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Guitar Center finally files for bankruptcy
Old 25th November 2020 | Show parent
  #91
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by marcgood View Post
To be fair, he would be far more likely to get it buying online versus trying to buy in person at GC.
Well, yeah, if a GC store has a display model but no stock on hand what can you do? One thing you can do is order it right there and then, and pick it up at the store. No wondering if UPS is going to bounce it down your front steps before someone else steals it. In my very limited experience, shipping to a GC store is as fast if not faster than the current alternatives. And contrary to others' experiences here, my Covid-era in-store and pickup experiences have all been fine. But then again, the Sherman Oaks store tends to mostly hire pretty good folks.
Old 25th November 2020 | Show parent
  #92
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Well, yeah, if a GC store has a display model but no stock on hand what can you do? One thing you can do is order it right there and then, and pick it up at the store. No wondering if UPS is going to bounce it down your front steps before someone else steals it. In my very limited experience, shipping to a GC store is as fast if not faster than the current alternatives. And contrary to others' experiences here, my Covid-era in-store and pickup experiences have all been fine. But then again, the Sherman Oaks store tends to mostly hire pretty good folks.
LA is fortunate to have GOOD GC stores. But trust me, that is not a consistent virtue across the country. I've had good experiences in LA, and NOVA for example. But other places have been nightmares.

I think they are too big. They need to shrink to provide a better experience across the board.
Old 25th November 2020
  #93
Lives for gear
 
Rogue Ai's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
I bought a few stompboxes there in store. Wasn't any cheaper online for a new one.
Old 25th November 2020
  #94
Gear Addict
 
konputa's Avatar
 
Guitar Center is probably more a "victim" of vampire capitalism than anything. Bain capital bought them out in a LBO, saddled them with the debt and then sold them to Ares. This is so typical of private equity deals. They buy a company, run to the ground and default on the debt. Bain probably found a way to make 40% on their investment though.

<moderator message: bordering on politics - but I'll allow it for now>

Last edited by Reptil; 25th November 2020 at 07:46 PM.. Reason: -
Old 25th November 2020 | Show parent
  #95
Lives for gear
 
uOpt's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogue Ai View Post
If the GC in my area were to close I would have not have anywhere to demo any gear at all unless I buy it first...
But how often do they have interesting gear to demo?

Around Boston they shifted to not have any quality gear (other than the obvious) at all anymore. E.g. Music Man got kicked out right before the neck-through petrucchi - a guitar that I would have likely bought from them if it was convincing in person.
Old 25th November 2020 | Show parent
  #96
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by konputa View Post
Guitar Center is probably more a "victim" of vampire capitalism than anything. Bain capital bought them out in a LBO, saddled them with the debt and then sold them to Ares. This is so typical of private equity deals. They buy a company, run to the ground and default on the debt. Bain probably found a way to make 40% on their investment though.
I was thinking this is like Toys-R-Us 2.0.
Old 25th November 2020 | Show parent
  #97
eb7
Lives for gear
 
eb7's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by marcgood View Post
I was thinking this is like Toys-R-Us 2.0.
We're not quite there yet, but this is the analogy I would have made. That was a perfectly healthy company before acquisition, and then it was run into the ground. While there are plenty to reasons to find Guitar Center's business practices infuriating (like how two thirds of the used stuff I've ordered came without the power supply), none of that is enough to have them go belly up.
Old 25th November 2020 | Show parent
  #98
Gear Addict
 
konputa's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marcgood View Post
I was thinking this is like Toys-R-Us 2.0.
Yup. Add Sears and K-Mart to the list, all effected by similar buy out situations.
Old 25th November 2020 | Show parent
  #99
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by konputa View Post
Guitar Center is probably more a "victim" of vampire capitalism than anything. Bain capital bought them out in a LBO, saddled them with the debt and then sold them to Ares. This is so typical of private equity deals. They buy a company, run to the ground and default on the debt. Bain probably found a way to make 40% on their investment though.

