Canadian Music Trade - April/May 2017 - Page 9

Tips for Buying & Trading FROM THE FLOOR... Used Guitars & Basses A Q&A with Long & McQuade Mississauga’s Pat Furlan P at Furlan is the manager of Long & McQuade’s Missis- sauga, ON location. A couple of weeks ago, he shared a picture on Facebook of a guitar that the store had taken as a trade-in with this caption: “Warning: This is what happens when you and your staff pay too much attention to the condition of the neck and playability of a trade-in instrument. Look closely … When you see it, you might be offend- ed. Marked down for quick sale…” It was virtually undetectable if you didn’t know to look for it, but sure enough, after staring for a few seconds, the image of a woman’s backside in a revealing swimsuit made itself appar- ent on the body of the guitar. Lesson learned. hunt; they enjoy the chase. In addition to taking trade-ins, our rental depart- ment is an ongoing source of used gear. CMT: When it comes to assessing the potential purchase and sale value of a used guitar, what are some of the sources you consult and how do you and your staff ensure you’ve got a good grasp on what something might draw on the shelf? PF: We look at local resale values on places like Kijiji, our own computer sales history of the product, and so on. We don’t just take these numbers at face value; we look at things like how long instruments are taking to resell. We ask ourselves which [types of] customers would be interested in the item. We will. Customers bring in better trade-ins because of our transparency. We may have to mark down a trade-in from the assessed value, but we would never mark it up. Our pricing should not be different if we are selling a high-end instrument. The right used price should always be the right used price; however , if you are selling a high-end item, you do have some margin in there if you need to stretch a little to make things happen. You may also find the opposite situation where a customer is hot on a slow mover and wants to trade in a hot moving used item. It may make sense to move on from the slow inventory and jump into something with faster turns. CMT: When assessing an instrument, what are the first things you and your staff are looking at right away – say certain parts of the guitar that have a big influence on your interest and its potential value? PF: We look at the condition. We cannot accept a trade-in if it needs repair. We look for known issues with certain mod- els and we look for previous repairs that have been poorly done. CMT: If you decide to take a used gui- tar, what has to happen before it goes up on the wall? With that, we asked Furlan to walk us through some of the key things he and his staff are looking at when a used guitar or bass comes into the store as a potential trade-in or sale. try to imagine the price our customer would be willing to pay. We also try to imagine a price at which our customer loses interest. A well-priced trade-in should sell in less than three months. CMT: First off, what are some of the advantages or unique attributes of stocking used guitars and basses alongside your new products? Do they appeal to any customer groups that might not otherwise visit the store, or at least not as frequently? CMT: How does your process differ when it comes to trade-ins, where you’re taking on a used guitar in order to move a larger-ticket item? How do you ensure both you and your custom- er are benefitting from the deal? PF: Used gear allows us to offer custom- ers a wider range of price points than if we simply handled new gear. There is a core group of customers who prefer to buy used gear. There are also custom- ers we call “super shoppers.” Every retailer knows them or recognizes them. They might visit several retailers in a week. To those folks, shopping for used instruments is a bit like an Easter egg PF: At Long & McQuade, we assess the used resale value and then give the customer 80 per cent if they are trading up to a step-up instrument. In cases where they are trading sideways, down, or simply need cash, they get 70 per cent of that same assessed used value. The final element of this is that we will always sell the instrument for the value we assessed and told the cus- tomer. This garners tremendous good- PF: In many cases, trade-ins are ready to sell. In others, the instrument might need a restring, set-up, or cleanup. The more work an instrument needs to be presentable, the more we might need to deduct as a partial set-up charge from our trade evaluation. This would impact the customer’s net take on the transac- tion, so we encourage customers to try and clean up their gear in advance of presenting it. CMT: Once a “new-to-you” used instrument is ready for sale, are there certain customers you call, or that you know are interested in certain makes, models, or parts that can make for a quick and satisfying sale? PF: Many of our staff know what their customers are looking for and phone or e-mail them. Lately, we have been using the “Local Store Specials” feature on the Long & McQuade website. This has been a huge traffic generator for the store. We also have customers we call “The Saturday Club” who are regulars who buy and trade frequently. They tend to walk in and ask, “What’s new?” CANADIAN MUSIC TRADE 9