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Now That’s What I Call 2018!

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Well, here we are. Another year nearly over…already! It only seems like last week that we were all shivering in the Beast from the East or sweating from what some said was the ‘hottest summer in living memory’.

Musically it has been a great year. We saw the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Friendly Fires, Florence & the Machine and Manic Street Preachers return with some fantastic new music.

There were new names to keep an eye on too. The brilliant Pale Waves released great song after great song and The Brits Critics Choice winner for 2019, Sam Fender, started to get attention and quite right too. Grace Carter released the sublime ‘Why Her Not Me’ to set the scene for what’s to come in 2019 and we can’t wait to hear more. And while we are talking sublime music, we have to mention the amazing Tom Misch. In our opinion, his album ‘Geography’ is one of the best of the year.

Anne-Marie released one of the best videos of the year with ‘2002’, and showed why many are calling her the breakout star of the year (Well supporting Ed Sheeran around the world isn’t a bad way to get you in front of a few people…)

Music phenomenon of the year has to be ‘The Greatest Showman’. The soundtrack has spent most of the year at number one in the album chart, the likes of Pink have re-recorded tracks for the new ‘Re-Imagined’ album as well, breathing new life in to the songs, plus ‘This is Me’ by the awesome Kaela Settle is a strong contender for song of the year…..

However, in our opinion, the song of the year was released in April. Ariana Grande returned with the superb ‘No Tears Left to Cry’, less than a year after the tragedy at one of her gigs in Manchester. The Observer described the track as ‘a dazzling exercise in pop lightness, bringing optimism after last year’s Manchester attack’. While the Guardian said it was ‘one of the most joyful, defiant celebrations of pop’.

Enjoy our look back at 2018. We can’t wait to see what 2019 has to bring!

Check out the KVH Studios Music playlist on Spotify here!

Crank up the Christmas Tunes!

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It’s that time of year, when it seems like the same 10 Christmas songs are being played over and over again…

But at KVH Studios, we take Christmas music very seriously. We start looking for new Christmas songs when the skies are still blue and, if we’re lucky, temperatures are soaring, ensuring our clients have the most appropriate music tracks to suit their brand.

Although we play the big hits, from classics such as Nat King Cole, Dean Martin and Bing Crosby, to the golden eras of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s including Slade, Wizzard, Wham! and of course not forgetting Mariah, we do like to spring a surprise or two into our selections.

In recent years, the likes of Kylie, Sia and Gwen Stefani have all recorded Christmas albums with some great new tracks and new versions of the classics. All this and we haven’t even mentioned the modern Mr Christmas, Michael Bublé.

We hope you enjoy our selection of Christmas tunes, there are 24 delights, just like every Advent Calendar…

Check out the KVH Studios Music playlist on Spotify here!

Nick Bewes – Head of Music

The Science of Playing Christmas Music in store

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It’s Christmas, let’s whack some Slade on!

Leading up to Christmas, and throughout the holiday season, it’s befitting for retailers to play Christmas music. While it seems the obvious thing to do, believe it or not there’s a science behind it.

Eric Spangenberg, Ph.D, dean of the College of Business at Washington State University, who has studied the influence of music on holiday shopping, found that “holiday appropriate music can influence shoppers by increasing the amount of time spent in a store, their intention to revisit it, and intention to purchase.” He goes on to explain that some types of music work better than others, “Slower tempo music slows down shoppers, and they spend more time and money in store. Faster-paced music moves people through the store quicker than retailers would like.”*

Readers of our blog will know this also applies to music in general; so if everyday music has the same effect, why should stores make the effort to play Christmas music? It all boils down to Christmas music having the added benefit of seasonal relevance, which has an uplifting effect on shoppers. Have you ever seen Christmas lights, or smelled mulled wine, and suddenly ‘felt all Christmassy’? Christmas music has the same effect; it raises people’s spirits and creates an urge of excitement.

Christmas music also transforms the feel of a store, providing a richer, more engaging customer experience, which ties back to music increasing the amount of time spent in store and the likeliness to revisit.

