite happy with how this 1.X operation stacks up to them. There's a simple reason why retailers post instruments here, because they sell. Elderly, Music Emporium and a few others sell multiples per day and we can trace and prove that. They support the site quite well, which help us bring in butts in chairs (my term), and without them, the Cafe goes away. We're on the record already stating this: we'll take all the retailers that want to list their instruments here.

  16. #12

    Default Re: Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

    an what did I get out of this. the big guys who buy ad space can do what ever they want, an be dammed with the little guy who only wants to post one mandolin. I have bought 4 mandolins from retailers on this site & it was from there ad page. so I guess it is all right to flood the classified with the same mandolin as long as you are a retailer. maybe if people had to kick back a percentage to the café per mandolin it would even the odds for the little guy. an the retailer would think my add is more than doing it's job which it does.

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    Default Re: Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolin tony View Post
    an what did I get out of this. the big guys who buy ad space can do what ever they want, an be dammed with the little guy who only wants to post one mandolin. I have bought 4 mandolins from retailers on this site & it was from there ad page. so I guess it is all right to flood the classified with the same mandolin as long as you are a retailer. maybe if people had to kick back a percentage to the café per mandolin it would even the odds for the little guy. an the retailer would think my add is more than doing it's job which it does.
    I could be wrong, but I believe the big guys who buy ads also donate for each sale to the cafe. Not long ago one was banned for not doing just that.
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    Default Re: Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by mandolin tony View Post
    an what did I get out of this. the big guys who buy ad space can do what ever they want, an be dammed with the little guy who only wants to post one mandolin. I have bought 4 mandolins from retailers on this site & it was from there ad page. so I guess it is all right to flood the classified with the same mandolin as long as you are a retailer. maybe if people had to kick back a percentage to the café per mandolin it would even the odds for the little guy. an the retailer would think my add is more than doing it's job which it does.
    I'm thinking you don't understand how the classifieds work. The little guy you mention generally has a better chance of finding a buyer here that actually knows what they are selling because the market place is an intelligent one. There is no advantage given one seller over another. If the buyer wants an item they can buy it.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

    I learned what Mike E is talking about a long time ago. I was at a live auction and the violin i wanted came up and I was competing against a couple of dealers I knew. I thought i would lose for sure but I was willing to pay low retail for this whereas the dealers had to pay wholesale. They had overhead and needed to sell it for some profit. At one point I was competing against a phone bidder and then that person hit his or her ceiling. I still own and play that fiddle, one of my main ones.

    The same goes for the classifieds. Many of use look at the dealer sites or Reverb pages, etc. and see those things but also know what the prices are we are willing to pay. So, it really is a level playing field. I definitely like that we are are listing together.
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    Default Re: Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I learned what Mike E is talking about a long time ago. I was at a live auction and the violin i wanted came up and I was competing against a couple of dealers I knew. I thought i would lose for sure but I was willing to pay low retail for this whereas the dealers had to pay wholesale. They had overhead and needed to sell it for some profit. At one point I was competing against a phone bidder and then that person hit his or her ceiling. I still own and play that fiddle, one of my main ones.

    The same goes for the classifieds. Many of use look at the dealer sites or Reverb pages, etc. and see those things but also know what the prices are we are willing to pay. So, it really is a level playing field. I definitely like that we are are listing together.
    Thanks for sharing that. I see what you mean...
    Great point Jim!

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    Default Re: Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

    Aren’t most (if not all) the dealers who are posting in the classifieds also sponsors? They support the cafe, individuals sometimes offer the compensation to the Café sometimes do not. At least I remember reading something to that effect somewhere
    It strikes me that this is a weird topic for a thread but, what do I know?
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    Default Re: Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

    I have been pleased with the variety of instruments and the range of prices posted on the MC classifieds. I have had no issue with the overlap of private and professional shop sellers. When I have sold on the Cafe, I have had a lot of action, and I have been able to find the mandolins I am looking for as well. I understand the question and it is always good to discuss the pros and cons, but I personally don't have a desire to see the listings separated by individual and professional sellers.
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    Default Re: Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

    The majority of all instruments posted on the Cafe are done so by individual sellers. Yes, there are a lot of dealer postings, but go back and count a couple hundred and see for yourself, or do all close to 550 mandolins. There are days it's heavier than others. Friday, Saturday and Sunday it was overwhelmingly individuals posting. Do a count for yourself, but count them all if you do. Don't tell us what you think, tell us what the numbers which are right there for you to count reflect. Real numbers are the only way the story is conveyed. No ill will towards anyone, but that statement that this is all retail heavy is not accurate.

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    Default Re: Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

    The more really wonderful mandolins are in the classifieds, the more eyeballs are attracted to the classifieds. So if you are a private seller, the draw of all those great mandolins is going to make your items visible to more people. If your item is priced right, it should find a buyer quickly (particularly given the prevalence of MAS in this audience). I'd see the presence of quality dealers such as appear here as a plus for private sales, not a hindrance.
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    Default Re: Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

    Eye candy, always a great thing!

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    Default Re: Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

    I want the Cafe management to do it in exactly the way Cafe management prefers, but I would point out there is a way to filter for sale by "dealer" or "owner" on Craigslist.

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  34. #23

    Default Re: Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

    This is a really great site, perfect no but there is really nothing that I would point to say there need to be something done differently.

    I have no idea how or what the dealers pay for there ads, but I am guessing that this site is how it is because of the financial support of the support of the dealers. It is because of them I would be the server was able to be upgraded. I am sure that individuals contribute but probably a small percentage. I like to look at all the mandolins the dealers have since I have little chance to play most of those locally. Also several of the dealers post sound (usually much better than by an individual) samples so it is great to compare them to other mandolins. We are also lucky to have very good dealers to deal with, it is not Guitar Center and the likes that are advertising here.

    I think it depends on what individuals are selling and what they are asking as to how quickly a mandolin sells or if it sells at all. If you are playing in the 10 to 20K range you severally limit your pool of buyers. If you are asking full retail you are going to limit your buyers unless it is something rare or really desirable. The average player just can not afford upper end luxury's. The few ads that are annoying to me are the home base dealers that list several items and always have several ads. Seems the same as other sites I have frequented.

    Keep up the good work.

  35. #24

    Default Re: Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

    Quote Originally Posted by sheets View Post
    The more really wonderful mandolins are in the classifieds, the more eyeballs are attracted to the classifieds. So if you are a private seller, the draw of all those great mandolins is going to make your items visible to more people. If your item is priced right, it should find a buyer quickly (particularly given the prevalence of MAS in this audience). I'd see the presence of quality dealers such as appear here as a plus for private sales, not a hindrance.
    That's just what I was thinking. I've bought two mandos from the classifieds here - one from a retailer, one from a private seller. In both cases, both sellers had to compete with ALL the other posters here, both private AND retailer.

    The abundance of choices is what keeps me (and maybe you) browsing here. It's much better than Reverb or Craig's. And retailers are only going to move instruments that aren't otherwise available or that are priced to compete with private sellers.

    So it seems like a real boon to all of us to welcome both retailers and private sellers on an equal footing. This is a rare example of competition on a level playing field.

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  36. #25
    Registered User Kris N's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harder to sell, easier to find mandolins

    While I don't mind them together, I'd personally like to see an indicator if it's a retail or private sale. Typically you can tell just by reading it, but if there was some sort of badge, that would be great.

    All in all, I love this site. No complaints from me, just a suggestion.
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