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Pros and cons of buying heavy equipment online vs in-person

Pros and Cons of Buying Heavy Equipment Online vs in-Person

Posted by | 05-04-2021

Your business is as good as the tools you use to run it. Restaurants, in particular, need reliable and cost-effective kitchen equipment. But essentials like refrigerators, freezers, stoves and ovens don’t come cheap — they are an investment. And for a good investment to bear fruit, it has to produce as much, if not more, than it is worth.

Where to Buy Kitchen Equipment: Online or In-Person

How do you buy crucial equipment — and where do you get it? The sheer cost alone of acquiring kitchen equipment makes most people apprehensive of buying online since they don’t actually see what they are buying. It’s often recommended to see what you are spending a considerable amount on, and even testing the equipment to make sure it functions.

But is buying in-person, making the drive and arranging for transport still really king?

Today, buying equipment online is not only possible but much faster and easier. You can compare several products and their features simultaneously, and eliminate sub-par options. Plus, there are a lot of generous deals and discounts, along with fast and seamless delivery and installation options. Learn more about buying kitchen equipment safely and hassle-free online.

The Pros: The Case for Buying Commercial Kitchen Equipment Online

For most restaurant owners, it’s unthinkable to buy commercial freezers and other heavy equipment without seeing these in action. It’s often preferred to head to dealerships or even to invite a salesperson to your business to take measurements and hold product demos.

But as demand rises, online shopping is shaping up to be a convenient alternative that also provides an independent shopping experience and cuts out the constant sales pitches and product upselling. Check out these most compelling pros of shopping for commercial freezers and other heavy equipment online:

1. Reduced Prices

There is a common misconception that shopping online comes with a lot of extra fees, like shipping and delivery. But while these charges are standard, their overall cost can actually be just the same as the cost of going from one store to another, due to gas or disruptions to workflows and productivity.

What’s more, equipment sold online tends to carry lower price tags. This is because online retailers have much lower overhead costs. 

Dealerships and cash-and-carry stores tend to factor into their prices rent, utilities, maintenance of company cars and shipment fees on dealership trucks. In addition, some of them may even carry club fees — you need a membership first in order to shop. As a result, their commercial freezers often come at higher prices than those you find online.

2. Get the Right Product for You

Another way that salespeople benefit more from a sale is by making certain product recommendations. While comprehensive product information is a must-have for making a smart buy, it’s worth looking at who is making these recommendations, and what they are actually saying.

Generally, dealerships are incentivized to push you towards top-of-the-line equipment or those they have deals with manufacturers to keep marketing. They tend to recommend these products first, and most — even at the expense of a smarter buy.

On the other hand, when you shop independently online, you can compare multiple products, look at the product specifications up close and read countless reviews, both positive and negative. Based on these, you can get the commercial freezer you actually need, with the right specifications and within your budget — often, not the most expensive model in the market.

3. Get the Equipment You Need, When You Need It

Did your commercial freezer break down in the middle of the night? You don’t have to wait until stores open to get a replacement. 

Buying online provides you with the freedom to make purchases as needed, on your own schedule. Rather than wait for regular store hours and shuffle your schedule around just to visit a dealership — potentially missing out on crucial business hours — you can browse different models and place an order at your convenience.

4. Guaranteed In-Stock

A lot of people who still prefer in-store shopping say it’s because of instant gratification. But what if the commercial freezer you need is out of stock? A less-known fact about dealerships and cash-and-carry stores is the limited quantities they have on-site. It costs a lot to rent a store, and even more to maintain a large stock room.

In contrast, what online retailers save on overhead costs, they can put towards large warehouses that can house a lot more products. Your new equipment will be prepared for shipping and delivery as soon as you place an order. Plus, you can get the exact model and specifications you require, rather than the limited quantities in-store.

The Cons: The Case for Buying Commercial Kitchen Equipment In-Person 

Getting the best deals for a commercial freezer and other essential kitchen equipment comes down to knowing what you are buying. It’s important to do your research about different product options, compare prices and deals, and read customer reviews. Taking these steps will help you navigate the most common pitfalls of shopping for heavy equipment online and reduce the risk of a not-so-smart purchase:

1. Wrong Measurements

Commercial freezers and other kitchen essentials are heavy equipment. And because these items are large, they occupy a large space — a challenge in compact areas like restaurant kitchens. 

To make sure you have enough space for heavy equipment, dealerships typically send salespeople to take measurements and tailor recommendations based on the space you have available. Meanwhile, if you opt to buy online and fail to double- and triple-check the measurements, your new freezer could be too big to fit, or too small to handle all your storage needs.

2. What About Supplies?

In-person shopping is convenient for getting everything you need in a single trip. Aside from purchasing a commercial freezer, you can also pick up supplies, replacement parts and other kitchen essentials all in one convenient location. In contrast, some online retailers don’t have this option, so you will have to check different sites to complete your shopping.

3. Customer Service

How well do you know the equipment you’re buying? Stores work with salespeople trained in key product information about commercial freezers and other kitchen essentials. They can conduct product demos of different models and discuss all the information you need to make a smart buy. 

They’ll even walk you through warranties, parts replacement and other measures to extend the usable life of your equipment. Depending on the online retailer, you may not get this level of dedicated service which means you’ll have to do all the research on your own to ensure a smart buy.

Contact Ancaster Food Equipment

For more information about the best way to buy commercial freezers and kitchen appliances, and compare online and in-person shopping options, call Ancaster Food Equipment at 866-711-5486 or contact us here.

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