<moderator message: bordering on politics - but I'll allow it for now>
Yeah, well, "vampire capitalism" has a little more bite to it if you know about the guy who coined it. Paul Kennedy's an economist, but he's more or less the Howard Zinn of economists.
Old 25th November 2020 | Show parent
  #100
Gear Addict
 
konputa's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by uOpt View Post
But how often do they have interesting gear to demo?

Around Boston they shifted to not have any quality gear (other than the obvious) at all anymore. E.g. Music Man got kicked out right before the neck-through petrucchi - a guitar that I would have likely bought from them if it was convincing in person.
Southern CA stores used to be pretty great on demo gear. Some of the stores in FL were pretty good until the early 2000s.
Old 26th November 2020 | Show parent
  #101
Lives for gear
 
kwaping's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwaping View Post
I've never had anything but good experiences with them. I guess I'm just lucky. I'm glad they're not actually closing their doors.
Ironically, I went to a local GC this evening to pick up my new synth and my car got broken into while in the parking lot. (Obviously this is not GC's fault but still funny.)

Also, my teenage son went with me and walked out with a new guitar, unplanned. We got a nice discount just for asking. Thanks again GC!
Old 26th November 2020
  #102
Gear Guru
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
I have not been to a GC store for over two years. When they first opened they had knowledgeable sales people and good prices. Then BAIN bought them out and they went from pretty good to BAD. I used to have a really good salesman at the local GC. He did not know anything about pro-audio but was always ready to give me a good deal on equipment. They started having less and and less pro audio equipment and more and more low end equipment. They also had a habit of bait and switch when it came to equipment. I was interested in a microphone that they did not have in stock so they sent me one from Musician's Friend. It was suppose to be "new" but when it arrived the plastic wrap had been torn open and the microphone had fingerprints all over it and look very "used". I took it back to the local GC and they gave me my money back. My salesman was very good but he left and I got one of their new "sales associates" who never listened to what I was saying and tried to sell me a "look alike" SM-58 for $49.00. I told him I was not interested but he kept trying to sell me the microphone. I finally walked out and decided that I had better things to do than go to GC. I am sorry they are in Chapter 11 but honestly I don't care. I don't use them anymore and if I need something I can order it from Amazon or Sweetwater and I know it will be in good new condition. FWIW
Old 26th November 2020 | Show parent
  #103
Gear Guru
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by konputa View Post
Guitar Center is probably more a "victim" of vampire capitalism than anything. Bain capital bought them out in a LBO, saddled them with the debt and then sold them to Ares. This is so typical of private equity deals. They buy a company, run to the ground and default on the debt. Bain probably found a way to make 40% on their investment though.
Your cynicism (realism) pleases me.
Old 27th November 2020 | Show parent
  #104
Lives for gear
 
StarfishMusic's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Well, yeah, if a GC store has a display model but no stock on hand what can you do? One thing you can do is order it right there and then, and pick it up at the store.

First off, Happy Thanksgiving!

I'll tell you what they can do. I worked at 3 Guitar Centers 1995-2003 or so. What they should do is what I always did to make the customer happy instead of dissapointed. Sell them the floor model at a small discount with the arrangement to order a brand new one and swap the floor model back for the new one when it arrives.

This way everybody's happy. Customer gets their item right away but still gets a new one and get's a discount for their trouble. My sale is guaranteed, because they wont leave and get it somewhere else. Store loses $50-$75 but turns customer unhappiness into the feeling that we care about them. Good chance the store would have lost the sale anyway. It's such an easy thought, but then again I started my own studio support business after leaving with the sales skills I learned from working at the stores.

Why did I leave? 2 reasons, pay is one. I made ok money, about $30,000 in 1997. I still made more on my own freelancing and supporting studios for alot of years. The other reason, the bigger one, is the dumb thinking of corporate rules vs what it really takes to get sales. This is the real reason all good salespeople eventually leave Guitar Center. I'm not bragging, it's just reference, but I was in top ten in dept. sales out of 130 or so stores at the time. I will tell you exactly what it takes to get and retain customers at Guitar Center and why they don't retain you as a customer. Below is long but will probably give you some interesting Guitar Center and salesperson insight.