There are do’s and don’ts when playing Christmas music. First of all you don’t want to play it prematurely because, as with any music, if you hear it too often it gets repetitive and can have an adverse effect on customer’s mood. Victoria Williamson, Ph.D, who conducts research on the psychology of music at Goldsmiths, University of London says, “there’s a U-shaped relationship between the amount of times we hear music that we like and our subsequent reaction to it.

First we like it a bit, then we like it more and more until it hits a peak. And then we crash down – we have overheard it. That’s when boredom and annoyance of the same sound hits home.”* As a rule of thumb, you should save playing Christmas music until December.

And secondly there is a vast amount of Christmas music out there, such as classical, winter wonderland music, through to cheesier, more jovial tunes, so you can select a style that is still in keeping with your store’s persona. Don’t be fooled into thinking you have to play Slade!

We hope you found this post interesting! Like us on Facebook to ask us questions about using music in your business, or follow us on twitter @kvhstudios.

Why should you have your own LIVE radio show?

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It’s a scientific fact that music has a huge effect on the human brain, from enhancing mood to improving memory; the benefits that surround playing music are almost uncountable. It’s therefore essential that music should play a main role in your marketing techniques.

Okay, so you have your music, you have your happy customers, but you still feel like there’s something missing, something more you could do to improve the atmosphere?

Well, how about your very own radio show?

Live radio, like music, can create the perfect atmosphere for your customers, as well as keeping your content fresh and exciting on a day-to-day basis. From organising competitions, planning fundraisers or even having live phone-ins with special guests, the possibilities for live radio are almost endless.

What’s great is that having your own radio show can be very easy to plan and maintain, even for first time radio broadcasters. Here we show you the basics…

What’s it about?

The first thing to think about is the subject matter of your show. It should be something your store or brand is passionate about, or represents. Clothes store? How about a broadcast on the latest fashion and what your store is offering in conjunction? Food shop? How about a live cook-along or recipe ideas using the ingredients you sell?

Live or recorded?

If you don’t have the facilities to stream live shows, recorded podcasting can be a great alternative if you still want to give the effect of live radio. This means it can be recorded anytime and then played whenever you like – just be careful not to overplay as customers might realise and stop enjoying it!

Alternatively, going live is a great way to get connected with your customers and there are hundreds of exciting and interesting ways to do this to keep your customers listening, informed and entertained!
How often?

As with any radio it’s important to keep continuity as otherwise you’re in risk of confusing and frustrating your customers. When will your show air? How many times and for how long? Perhaps decide to air one in the morning and one in the afternoon on a Saturday, or whenever your store has the most footfall.

Advertisements?

Having a live presenter is a great way to give your adverts an edge. People may be more inclined to listen when your radio has a mix of voiced advertisements and presenter led discussions about a product. This also means you don’t have to worry about length or time constrictions and it’s possible to change the content daily.

Special content?

If you’re doing a regular broadcast this can keep your show interesting and up to date. Especially with live shows, doing regular or one-off competitions, quizzes, song requests or phone-ins will keep both your customers and staff focused and entertained.

Once the basics are covered, the beauty of live radio is that you can change and adapt your show as much or as little as you like, and what could be more impressive or engaging than having your own presenter talking directly to your customers? We guarantee they will love it and you will reap the benefits!

Call us now on 0113 233 7800 to find out how KVH Studios can set up a live radio service for your stores. Our purpose-built studios and qualified presenters are ready when you are!

Are you setting the right atmosphere in your restaurant?

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There is NOTHING more important in a restaurant than atmosphere.

What’s the first thing that people notice when they walk into a restaurant? Before they’ve tasted the quality of the food, or experienced the friendly service?

They notice the ATMOSPHERE.

What is atmosphere? Beyond what somewhere looks like, more than the scent, atmosphere is the way a venue makes people feel – and they notice it right from the first second. And the most powerful controller of these feelings is SOUND.

Whether it’s going out for a relaxed lunch with their other half or a lively dinner with a group of friends, people want to feel a certain way. Setting the right mood ensures customers feel comfortable in the environment, have a sense of privacy and enjoy their experience.

And what does that mean for your brand?

Longer dwell time therefore more spend, word of mouth recommendations and returning customers.

