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A bit about Hattons - Model Railway On-Line Shopping. - Other Areas. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Fri Oct 14th, 2011 09:24 pm
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Sol
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http://www.liverpooldailypost.co.uk/ldpbusiness/business-features/2011/09/28/model-train-steam-steams-past-8m-barrier-92534-29497490/

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 Posted: Fri Oct 14th, 2011 10:52 pm
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gdaysydney
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My wife's family came from Liverpool  and I made the mistake of showing her the article - needless to say she hijacked the computer and started reading other articles  :lol:






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 Posted: Sat Oct 15th, 2011 03:16 am
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John Flann
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Interesting Ron, I knew of Hatton's in the 1950's when working in Liverpool and became a customer early 1960's when living in Preston; so that's 50 years or so.

I've always had value for money. And good service. Recently I ordered Saturday-delivered Tuesday.

And my wife comes from Liverpool too.



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 Posted: Sat Oct 15th, 2011 10:32 am
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Petermac
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And good luck to them. :thumbs

It's absolutely stunning how fast a business can grow with the world wide marketplace offered by tyhe internet.  They must have  had a model railway enthusiast as a bank manager back in the early 90's ...................

My experience of them is that they're efficient, reliable and normally, cheap.  I suppose there is something to be said for size afterall.  Selling the product they do, if you "stack 'em high and sell 'em cheap", you've got a good business model for today's market.

If I know what I want then I normally buy from the cheapest supplier. (I can't visit a shop so it's always online shopping and provided of course, that they offer a reasonable service as well).



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 Posted: Sat Oct 15th, 2011 11:19 am
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Being a Liverpool lad born and bred myself Hattons has always been my "Local" model shop.
I have been served by Christine on a number of occasions and she always does her best to make sure
you leave the shop happy.
The big plus since the refit is there are no boxes piled high in the shop anymore and all models are in
specially lit display cases...



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 Posted: Sat Oct 15th, 2011 12:28 pm
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Sol
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I found out today that one shop in Australia has ceased being a member of a local association and advertising in their in-house magazine as the members are not purchasing from the shop but from mainly Hattons. I can understand why this Internet shopping is a boon for us Aussies because of the big price differential between us purchasing direct from Hattons, etc as we pay no VAT & here in Aust, there is an importer between manufacturer & retailer plus add local VAT ( GST). In many cases. Aust price is nearly double for what we can purchase from the UK & thanks Hattons, etc for those savings.

 

Edit by Sol for spelling.

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 Posted: Sun Oct 16th, 2011 12:49 am
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Gwiwer
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The debate about retail pricing in Australia (specifically with reference to model rail items) comes up regularly in the various fora and is currently under way again on Railpage Australia. The local retailers are basically over a barrel and cannot buy stuff as cheaply as it can be sold from the UK. In order to make any profit they are forced to charge what are generally considered to be very high prices.

Hattons, and other businesses, may charge as they see fit and over many years Hattons has made a world-wide name for themselves as a bargain-price shifter of boxes in huge quantities. As such they can offer discounts based on these large volumes in the same way that Tesco can beat the local corner shop for price every time. We don't have control over tax laws as individuals but we in Australia can certainly benefit hugely from shopping online with such stores.

Put simply a typical UK-theme locomotive listed by a manufacturer as RRP £115 might be offered by Hattons for £100 and with no need to pay VAT it can be sold to a non-EU customer for something like £81 (I know logic says £80 but that's not quite how it works). On the shelves here it would sell for around $275 which factors in import duties, dealer fees and shop profit margins and also the fact that unlike Hattons only very tiny numbers of the item might sell locally. That would be around £180 :shock: and illustrates perfectly why we don't buy such things locally.

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 Posted: Sun Oct 16th, 2011 05:32 am
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In the UK it does not seem to make a lot of sense that I can buy many of the Chinese and Japanese products direct from China or Japan even including shipment charges  for much less than from a so called large UK importer  where I only have to pay Uk postage but that is now frequently the case.

Its also noticeable that importing small amounts of stuff from the USA to UK seems to becoming both easier  and cheaper  than it has been which is a very welcome development as far as I am concerned.