-

The number one rule of sales at Guitar Center is establishing one particular feeling in your customer. It's super simple. It's "I have a friend at Guitar Center" I didn't do it by giving discounts, in fact I almost never did. I did it by giving my time, caring, effort, and knowledge to customers combined with just getting them to let their guard down and be comfortable. People are usually on defense from salespeople. It would start by when I walked up to someone and asked "How it's going?" with a big smile on my face. They'd almost always say "just looking" Then I'd size them up and make some kind of joke like, make a real serious face or maybe a hurt face and say "that's not what I asked" wait for them to look at me with wonder and just laugh real big. They would usually laugh too at the stupid ice that was just broken and we'd get to talking. That or I'd leave them alone if at "just looking" they seemed a sourpuss. "Ok, I'll be around!" with a smile. They usually did find me after that. I also wore crazy rock star clothes like chrome mirrorball shirts, crushed velvet suits, and combat boots. I did it because I could, but also it lowers peoples guard and they sure recognize you again when they come back. How can you be a **** to someone who clearly wants to be on stage, just like you!

I would get them talking any way I could, often not even about gear. If they didn't volunteer I'd ask them about their needs, ask about their current setup, what equipment they had and how they felt about specific pieces. Ask about their music, ask to hear it. I'd go over the differences in the products they were looking at and either know the answers or find out. There's a technique I still use to this day. I call it "I give of myself first" It just means if you put effort into people first they will usually return the favor. I'd spend so much free consultation effort and friendliness (without being overbearing) on them they would either buy a big item or small ones or at least be back. The key is the reading the customer part. I was a waiter before this, and you learn how to work your way in with people, and when to be dialed back. You learn how to evoke a good feeling without interactions having to be all about yourself.

After that first time, whether they'd bought anything from me or not, I'd make sure to acknowledge them when I saw them. I'd exclaim "Heeeey" in a goofy enthusiastic voice even if I was with someone else. When they did talk to me again I'd try and remember things from our previous conversation, just show I cared, but here's the thing. I actually did care. I loved my job, I loved working with musicians. I loved helping people. I loved the gear. I love music. The customers can all tell. Back in the day I used to sometimes have my customers come outside with me while I smoked, and we'd talk about all kind of things (you'd never do that now, it was a different time) Instant friend status. I never hard closed anybody (been pushy about a sale) and never made an interaction all about a sale. I thought long term and it paid off. I remember often in the mornings the store would be completely dead, and I'd have a line 5 deep of people waiting to talk to me while other salespeople would be walking around staring at their shoes. Sometimes, the other salespeople would complain that all the customers wanted to buy from me over and over. I never aggressively "stole customers" You don't own people anyway. People wanted to be my years long repeat customer, and if they didn't it's cool, i did my best. It's not all about me like I said.

Ok so why did I really leave? Partly it's because I did some freelance studio engineering and studio setup/teaching on the side and got a taste of more money and no boss. I loved working at the store but the pay even at high sales amounts I felt didnt equal what I was worth. Alot of that was from Guitar Center stopping me from selling even more. The managers loved that I sold so well but had to symbolically give me a hard time. I spent all my time with customers all day instead of cleaning the store. I was too busy selling stuff to print signs to put on gear. I barely did any merchandising. I didn't do the "Cardfile" Ah ha!

What's a Guitar Center cardfile? A cardfile is a personal customer database where you enter in customer info like their phone number but also what equipment they are interested in and it schedules follow up calls. You are supposed to make these follow up calls even when the customer doesn't buy anything from you and you're supposed to call them periodically as it schedules the calls. It's mostly a way to force the salespeople into calling customers and you are supposed to come up with an excuse as to why you are calling. Tell them about some sale, ask them if they bought what they were looking at.

The big deal about the cardfile is something called an "Up" like an "Up at bat" It's really a sales lead. It means you make a new "card" that you type in and you're supposed to take 5 new ups a day. I think it's actually customer harrassment unless you really have a reason to call, like a just prior big sale. You are also supposed to manage this cardfile checking off that you made all the phone calls. Here's the thing, when you make a sale it also generates a card. I'd have this tremendous backlog of un-checked off scheduled calls and cards to manage. Part of the problem with the "ups thing" is that an up is a FAILED SALE. I almost alwaaays sold a customer at least something. You make friends with someone in the store, their guard goes down, they enjoyed talking to you they'll get at least something. A cable, a stand, the big item etc.