Result!

KVH Studios can help you create the perfect atmosphere for your venue with MUSIC. From Dinner Jazz to Latin Dance; Chilled Acoustic to British Pop; we have every kind of genre you could imagine from every decade, to achieve your desired mood.

We create bespoke music services for leisure and hospitality establishments across the globe and our experienced team of music profilers are skilled in the science behind creating the right atmosphere to suit your customer demographic, footfall, brand personality and each of your individual sites.

And we all love choice. Allow us to create a suite of channels for you to choose from. You know your venue and customers better than anyone so we make sure you have the power to choose what’s playing where and when.

Let us find out about your brand and how we can help you as an individual client as everyone is different, that’s why we do things bespoke. Just give us a call on 0113 233 7800 or email info@kvhstudios.com.

Don’t let the atmosphere in your sites fail you, create an environment your customers can’t stop talking about.

Ready for the big game?

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How can you bring the excitement of big sports tournaments into your stores?

How can you provide your customers with live updates so they don’t miss any of the action?

How can you increase upsell on products associated with national events?

How can you reduce staff absenteeism when the big games are on?

You may not have considered this as the solution, but the answer to all these questions is… In-Store Radio

Why? Because unlike other mediums such as POS, in-store radio has the power and ability to…

– Guarantee messages are delivered in-store without staff involvement
– Subliminally reach all customers at some point in their shopping journey
– Create a certain atmosphere within an environment through music and content
– Deliver content quickly and in real-time

And if that wasn’t enough, it’s also an excellent opportunity for brands and suppliers to purchase ‘space’ on your audio service or sponsor content to maximise revenue.

So how could you do it?

The opportunities are endless when it comes to creating engaging and informative audio content around events…

– Bespoke promotional advertising on the products and campaigns you are featuring in-store
– Event build up with such features as pre-tournament reviews on the contenders, the ‘essentials list’ of products to purchase and interactive quizzes on past winners.
– Daily bulletins including a summary of yesterday’s action, all the latest news and a preview of upcoming matches featuring clips and interviews direct from the tournament.
– Live match coverage providing commentary of every kick of the ball or swing of the racket.

And we can’t forget those who just aren’t into sports. Reach all your customers by providing ‘The survival kit’ for husbands or wives who hear nothing but talk of the current tournament from their other half and highlight key promotional ranges to ‘get them through’ those nights in front of the TV.

At KVH Studios we have the creative team, delivery technology and sports relationships to provide show-stopping coverage of key events with excitement, buzz and passion to your customers and staff.

Don’t miss out on the action, contact KVH Studios today on 0113 233 7800 to start receiving your tailored in-store radio service.

Live at Leeds 2018

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Live at Leeds festival takes place across the city this Saturday with a fantastic selection of new artists, alongside more well-known acts. Since starting in 2007, the festival has built a reputation on booking the best emerging artists alongside more established acts from around the world. And this year is no different. Here KVH Studios Head of Music Nick Bewes picks some highlights for what promises to be a very busy but good day for a music lover…

GET CAPE, WEAR CAPE, FLY – 12noon @ The Key Club

We have been fans of Sam Duckworth, aka Get Cape Wear Cape Fly for over a decade here at KVH Studios and he’s back with some new music this year. He will be one of the first acts on stage at the festival.

SUPERORGANISM – 2.45pm @ The Independent Stage – Stylus

A new for group made up of a vast array of musicians from all around the world, described by the NME as 2017’s buzziest, and most mysterious new band, They released their debut album earlier this year.

PEACE – 3.15pm @ Leeds Festival Stage, O2 Academy

Nearly four years ago, this band released the anthem that is Lovesick, and everyone took notice. Album number three Kindness is out the day before their show on the 5th May.

NICK J D HODGSON – 5:30pm @ Dork Stage, Church

Former Kaiser Chief Nick left the band in 2012 and spent his time writing & producing for other artists including Mark Ronson, John Newman & Hurts. Now he steps back in to the spotlight with some great tunes.

THE MAGIC GANG – 7.15pm @ Leeds Festival Stage, O2 Academy

This band have produced a debut album jam packed with great tunes, mixing Weezer and the Beach Boys. I kid you not.

