Big ticket items such as commercial kitchen equipment can be bought from retail stores in every major city in America. So why would anyone want to even think about buying one of the expensive pieces of equipment online? Well, there may be more reasons than you think.
- Super Selection: When you visit a retailer or wholesaler, chances are they will only have the most popular models on display. You will have to browse the catalog to find the model you want. This makes your trip to the store a waste of time. That same catalog, with more information (spec sheets and warranty info), can be easily found online. Being able to offer the full line of products and all the information about each model is an online advantage that few stores can match.
- No Salesman: If you hate being ‘sold’ something like I do, then shopping online just got a lot more enticing. Unless you request to contact a sales person, you won’t be bothered with extra questions and sales pitches that you don’t need or want to hear. This is a large asset of online shopping, especially if you are new at the search for a commercial appliance.
- Better Deals: In many cases, companies offer better deals online than in store. The reason for this is simple; the internet comes with very little overhead. Since they don’t have to pay sales people, operate a showroom, or have cash registers, the savings are often passed on directly to you.
- Impersonal: You cannot deny that shopping online is an impersonal experience. You have nothing but an email or printed web page to ensure your payment, and in many cases, you are not even provided with a proper tracking number for your package.
- No Hands On: If turning knobs and opening doors is what will help you make your decision, then shopping online may not be for you. Though makers and sellers have both attempted to offer excellent pictures, online manuals, and product information, there is no way for you to get the real feel of the appliance.
- Shipping Costs: Many stores offer free shipping when you come shop in the showroom, but do not offer the same if you shop online. This can add significantly to the cost of purchasing commercial kitchen equipment online.
Like most things, the best solution is often the middle path. Whenever I’m looking to buy a new commercial appliance for my restaurant, I do three things. First, I look up basic information online, jot down a model number or two that I am interested in. Second, I contact and visit stores who carry these models to have a better look at them, see what else might be similar, and check out the prices. Third, I go back online and source the best deal on my desired model. The bottom line determines whether I shop online or in-store. Using this method I end up shopping online about 60% of the time and always get a better deal when I am able to find what I am looking for.