They never promoted me to any kind of management position. They said it was because I wasn't a good example and also wouldn't be a good leader. Even though I almost always was #1 or #2 in our store sales every month they would cite that I didn't do my cardfile, I didn't hardly clean, I didn't make signs, I didn't merchandise and other salespeople would sometimes complain about me. At the end of alot of nights I'd have customers with me still till 30 minutes- an hour past closing while every other salesperson is cleaning the store. The reason why I'm still there with that customer is I'm making a $10-30k sale. Dude, I'm F'n busy! I'm doing something right obviously. That's what Guitar Center didn't like about me. I was doing it my way, the way I found that worked for myself. I didn't play the game. They should have hired merchandisers/store cleaners and let the salespeople do what their job is, TO SELL. I was a rebel proving them wrong by paying too much attention to customers and they didn't like it. Middle management would scold me constantly while I was with customers to stop talking to them and clean.

I found out also that secretly they never made me a manager because I was selling too much. If they started moving me up they feared I would sell less. My friend who was the general manager at the last store I worked at admitted he never made me a dept manager like he promised because he thought he was doing me a favor not promoting me. He said those middle managers are never happy. They still make their money mostly from commission and they end up selling less and have alot more stress. In the store imagine how you'd feel doubling and tripling the sales numbers or your dept. manager while he's making his money the same way. Imagine how they treat you, imagine the sh*t they talk about you. The answer is NO manager should be responsible for making sales. They should make their commission from the whole department sales without having to make direct sales. That's how it was when I started at my first Guitar Center in 1995. Our dept manager helped us. He got customers started for the less inexperienced sales people. He knew the most about the gear, he was support.

Guitar Center changed though when they became publicly owned which was early on in my employment there. They were just not in touch with the ground level at all. Instead of giving salespeople **** for spending time with customers, encourage it. Use it as an example. Instead of taking a guy outselling everyone and keeping him sales, let him train the others how to do it and then support them! Don't keep at the lower positions when they have talent on the short sightedness of their immediate sales. Pay people competitively to what they can make on the outside. Hire some damn people to maintain the store.

The truth is NO online store should be able to compete with Guitar Center. Being able to go and pick up or at least demo and item yourself beats having it sent to you from online. (until this coronavirus thing) Having a real knowledgable salesperson who cares and has established a relationship with you beats a faceless online store phone call. Having a salesperson put an hour into you when you are buying a $1000+ item to make sure you are really buying whats right for you and that you get all the help need face to face destroys what online can do. It doesn't matter if the item is $50 cheaper, customers can clearly see that hour of time and dependable help is worth 50 bucks!

After awhile Guitar Center tried to compete solely upon price and dropped the service aspect. They eliminated commission but that would be fine if they paid high enough. It became an employee mill from the way employees were treated. After the huge rise of online MI retail, what they needed to do was ask themself what advantages they did have. It was never going to stay price. The advantages always were the real brick and mortar place they could deliver a sense of community from. The big advantage though is people. The real people, musicians just like the customers, are there to treat people like people. Unfortunately the fish rots from the head down. Treat the employees well and they will treat the customers well. Don't treat the customers well and you lose. Guitar Center doesn't seem to be a place of pride any longer that customers like. If GC loses they deserve it. You can say they are over leveraged, that's just them playing the blame game. From a GC vet, they rested on their laurels and overwhelming customer opinion is that they've sucked for a long time. I agree.

I'm not saying btw I was the only good salesperson, they were others in my stores too. I learned alot of my techniques from them. I'm sure they are using those techniques somehwhere else. It really all comes down to GC didn't understand it's real assets the people who worked there and the customers that entered there. If you live in the U.S. and are a musician you have most like been in one of those two groups.

-

I hope you enjoyed this read. It was longer than I expected. I enjoyed working at GC, made many friends, both employees and customers and over the years I became ashamed of what it became. For everyone to have so much hate for them, I understand. As a customer they ****d me over pretty hard recently too but that's a story for another day. Thank you all for being a re-placement community for Guitar Center to me over the years!

Last edited by StarfishMusic; 27th November 2020 at 09:43 PM..
Old 27th November 2020 | Show parent
  #105
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Great read!

My summary:

- you get what you give
- be honest and real, show you care
- be knowledgeable and share your knowledge

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarfishMusic View Post
First off, Happy Thanksgiving!

I'll tell you what they can do. I worked at 3 Guitar Centers 1995-2003 or so. What they should do is what I always did to make the customer happy instead of dissapointed. Sell them the floor model at a small discount with the arrangement to order a brand new one and swap the floor model back for the new one when it arrives.

This way everybody's happy. Customer gets their item right away but still gets a new one and get's a discount for their trouble. My sale is guaranteed, because they wont leave and get it somewhere else. Store loses $50-$75 but turns customer unhappiness into the feeling that we care about them. Good chance the store would have lost the sale anyway. It's such an easy thought, but then again I started my own studio support business after leaving with the sales skills I learned from working at the stores.

Why did I leave? 2 reasons, pay is one. I made ok money, about $30,000 in 1997. I still made more on my own freelancing and supporting studios for alot of years. The other reason, the bigger one, is the dumb thinking of corporate rules vs what it really takes to get sales. This is the real reason all good salespeople eventually leave Guitar Center. I'm not bragging, it's just reference, but I was in top ten in dept. sales out of 130 or so stores at the time. I will tell you exactly what it takes to get and retain customers at Guitar Center and why they don't retain you as a customer. Below is long but will probably give you some interesting Guitar Center and salesperson insight.

-

The number one rule of sales at Guitar Center is establishing one particular feeling in your customer. It's super simple. It's "I have a friend at Guitar Center" I didn't do it by giving discounts, in fact I almost never did. I did it by giving my time, caring, effort, and knowledge to customers combined with just getting them to let their guard down and be comfortable. People are usually on defense from salespeople. It would start by when I walked up to someone and asked "How it's going?" with a big smile on my face. They'd almost always say "just looking" Then I'd size them up and make some kind of joke like, make a real serious face or maybe a hurt face and say "that's not what I asked" wait for them to look at me with wonder and just laugh real big. They would usually laugh too at the stupid ice that was just broken and we'd get to talking. That or I'd leave them alone if at "just looking" if they seemed a sourpuss. "Ok, I'll be around!" with a smile. They usually did find me after that. I also wore crazy rock star clothes like chrome mirrorball shirts, crushed velvet suits, and combat boots. I did it because I could, but also it lowers peoples guard and they sure recognize you again when they come back. How can you be a **** to someone who clearly wants to be on stage, just like you!

I would get them talking any way I could, often not even about gear. If they didn't volunteer I'd ask them about their needs, ask about their current setup, what equipment they had and how they felt about specific pieces. Ask about their music, ask to hear it. I'd go over the differences in the products they were looking at and either know the answers or find out. There's a technique I still use to this day. "I call it, I give of myself first" It just means if you put effort into people first they will usually return the favor. I'd spend so much free consultation effort and friendliness (without being overbearing) on them they would either buy a big item or small ones or at least be back. The key is the reading the customer part. I was a waiter before this, and you learn how to work your way in with people, and when to be dialed back. You learn how to evoke a good feeling without interactions having to be all about yourself.

After that first time, whether they'd bought anything from me or not, I'd make sure to acknowledge them when I saw them. I'd exclaim "Heeeey" in a goofy enthusiastic voice even if I was with someone else. When they did talk to me again I'd try and remember things from our previous conversation, just show I cared, but here's the thing. I actually did care. I loved my job, I loved working with musicians. I loved helping people. I loved the gear. I love music. The customers can all tell. Back in the day I used to sometimes have my customers come outside with me while I smoked, and we'd talk about all kind of things (you'd never do that now, it was a different time) Instant friend status. I never hard closed anybody (been pushy about a sale) and never made an interaction all about a sale. I thought long term and it paid off. I remember often in the mornings the store would be completely dead, and I'd have a line 5 deep of people waiting to talk to me while other salespeople would be walking around staring at their shoes. Sometimes, the other salespeople would complain that all the customers wanted to buy from me over and over. I never aggressively "stole customers" You don't own people anyway. People wanted to be my years long repeat customer, and if they didn't it's cool, i did my best. It's not all about me like I said.

Ok so why did I really leave? Partly it's because I did some freelance studio engineering and studio setup/teaching on the side and got a taste of more money and no boss. I loved working at the store but the pay even at high sales amounts I felt didnt equal what I was worth. Alot of that was from Guitar Center stopping me from selling even more. The managers loved that I sold so well but had to symbolically give me a hard time. I spent all my time with customers all day instead of cleaning the store. I was too busy selling stuff to print signs to put on gear. I barely did any merchandising. I didn't do the "Cardfile" Ah ha!

What's a Guitar Center cardfile? A cardfile is a personal customer database where you enter in customer info like their phone number but also what equipment they are interested in and it schedules follow up calls. You are supposed to make these follow up calls even when the customer doesn't buy anything from you and you are supposed to call customers periodically as it schedules the calls. It's mostly a way to force the salespeople into calling customers and you are supposed to come up with an excuse as to why you are calling them. Tell them about some sale, ask them if they bought what they were looking at.

The big deal about the cardfile is something called an "Up" like an "Up at bat" It's really a sales lead. It means you make a new "card" that you type in and you're supposed to take 5 new ups a day. I think it's actually customer harrassment unless you really have a reason to call, like a just prior big sale. You are also supposed to manage this cardfile checking off that you made all the phone calls. Here's the thing, when you make a sale it also generates a card. I'd have this tremendous backlog of un-checked off scheduled calls and cards to manage. Part of the problem with the "ups thing" is that an up is a FAILED SALE. I almost alwaaays sold a customer at least something. You make friends with someone in the store, their guard goes down, they enjoyed talking to you they'll get at least something. A cable, a stand, the big item etc.

They never promoted me to any kind of management position. They said it was because I wasn't a good example and also wouldn't be a good leader. Even though I almost always was #1 or #2 in our store sales every month they would cite that I didn't do my cardfile, I didn't hardly clean, I didn't make signs, I didn't merchandise and other salespeople would sometimes complain about me. At the end of alot of nights I'd have customers with me still till 30 minutes- an hour past closing while every other salesperson is cleaning the store. The reason why I'm still there with that customer is I'm making a $10-30k sale. Dude, I'm F'n busy! I'm doing something right obviously. That's what Guitar Center didn't like about me. I was doing it my way, the way I found that worked for myself. I didn't play the game. They should have hired merchandisers/store cleaners and let the salespeople do what their job is, TO SELL. I was a rebel proving them wrong by paying too much attention to customers and they didn't like it. Middle management would scold me constantly while I was with customers to stop talking to them and clean.

I found out also that secretly they never made me a manager because I was selling too much. If they started moving me up they feared I would sell less. My friend who was the general manager at the last store I worked at admitted he never made me a dept manager like he promised because he thought he was doing me a favor not promoting me. He said those middle managers are never happy. They still make their money mostly from commission and they end up selling less and have alot more stress. In the store imagine how you'd feel doubling and tripling the sales numbers or your dept. manager while he's making his money the same way. Imagine how they treat you, imagine the sh*t they talk about you. The answer is NO manager should be responsible for making sales. They should make their commission from the whole department sales without having to make direct sales. That's how it was when I started at my first Guitar Center in 1995. Our dept manager helped us. He got customers started for the less inexperienced sales people. He knew the most about the gear, he was support.

Guitar Center changed though when they became publicly owned which was early on in my employment there. They were just not in touch with the ground level at all. Instead of giving salespeople **** for spending time with customers, encourage it. Use it as an example. Instead of taking a guy outselling everyone and keeping him sales, let him train the others how to do it and then support them! Don't keep at the lower positions when they have talent on the short sightedness of their immediate sales. Pay people competitively to what they can make on the outside. Hire some damn people to maintain the store.