We are now getting to the business end of the evening, with headliners The Vaccines on stage @ Leeds Festival Stage, O2 Academy from 9.00, Nadine Shah will be performing in the majestic surroundings of the CLASH Stage at the Holy Trinity Church from 9.30 while the Horrors will be doing the same at Dork Stage, Church, however…..

BRUNO MAJOR 11.00pm @ NME Stage, Headrow House

If you want to experience one of the most talented artists at the whole event, then get to Headrow House nice and early, because I suspect that this is going to be a busy one. If you haven’t heard Bruno’s music, you are really missing out, believe me. Blissful, soulful, romantic and the perfect cure for any matters of the heart are how Billboard described this amazing artist.

PALE WAVES 11.15pm @ DIY Stage Brudenell Social Club

One of the most hotly tipped bands of the 12 months draw things to a close, fittingly in one of the best venues in the North. Dreamy danceable indie pop with a small melancholic twist say some, I say just great tunes by a great new band.

There you go, just a small selection of the music on offer from 12noon on Saturday. If you are heading to the festival, wristband collection opens on Friday 4th May (Physical and e-tickets ONLY) at TRINITY KITCHEN from 4pm-8pm or THE WARDROBE, (St Peters Square) from 4pm-8pm. On Saturday 5th May with tickets already, head to Leeds College of Music or if you are collecting tickets, box office collections from The Wardrobe (St Peters Square, Leeds, LS9 8AH) from 9am- 6pm.

And don’t forget to download the official Live at Leeds App to get all details of the festival, stage times etc. It’s available for both Apple and Android.

Enjoy the music!

Record Store Day 2018

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Long before iTunes, Amazon and Spotify, there were Record Shops. They were magical places with rows and rows of records (and CDs), waiting to be discovered. Then along came the supermarkets and the internet and everything changed, for some…

This weekend sees the annual UK Record Store Day. The event started in 2007 in America and is the day of the year that all independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music. There are special releases by artists from around the world and in-store performances along with meet & greets with artists, DJ’s, in-store quizzes and many other events.

Back in the eighties there were over 2,000 indie record shops in the UK. That number fell to under 300, but the great news is, it’s now on the increase. The number of stores selling music and video has more than doubled since 2009. And of course, sales of vinyl records are at their highest level since 1991, with 4.1 million vinyl albums sold in the UK in 2017 according to the BPI.

With that in mind, our Head of Music Nick Bewes takes a trip down memory to the record shops that helped grow his love of music.

“When I was a kid, my musical tastes were a little bit different to most of my school friends. They were into the likes of Madness, Duran Duran and Culture Club. Under the influence of my eldest brother, I was into Heavy Rock and the likes of Ozzy Osbourne and Twisted Sister. So many times, as a kid, I’d see a band on Top of the Pops on a Thursday night and I’d get on my bike either the next day or at the weekend and buy the record from Woolworths, yes from Woolies, but soon the big W was replaced by a new kid in town, Anagram Records.

This was my kind of record shop. Run by long haired guys in denim who knew their music, it was heaven, but sadly only for a short time. They moved out of town and then even that new shop closed. As the eighties turned into the nineties, I was at college in Leeds and spent many a lunchtime and indeed teatime, going through the latest releases in Jumbo Records and Crash Records. We’ve now reached 1990 and everything was about to change for me.

Down the road from where I worked, appeared a brand-new record shop called Mix Music. Far too much time and money was spent in the company of owner Mick and the rest who worked in the shop over the years. Mick, who remains a friend to this day, knew what I would like and what I wouldn’t. So much so, that when I walked into the shop, whatever was playing would disappear and some new American band would explode from the speakers. Pleasantries out of the way, he would be very disappointed if I hadn’t asked ‘what’s this?’ by the end of the first song! That is what record shops are all about, the knowledge of the staff to bring new music to your attention. The interaction, the banter, the music!

