The retail industry going to shit while we're asleep...

but can we understand the consequences and can we fix it... An anecdote to get the conversation going.
So Sophie and I bought a new home. A ship.

Our new bedroom can become very cute. It is situated in the bow (front) of the ship. And because a bow has a very shiplike shape, a regular square bed is not really suitable.

Below you see the room (used as a play room by the children of the former owner). In the, now blue, built-in construction we can place a mattress.
So I went shopping for a new mattress yesterday. I started browsing the web to find out which brands of mattresses are suggested. I have a bad back and think that a good mattress is essential for me. Sophie her biggest hobby is sleeping, so there we are.

I found out which mattresses were named 'best of 2016' and found dealers in Amsterdam who sell it and have it in the showroom.
I visited one of these stores yesterday and tried the bed. A salesman informed and educated me on my different options. He also advised me on the Auping spirals I definitely needed. The new combination also requires a mattress protector, because the spirals can be rough. Finally I needed a molton to catch my nightly sweat and of course some special bedcovers because this mattress I picked was way thicker than normal ones. 
The sales man than drafted a proposal. Because of all the extras the whole package ended up costing 800 euro more than my designated budget, so I said I had to think about it.
Especially the two last items, the molton and the bedcovers felt really pricy (together costing over 160 euros).
The salesman saw my deliberation and said:
"To help you decide I'll round the number and give you a nice 81 euro discount."
It felt as if he had added futile expensive stuff to an already over budget package and then give me a discount for the futile stuff.

I said I had to think about it.

I went back to the office and was Googling moltons and bedcovers (that's a first) and found these for a lot cheaper. Even on the webshop of the store I just physically visited these products were offered at a cheaper price!
So I emailed the sales man and said we had a deal if he offered me two bed covers for the same package price.

Ten minutes later I received his reply and they wanted to sell me the package with two bed covers for fifty euros extra.

I decided to call one of the webshops which I found while Googling, because I saw they also sold the same brand of mattresses and spirals. They advertised that I should call for their best pricing, so I did. The salesman offered me the same package within 5 minutes for 300 euro less! The delivery terms were exactly the same. They could even deliver it on the exact day we needed it.

My co-workers in the office argued that I should use the offer to get a better price.
"Use the second offer to negotiate a better price"

There was this dilemma

Because of the ongoing investment in the showroom and test beds of the physical store and their advise and explanations I knew exactly what I needed.
But because all the prices are so transparent I also felt cheated a little bit.
The webshop owner has less costs, doesn't need the showroom, doesn't have to spent that much time on advise, doesn't have to keep stock etc.

I am well aware that this opportunistic behaviour, of which I am also guilty of, in the end is making us poorer. We need experts on all topics, we need a trusted network plus people who are knowledgeable. 

I sent an email to the store telling them we were so close thanking them for their advise and told them I went for the other offer. The operational costs and risks are too big for the conventional retailers to lower their margins. Maybe they should compete on prices as well, we like transparency, but also sell an advise and "try before you buy"-fee.

So basically create transparency by working with the same margins and adding services.
Now the operational costs are not really transparent so the margin is also vague.

Online we've been doing this already in practically all products.
You pay for the features you are using. There are different plans for different customers.
I would gladly pay for expert advice or the opportunity to test the products before I buy them.

Retailers we need you so please change your business models.

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