Saturday, September 1, 2018

The Back Door - from Truck to Store

So a brief smile crossed my lips yesterday morning as I read someone waxing lyrical about the addition of yet another "prestigious" brand joining website X's (also) "prestigious" stable of "curated" brands selling their authorized pre-owned collections.

So a little inside baseball for all of you fans of bargain priced watches.  In this instance, prestigious means about as much as you, the customer are willing to invest in it.  

And the word curated?  Let's face some realities.  We are talking about a Internet sales channel, not the Louvre, Tate or MOMA.  The watches you are seeing are only curated in the sense that brands Y and Z had surplus stock.  Surplus either due to over-production that has partially gone out to grey market sites already, or pieces re-po'd from retail stores where the brand either had to do a buy back (okay, these didn't sell, so if you agree to continue carrying our watches and accept this new model, we will take these back in trade), or as is more and more the case?  They closed a store's account.

It is easy to think that you are having an experience like buying a factory authorized pre-owned BMW.  Maybe 10 (more like 15) years ago this was more likely.  More and more you are buying overstock that has been dispatched by the brands themselves.  In some instances, in order to try and preserve brand integrity, they will platoon out their overstock under the guise of pre-owned so that although it is going at a discounted price, it is not being sold as new through a known grey-marketeer.  For the brand?  They get the same margins, and to the outside world the perception is that they are merely re-distributing watches that were "traded in".  The truth?  9 times out of 10 these watches are pre-owned only in the sense that they were in one distribution center, and now they are in another.  Because, if we are being honest about this, you don't tend to see too many watch brands incentivize you to trade in your watch towards a new one.  Watch stores?  Absolutely!  But that is a completely different thing.  

So here's to those carefully curated pre-owned collections!  Takes some of the stigma away from saying grey-market, doesn't it ; )

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