Around the mid-nineties, Mix had expanded to 4 stores, now sadly, like so many others, they have all gone. And that was the end of me having a regular record shop I’d spend loads of money in, but my love of discovering music continued and moved online with blogs, Twitter and the like. Without a doubt, all that time spent in record shops from a young age fed my obsession for music which I’ve been lucky enough to use for my job for the last 2 decades.

A couple of years ago, I visited the old Jumbo Records on Record Store Day. Well I did eventually, after spending over an hour in a queue which snaked its way from the shop, across the front, where bands were playing and then down the side of the restaurant next door and nearly down to the car park entrance. By the time I got into the shop, everything I had earmarked to buy had gone, but I eventually got a couple of things to remember the day by. Oh and I didn’t even own a turntable to listen to the records that I had bought! It didn’t really matter. It was more about the experience of being there, waiting to get into the shop, chatting with other music fans, and listening to the live bands. One of the things that struck me was how many teenagers were getting involved in it. Some had even come to Leeds to see what they could get after shopping in York early doors.

If you fancy visiting a record shop this weekend to try and bag some rare vinyl, here’s the list of releases…

https://recordstoreday.co.uk/releases/rsd-2018/

My advice – get there early.”

Nick Bewes – Music Profiler

For expert music profiling from Nick Bewes and his team on your audio service, give KVH Studios a call on 0113 233 7800 today.

Re-Tales: the top stories from Retail Week 2018

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Retail Week 2018 didn’t just provide a welcome escape from whichever incarnation of the ‘Beast from the East’ was hitting home (Leeds was being besieged by snow again while I was spending two sunny days by the Thames), it was a fascinating insight into the thoughts, ideas, and strategies of some of Britain’s biggest retailers at what is an interesting, if not somewhat troubling, time for British retail.

The British high street seems to find itself in a watershed moment; with big name casualties such as Toys R Us and Maplin, retailers are trying to work out how to incorporate the rise of online into the traditional bricks and mortar model – or whether to even incorporate it at all.

What most people agree is that the stores we walk into today will most likely be very different in the near future – if it still exists at all, it will be with a heightened customer experience, more interactive touch points, incorporating the online offering, and providing much more than just the single purchase transaction relationship.

So what, exactly, does this mean, and what will it look like? Here are the three main trends and discussion points from Retail Week 2018, and how they’ll shape retail;

1) The bricks and mortar model isn’t dead

The current retail landscape was succinctly summed up by John Rogers, the CEO of Argos, when he said; “It’s never been easier to buy, so why are stores struggling?”

I was surprised to learn that, after Amazon and eBay, Argos are the UK’s third most visited retail website. In addition, they were the first UK site to hit £1bn of mobile sales and also £1bn in app sales. 48% of sales were purely digital in 2016, and this is expected to grow to 59% in 2018. And yet, despite all this online activity, Rogers hailed Argos’ store infrastructure as paramount to their success.

Argos are using their physical store network to provide ultra-convenient options for customers. As well as the traditional click and collect, their stock efficient store network and incorporation with Sainsburys means they remain close to their customers, and can offer a 4hr fast-track delivery service to 90% of UK households. Rogers was keen to point out that they ensured that their stores were close to their customers.

So for Argos, their physical stores are the backbone of their success. While their stock efficient model can’t be directly replicated by other retailers, the fact that 72% of their online orders are still collected in store means that even though the purchase may start online, customers still need that convenient, physical touchpoint.

2) Your brand is everything

So, if customers are still needing the physical store, how can retailers enhance the experience for when these customers enter, and keep them coming back?

The most interesting answer to this was offered by Shamil Thakrar, co-founder of Dishoom, who offer customers a Bombay Café-style experience across one Edinburgh and five London sites. This growth has been relatively slow compared to most others, at a rate of almost one a year, but this has been deliberate.

Thakrar has refused to simplify or scale the service, and instead let each individual site have its own identity, look, feel, and story. For each new site Thakrar wrote a story about the characters that founded each one. For their Kings Cross restaurant, for example, he imagined an old Iranian in Bombay being late for a train, and spending more time than he had originally anticipated waiting around in the old train station, and then being inspired by its architecture to open a restaurant styled like it.