The truth is NO online store should be able to compete with Guitar Center. Being able to go and pick up or at least demo and item yourself beats having it sent to you from online. (until this coronavirus thing) Having a real knowledgable salesperson who cares and has established a relationship with you beats a faceless online store phone call. Having a salesperson put an hour into you when you are buying a $1000+ item to make sure you are really buying whats right for you and that you get all the help need face to face destroys what online can do. It doesn't matter if the item is $50 cheaper, customers can clearly see that hour of time and dependable help is worth 50 bucks!

After awhile Guitar Center tried to compete solely upon price and dropped the service aspect. They eliminated commission but that would be fine if they paid high enough. It became an employee mill from the way employees were treated. After the huge rise of online MI retail, what they needed to do was ask themself what advantages they did have. It was never going to stay price. The advantages always were the real brick and mortar place they could deliver a sense of community from. The big advantage though is people. The real people, musicians just like the customers, are there to treat people like people. Unfortunately the fish rots from the head down. Treat the employees well and they will treat the customers well. Don't treat the customers well and you lose. Guitar Center doesn't seem to be a place of pride any longer that customers like. If GC loses they deserve it. You can say they are over leveraged, that's just them playing the blame game. From a GC vet, they rested on their laurels and overwhelming customer opinion is that they've sucked for a long time. I agree.

I'm not saying btw I was the only good salesperson, they were others in my stores too. I learned alot of my techniques from them. I'm sure they are using those techniques somehwhere else. It really all comes down to GC didn't understand it's real assets the people who worked there and the customers that entered there. If you live in the U.S. and are a musician you have most like been in one of those two groups.

-

I hope you enjoyed this read. It was longer than I expected. I enjoyed working at GC, made many friends, both employees and customers and over the years I became ashamed of what it became. For everyone to have so much hate for them, I understand. As a customer they ****d me over pretty hard recently too but that's a story for another day. Thank you all for being a re-placement community for Guitar Center to me over the years!
Old 27th November 2020 | Show parent
  #106
Gear Maniac
 
Disharmonic's Avatar
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StarfishMusic View Post
(...) I hope you enjoyed this read. It was longer than I expected. (...)
Yes, great read. Thanks for sharing.
Old 27th November 2020 | Show parent
  #107
Lives for gear
 
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by olafmol View Post
Great read!

My summary:

- you get what you give
- be honest and real, show you care
- be knowledgeable and share your knowledge
Quote:
Originally Posted by Disharmonic View Post
Yes, great read. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you, I just wish I was able to get it up before the thread got moved to the moan zone. People have such a negative opinion of Guitar Center now, and it's deserved, it just didn't always used to be that way. That's how they got so big of course. It just saddens me that I always knew exactly what Guitar Center had to do to compete. We had some online competition but it wasnt even close to being actual competition. They couldn't compete with the fact we had the items right there and a real person who you could get to know and talk to.

Even if Guitar Center would get less stock, I'm telling you by a few years in I could have had a shed that said Guitar Center on it with nothing but me in to talk to taking special orders. All it ever would haver took is having the sales force strong and treating customers well. I mean what's the difference between that and Sweetwater. Just that face to face knowledgable conversation alone would beat sweetwater that doesnt even have that. Sweetwater's service is good but it's still just that and the fact remains if you don't like a piece of gear and want to return it, its' a PITA. You have to wait a long time to have it get back to them and get a new piece of gear. Guitar Center for a lot of years still had plenty of stock. You could always do the floor model technique I described earlier.

Thank you for reading that article, encyclopedia whatever ya want to call it. It's been a long time of frustration watching Guitar Center go down the tubes. There's plenty of retail stores doing fine like Best Buy and even if Guitar Center had to transition to a mostly web company, the name recognition, and if they had a good sales staff they could have done it. Musician's Friend which they own, is seriously terrible.

Oh yeah, I always thought the name "Guitar Center" was bad. Even back when I worked there pro audio and keyboards far outsold guitar stuff. Music changed, it's just not mostly guitar rock bands like it used to be. Music Center or something like it is all it would have took. Make a big deal about the name change and drive the point home about not just having guitars. I didnt even know they did for a year after it opened and my friend got a job there.
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