Mr.David Brooks,the very popular Journalist for the New York Times, and the closest to Conservative Thinking you will find in that Newspaper, wrote on yesterday's OP-ED page in "Questions for Dr.Retail:Listen,the essential competiktion in many consumer sectors is between commodity providers and experience providers,the companies that just deliver product and the companies that deliver a sensation,too".
As I read that, I couldn't help but apply that thinking to the retail Hearing Aid Business.
COSTCO is strictly a Commodity Provider and that especially applys to the way they sell and fit Hearing Aids.
Their Hearing Aid Facility, is the largest ready-made Sound Proof Room produced.
It is located within, what could be classified as a Warehouse with steel racks.
Within that Box, there is an Audiometer.
They administer a Basic Hearing Test, and then they take the order for a set of hearing aids, at the choice of the Customer.
Their Dispensers are Licensed Order Takers or Clerks, or to be kind, as everyone in Retail is now called: Associates.
They are the only State Licensed COSTCO Employees in the Warehouse.
The only reason ANYONE buys HEARING AIDS from them is because of PRICE.
I think the only reason anybody buys anything from COSTCO is because of PRICE.
THEY ARE A PERFECT,COMPLETE,AND TOTAL EXAMPLE OF A COMMODITY PROVIDER.
Mr. Brooks writes about the EXPERIENCE PROVIDER.
At an EXPERIENCE PROVIDER, you sustain an EXPERIENCE in addition to the COMMODITY.
As an example he uses Safeway compared to Whole Foods, the PC compared to the Mac, Holiday Inns compared to W Hotels, Walgreens compared to The Body Shop.
I supposed he could have included SEARS,TARGET,K-MART,WALMART, compared to Bloomingdales,Nordstroms,etc.
Some Providers in the Retail Hearing Aid Business grasp and exploit the "Experience" theory.
Some try to capture the
Some providers even wear WHITE COATS usually worn and associated with MEDICAL DOCTORS.
Such ploys are deliberate and they are effective.
It has been my experience and observation over the past 25 years in the Hearing Aid Industry, that there is no doubt that IMAGE is very important.
Just as People prefer to Dine in nice surroundings, they also prefer any type of SERVICES, in nice,clean,facilities.
But I believe, the most important considerations in the Retail Hearing Aid Business, is Honesty,Integrity,Dedication,Compassion,Empathy,Fairness,Experience,Dedication,Attitude,Sincerity, Knowledge,Understanding,and Communication Skills.
All Virtues in how One Human treats and respects another Human Being.
But each Person makes that Decision on his own.
In the COSTCO example, as far as Hearing Aids are concerned, it is even more pronounced because of PRICE DIFFERENTIAL.
There is no other COMMODITY or PRODUCT or SERVICE, they OFFER and PROVIDE, that is so far or more advantageous, than in the HEARING AID COMMODITY, because of the PRICING BY MOST COSTCO COMPETITORS?.
While Independent,Groups,Medical Doctors, and other PROVIDERS, continue to MARK-UP THE COST OF HEARING AIDS 3 OR 4 TIMES, RESULTING IN RETAIL PRICES OF $3,000 OR $4,000 OR $5,000 OR $6,000 EACH, COSTCO BUYS HEARING AIDS FOR $300 EACH AND SELLS THEM FOR $1700 EACH, AND LOOKS LIKE A HERO,EVEN THOUGH THEIR PROFIT MARGIN IN THE SALE OF HEARING AIDS IS AS MUCH AS 20 TIMES HIGHER THAN ANY OTHER PRODUCTS OR COMMODITIES THEY SELL/.
At least they offer an alternative to the outlandish prices that most other HEARING AID PROVIDERS OFFER;.
As I have said before, all COSTCO OFFERS IS PRICE!.
THEY KNOW IT, AND THEY ACT AS IF THEY ARE THE ONLY GAME IN TOWN,.
AND IN MOST CASES THEY ARE RIGHT..
If their Hearing Aid Provider Competitors had any Brains, they would price the few Hearing Aids Brands, and Models, that
COSTCO offers, at the same price, and they could take COSTCO out of the Hearing Aid Business".
But they aren't that BRIGHT,.
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