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Reverb Customer Data Confirms Conventional Industry Wisdom

...on the Reverb.com site, who are on track to buy close to $300 million worth of gear this year, represent a sizable slice of the total m.i. market. And the details of their thousands of transactions, as captured on the Reverb server, offers some interesting insight. Most significantly, the volume of transactions on the site provide some clarity on the going price of used and vintage instruments, much like the Kelley Blue Book does for used cars. By scanning the details and duration of the listing on hundreds of Stratocasters, Reverb.com visitors are better able to ascertain a “fair” price.

Beyond pricing levels, data from the Reverb site tends to confirm a lot of accepted industry wisdom. Electric guitar buyers purchase more accessories, more frequently than acoustic guitar buyers. Price matters: Instruments priced slightly below the average price for comparable instruments sell faster. Although retailers continue to try and establish a “one-price” structure, customers still want to bargain before buying. Including a “will negotiate,” or “best offer accepted,” usually speeds the selling process.

Reverb.com most likely attracts a more accomplished musician than typical m.i. stores or a site such as Amazon.com or MusiciansFriend.com. Roughly 86% of the guitars sold on the site are used, and the price points tend to be higher than industry averages, suggesting fewer first-time buyers. 79% of the guitar sales on the site are electric, compared with 21% acoustic. This imbalance might be because the site is simply more attractive to electric guitarists, because there are roughly twice as many electrics listed on the site as acoustics, or because acoustic guitar buyers are more interested in touching and hearing the instrument before they buy.

Herewith, a sampling of buyer information, based on Reverb.com transactions conducted between January 1, 2016 and August 31, 2016.

How Reverb.com Customers Buy

Add-On Sales At Time Of Purchase
Acoustic guitars are more likely to drive same-cart add-on sales: 0.8% of checkouts containing an acoustic guitar also contain an additional item, while only 0.6% of checkouts for electric guitars do.

While there are many confounding factors that might be involved, price is an important factor. Generally speaking, the cheaper the guitar purchased, the more likely a user is to buy add-ons. On Reverb.com, acoustic guitars ordered are generally cheaper than electric guitars.

In general, buyers are more likely to have an add-on in the same cart if they purchase a cheaper guitar, especially orders totaling less than $100.

Most popular same-cart add-ons - Electric Guitar:
1. Cables
2. Straps
Most popular same-cart add-ons - Acoustic:
1. Straps
2. Guitar Strings

Add-On Sales At A Later Date
The most frequent items purchased later (in a separate cart) after purchasing an electric guitar:
1. Effects pedals
2. Another electric guitar
The most frequent items purchased later (in a separate cart) after purchasing an acoustic guitar:
1. Acoustic Guitars
2. Strings, straps, and other accessories.

16% of users who buy an electric guitar also buy an accessory compared to 9.5% for acoustic guitar buyers. This is especially apparent in categories not typically associated with acoustic guitars, such as amps and pedals.

What Drives The Sale
Price: A listing priced one standard deviation below the average price for the product is about 30% more likely to sell within the first 30 days of being listed. Note: This is relative price, so it’s important to pay attention to pricing for a specific product.

In general, more expensive listings (i.e. a guitar vs. a pedal) take longer to sell on average because there’s lower demand.

The Ability to Negotiate: A listing that accepts offers (allows buyers to negotiate) increases the likelihood that the product will sell within the first 30 days by 18%.

Perceived Trustworthiness: When all other factors are equal, products listed by a Reverb.com “Preferred Seller” are 5% more likely to sell within 30 days. Reverb Preferred Sellers have established a solid track record on Reverb with consistently positive feedback.

Perceived Discount: Sellers often get a boost if the price of an item is eventually dropped.

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