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 Posted: Sun Oct 16th, 2011 07:42 am
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Petermac
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A lot of the price differential is down to overheads.

Hattons say that over 80% of their turnover is online.  That leaves 20% for "over the counter".  If that 20% had to carry all the wages, electricity, rent and rates etc. etc. then you'd see a huge increase in prices.  The overheads for an online business are just the computer and packing costs.  Naturally, they still have to buy the stock but so does everyone else.  I doubt anyone in UK would get higher quantity discounts than Hattons so they do have an edge.

I'm afraid I don't hold with this "it's not fair" cry by small retailers (I'm only talking about non-perishable goods here).  Everyone, and I mean everyone,  should sell online.  That's how shopping is done nowadays and to rely on just your shop for turnover is like opening a retail unit in the middle of an airfield !!!

Once the councils realise this fact and pitch their business rates accordingly, there might be less charity shops and "To Let" notices cluttering our high streets.

Of course there are national import taxes to bear in mind which is why Richard can buy direct from the Far East and the States cheaper than he can from UK suppliers.  That's probably also why Australian retailers can't offer competitive prices on models imported from the UK.



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 Posted: Sun Oct 16th, 2011 07:55 am
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As someone who does quite a bit of shopping on line, I find there are some exceptions.  I like to go into stores to buy electronic goods and things like cameras, for example.

It really annoys the retailers here when shoppers go into their stores and get customer advice about products - AND THEN buy them online.

My kids buy their groceries on line now.  I couldn't have imagined doing that, but I'm warming to the idea.



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 Posted: Sun Oct 16th, 2011 08:32 am
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Gwiwer
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I generally prefer to see what it is I am considering purchasing first. And I mean see it not just view online images. Whether it be a shirt, a cauliflower or a model train.

However with the generally high level of manufacturing quality and consistency of build it is usually possible to take on trust the model railway items and buy confidently online.

There are exceptions. Some items (often small scenic pieces) which I cannot see to my satisfaction from online images may be found in local shops and in that case as I am there if I am satisfied I may well buy them there and then.

We have once or twice ventured into online grocery shopping to test the service more than anything. It was satisfactory but there is still no way to choose which cauliflower you get from all those available. And I don't buy clothes online because I need to try them on first. If they don't fit it can be a real PITA to return them and try to get a refund or replacement.

I have always found Hattons online service to be good. They are a box shifter and with that in mind I have to say on the occasions when it has been necessary to communicate directly (by email in my case) their response has not always been swift, nor customer-friendly, nor understanding. But I have always got the result I was seeking eventually and without additional costs.

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 Posted: Sun Oct 16th, 2011 11:02 am
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Petermac
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MaxSouthOz wrote: ...............................................................................

It really annoys the retailers here when shoppers go into their stores and get customer advice about products - AND THEN buy them online.

................................................................

Couldn't agree more Max and that's something I'd never ever do !!

If I've taken up the retailers time and used his expertise, then it's only fair that I buy from him if I'm going to buy at all.

I meant "knowing" exactly what you want and then buying that product from the cheapest source - not something "like" it, the exact product.



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 Posted: Sun Oct 16th, 2011 02:33 pm
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gordons19
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Glad to hear Hattons are doing so well....:thumbs

They certainly deserve it on service alone.

Just as an aside on the maths and as you rightly say Sol, these calaculations often confuse people.  If VAT is 20% and something is £100 inc VAT, the net cost is £100 / 1.2 = £83.33.

To get back to the £100, £83.33 + VAT = £83.33 x 1.2 = £100.

If I had a pound for every time I had to explain the difference between gross margin and mark up in my working life, I'd be a very rich man....:cheers

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 Posted: Mon Oct 17th, 2011 06:08 am
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Wheeltapper
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We now do all our shopping , including food , on line . It was, to start with ,a case of needs must but as we have got used to the system we have found it very useful and a considerable saving in time and money. We still use the local corner convenience store for last minute purchases but I find the free delivery service that my supermarket provides saves me hours of time and the hassle  of parking for the weekly main shop.

The internet gives me a much bigger range of products than our small town shopping centre .I could always go to the mega retail park at Merry Hill  but its not known to the locals as MERRY HELL for nothing and I would prefer to avoid that place like the plague rather than share the retail experience with 20000 other shoppers. I just dont understand people like my cousin who loves going to these mammoth retail sites for a day out - very sad in my view.

On the model railway front the internet  often lets me go to the manufacturers direct for orders and pricing is always competetive. I use Hattons , Kernow , Modellers Mecca from the big boys   quite often but also use small companies in Australia , USA and Japan . as well as UK There are probably half a dozen ebay shops that I use for particular items.

I still try to get to the local model shops on a "Use it or Lose It" basis but most do not have the range of goods that I will want  and although I can order through them there is usually a long delay from ordering to delivery  (on average 3 or 4 weeks) as the retailer often only orders from their supplier once a month whereas if I go on the net its often here next day.

My one gripe about the internet and model railway shopping is the minimum shipping costs charged by most of the big boys and box shifters. Whereas a charge of £4 for postage on a £75 order may be thought reasonable when the order may only be for one small item perhaps less than a couple of quid in value that same £4 minimum shipping charge becomes excessive.

Like it or hate it Net Shopping is here to stay.



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 Posted: Mon Oct 17th, 2011 11:41 am
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chrish
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I've given up thinking about postal charges. The nearest model shop is nearly 50 miles away so at 40mpg and the price of diesel it's no more expensive to have a even small order from Kernow or Hattons. Added to that the wife has to take me as I no longer drive and it keeps the postie or parcels man in a job.

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 Posted: Wed Oct 19th, 2011 11:17 am
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Mike
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In praise of Hattons service, goods ordered 11.00 Tuesday received 08.30 Wednesday. Excellent.
Mike

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 Posted: Wed Oct 19th, 2011 11:59 am
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Sol
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Mike, we have had problems Down Under getting goods from Hattons especially if using the City Link method of postage - takes ages, like weeks & weeks but then Royal Mail was slow in early August coming here. I have two parcels posted early August & they are still not here & Hattons are blaming Royal Mail.

Normally about 1.5 weeks but when I first started in the UK scene and got bits & pieces from Mainly Trains, ordered Monday morning first thing here & they arrived Friday morning.

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 Posted: Wed Oct 19th, 2011 12:10 pm
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Gwiwer
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I have to agree with Sol here on the problems with City Link.

Hattons offers a choice of carrier for international shipping with City Link air priority usually being the cheapest, followed by Royal Mail surface then Royal Mail air often with no more than £1 difference in cost.

City Link offer contract prices but "priority" does not mean you get things quicker. Far from it. They bulk-buy container space and ship when they have a full container via routes which might seem very odd.

Two packages have so far arrived here in Swiss Post mailbags. Quite small packages mind you and in a full-size mail bag! The transit time is anything from 3 - 6 weeks and was 3 months at one stage.

I select Royal Mail air for any new orders now. The transit time is around 10 days.

Hattons despatch the goods within hours of taking the order. The rest is not within their control but is partially within the control of their customers when they select their preferred shipping method and cost.

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 Posted: Wed Oct 19th, 2011 12:42 pm
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I had a problem once when they had a huge backlog of Christmas stuff - don't know why but they concentrated on that for UK delivery and my "overseas" stuff took almost a month - missing a birthday in the process.

They did apologise but it still missed the birthday.

That's the only time I've ever had problems with them. 

I assume they all use the same sort of services for delivery but I've found it is usually no more than a day or so longer than a letter from UK.  A shop in Cornwall has similar delivery times as do most of the others I deal with.

To Europe (or to France at least), I can't fault Royal Mail - often quicker than within the UK itself !!!

Whilst I do grumble at the "standard" charges, it's much cheaper than going to a shop myself - even if there was one !!!!



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 Posted: Wed Oct 19th, 2011 02:24 pm
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One earlier City Link delivery took over two months, but my last recently only two weeks-I was surprised, perhaps I was just lucky.

With DHL, however it's very quick and a matter of days. It's more expensive but worth it.

Hatton's offers the opportunity, and you pay your money and take your choice. In other words you get what you pay for.



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