The Soft Science of Pricing Ever Evolving, Post #3
Posted by Scot Wilson on
Thank you to all of our loyal customers who have purchased from our website, Italianiron.com and from our Italianironclassics Ebay store. We work hard to be fair in how we price our vintage and modern Ducati Spare Parts. However, there can always be a difference of opinion and I acknowledge that. We have been invited to join several Groups on Facebook. It is there that we will focus on providing to you, the customer, what we have available. Our focus continues to be vintage spare parts for Ducati Bevel Drives, Pantahs, Ducati TT Racers, and for the Ducati 916 Superbike & Derivatives as our niche.
Not every provider of vintage motorcycle spare parts is out to take advantage of the customer. Italian Iron Classics has been a hobby business of mine for the past 25 years that started when I was racing vintage and modern Ducati 750's and needed to have spare parts. Now it is my retirement business. Making sure that you the customer and I both have an enjoyable experience is key. I would contend, however, that shipping companies, financial institutions and organizations such as Ebay seem to fall within that category of taking advantage of both the buyer and the seller. These organizations also effect pricing. While we have an Ebay store, we have been forced to raise prices on that site by 20% on average. This is to compensate for the rising fees that we experience through Ebay US. Therefore, if you wish to get our best price on an item, then contact us through our Italianiron.com website as we list the same items on both sites.
Further, I provide the "Make an Offer" feature on both sites as pricing of vintage parts is not a "hard" science except for our items from Two Wheel Classics-UK as we are their US based dealer. When I price my items, I go to the internet and get a range of prices. If the item is NOS and comes with a dealer price, I can usually cut that price by 50%. However, I recognize that the value of an item that I have listed may not be perceived to be reasonable. To that end, I am open to any reasonable suggestions. However, I do not immediately respond to offers on Ebay of 30% or 50% less on refurbished items like bodywork for example. Painting costs continue to go up as well as the acquisition costs of Ducati 916 bodywork for example due to its growing scarcity. Hard to believe that the Ducati 916 is now considered a sought after "vintage" motorcycle.
Ebay continues to make it difficult to do business due to greater restrictions on communication. It is more challenging but not impossible to maintain our 100% positive feedback ranking when communication is made more difficult. Good communication, in my opinion, is the key to meeting customer expectations as we have done over these past 19 years with Ebay! It is no longer a good business model for us but primarily a marketing venue.
Buyer Protection is very important but so is Seller Protection. As a result, my highest pricing is on Ebay listed items to cover fees and that occasional aggravation. As stated in previous blog posts, through Ebay US I pay the same high fees of 20% on the item sold and on the shipping fees of the item and even if I sourced those competitive rates!
My reality with regard to pricing is to recognize that there are acquisition fees for finding and purchasing inventory that is in addition to my monthly business over-head expenses. Then there are shipping fees for shipping crates and sea containers from the UK and Europe to my shop here in the US. The shipping of my last sea container from Europe was well over $5,000 and after customs fees was pushing $10,000. Shipping fees add to the Cost of Goods. That is just business basics 101. Yet I have another container of Ducati 996, 999, 900 ss and Paso bodywork that is on its way from Europe. Let me know if you are looking for anything in particular.
As it relates to shipping, I do have discounted contracts with many different shipping companies that I pass along to the buyer. I have an inquiry from Italy on shipping a Supersport frame. FedEx was $153, DHL was $601, my freight company was going to charge $209 for door to door service. That is from Arizona USA to Italy of a modern 900 ss frame that is 60 inches (152.4 cm) in length and with a weight of 30 pounds (13.608 kg). I was told by the customer in Italy that $153 from FedEx was too high. I do not agree but there is obviously a great range of difference in rates when shipping internationally. However, finding competitive shipping rates is one of the services that we offer as we know that it is an important consideration of anyone purchasing items from overseas.
Part of the value that we have historically provided at Italianiron.com is the availability of hard-to-find vintage Ducati spare parts that we import from Europe. As I have restored numerous Ducati bevel drives, I know the sense of relief that comes with finding that "unobtanium" spare part to complete that project. There is also the sense of satisfaction that comes from finding that illusive spare part but for a fair price. This is what we strive to achieve. I am always open to having a good conversation through my e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are looking forward to being a vendor at the World Superbike event next month at Laguna Seca racetrack. We look forward to seeing you there!!