Manufacturers must ‘get a grip’ of online pricing, says CP Hart

Brands must accept some ‘responsibility’ for online product pricing discrepancies, according to CP Hart group sales director Paul Rowland, but their hands are tied due to the legal right of retailers to sell at whatever price they like.

In an exclusive interview on the latest episode of The kbbreview Podcast, Rowland said: “The manufacturers have a responsibility, but they also legally can’t get involved with price-fixing. If they choose to sell to someone who will put something on a website for a ridiculous price, then that is their decision to sell to them in the first place. They have no control over what price they put out into the marketplace.”

Rowland acknowledged that CP Hart, which has 15 showrooms around the South East and one in Manchester, is in a strong position to not be too concerned by consumers comparing prices online.

“We have a lot of exclusive own-brand products that we sell,” he said. “But I do feel for other retailers who [aren’t in that position] that have to go along and fight every inch of the way for every single SKU on a quote. The manufacturers have to take control of it and it might be they are getting to grips with it but from a legal standpoint they cannot control the pricing.

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“When we are doing a full quotation, and a client comes back with ‘I can buy this on the internet for that amount’ we have hopefully done our work at the beginning that assures that the client has been invested in CP Hart and the knowledge of our experts.”

Rowland believes that those interested in the luxury market would not purchase a full bathroom online. “Web sales are a distress purchase, and particularly at the higher end of the market, you need to touch, feel and see products and understand design, longevity, and quality.”

The website arm of CP Hart is only around 2% of the £45 million turnover business, with replacement toilet seats being the main product sold.

You can hear the full episode of The kbbreview Podcast using the player below or by clicking on this link.

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