It’s this level of detail that has set Dishoom apart from anything else, and that offers customers a unique dining experience. Those photos on the wall aren’t just meaningless decoration; each is tied to the restaurant’s story, which is all fully explained in the restaurant’s 50-page design guide. This guide is personified by the members of staff with in each restaurant, who maintain the immersion through passion and knowledge.

The Dishoom model is proving that, if a retail space is well thought out, well designed, and offers customers a new, unique, authentic, and truly immersive experience that they can’t get anywhere else, then people will come, with 40,000 customers served every week. Dishoom’s success can literally be seen by their long lines, with customers prepared to join long queues for their dining experience.

3) The individual store will be more important than ever

With a strong brand established across the estate, there will then likely be an increase in trust given to individual stores to express and interpret these brand values to their local community and customer demographics.

Marc Dench, CFO of premium lifestyle brand Joules, spoke of a store manager led approach to their stores. Understanding the challenges stores were facing following reduced footfall and higher operating costs, the brand realised the retail environment needed to change to draw customers in.

Above all it needed to be an enticing shopping experience. Dench was keen to play down the ‘experiential’ buzz that he believes only works for some brands, and instead stated a focus on meaningful experiences that add real value, delivered through;
Branding

Individual Store

Location – being as close to the customers as possible (see point 1)

Reason – giving the customers a real reason to walk in, whether to pick up a product or through enticing POS/displays

Sales Experience – it needs to be better than online

Interaction – use each and every interaction as the starting point of a lasting relationship

While Dishoom’s restaurants are vastly different from each other, they are still all linked by strong brand purpose and values, and this is key to Joules’ success according to Dench. The brand shouldn’t be diluted, and be consistent across the board, but individual stores given licence to express these and incorporate them into every staff interaction.

Read recent news headlines and you’d be forgiven for thinking the British high street has seen better days, but for those within the industry, it’s an exciting time of re-thinking existing models and changing the offering. The real winners here are the customers, who are going to see their high street shopping experiences change for the better.

Brands are examining how to make better use of their physical assets and making the right first impression is now more important than ever. At KVH Studios we have been designing bespoke store services for decades, using sight and sound to provide customers with positive and lasting brand experiences. Drop us a line today to see how we can ensure your brand is heard in this changing retail landscape.

Joe Muddiman – Account Manager

Are you happy with the service levels you’re receiving from your current in-store audio provider?

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There’s nothing worse than a supplier that doesn’t get back to you and you have to chase… a supplier who can’t talk or meet with you when you need to… a supplier that doesn’t listen and so doesn’t meet your requirements leaving you to do the majority of the work.

At KVH Studios our number one priority is customer service. That’s why many of our clients, such as ASDA, House of Fraser and Topps Tiles, have been receiving audio services from us for over 10 years.

Here are our top 6 aims to ensure we’re always providing the best service at all times to our clients…

1. We’re accessible

Whether it be in person, on the phone, email or even social media, we’re always accessible to our clients to help them with what they require when they need it and to stay connected to their brand

2. We’re responsive

It’s very important to us that we acknowledge our clients quickly and provide a solution in a timely manner

3. We’re listeners

Understanding our clients’ requirements clearly can only be done by taking the time to listen carefully

4. We’re focused

Providing our clients with the information they need at the time they need it

5. We’re honest

There’s no point in us telling our clients something that isn’t achievable or not being truthful when something hasn’t gone to plan. Honesty is the best policy in our eyes.

6. We’re passionate

We believe in the services we create for our clients and ensure each one is unique and works hard to achieve results for their individual brand.

Of course, anyone can say they do these things and it’s difficult to showcase these qualities without working with us, but we do believe our high client retention and testimonials speak for themselves.

We specialise in providing music and content services across the globe to some of the world’s leading brands. We have a specialist team of audio producers and account managers who are dedicated to providing high quality audio services with attention to detail from the content to the service to the delivery.

We’d love to have a chat to find out about your stores and how we can help you as an individual client as everyone is different, that’s why we do things bespoke. Just give us a call on 0113 233 7800 or email info@kvhstudios.com.

Let us take the workload of in-store audio away from you.

After all, that’s what you pay your supplier for isn’t it?