"What do you think of Clock wood burning stoves?" "Are Woodwarm wood burning stoves any good?" "Town and Country wood burning stoves are good - or so I have heard?"
I used to wonder why so many customers mentioned the same few brands after they had been into a local store. Then, when I contacted these brands and tried to open an account, the answer was always a big fat "no".
"You are too close to another shop" or "your showroom is too small" or "your eyebrows meet in the middle" or something similar.
The chat with the potential customer would usually start something like this...
"I went into my local shop/talked to my local installer the other day and they said that >Clock logburners< (insert Clock, Woodwarm, Town and Country or other) are what they recommend and are the absolute bestest ever"
Did the shopkeeper tell you why?
"Just said they were good wood burners. The best they sell. Dope."
But is that really the reason that the stove shops love these brands so much? Are customers really being given the best advice? Well, it is possible. But it is always the same few brands and life is not usually like that (one would expect some consistency but far more choice and at least some straying from the crowd.
Keeping names of brands out of it for the rest of the article. Let's look at how some stove brands operate and you can make your own mind up.
Getting straight to the point - there are brands that will not allow their stoves to be sold on the Internet: no prices to be shown, no Google Shopping, no "add to cart" and often "no discounting".
The shops love brands that follow this policy.
Customer wanders into shop, sees stove, goes home and looks online to see some reviews and do their due dilligence - make sure they are paying roughly the same as everybody else. Except there is nothing to look at when it comes to pricing - zilch. No prices, no deals, no 10% off, no freebies. Zilch. Well, how strange, all these shops making a decision not to mention prices on their websites.
Now the customer has to go back to the shop and, despite the invention of the Internet, pay the full price (or whatever price the shopkeeper says - knowing that the customer cannot really go elsewhere).
It's a strategy. I don't blame the brands or the shops. If I was a shop owner I might be very happy that the brand police are on my side. Just keep your wits about you and be aware that there are usually motives behind the scenes... Are the stoves the best or is it more to do with big fat margins for Mr Shop Owner?
And in the spirit of honesty (and WE want to sell you a stove so let's be honest here): Here are a few alternatives: