The Tale of Two Offers
Black Friday Deals! Renewal Rates for Loyal Subscribers! Special Price for Returning Customers!
It’s now officially the season for marketing hype on steroids. But as Sergeant Phil Esterhaus warned us every week on Hill Street Blues, “Hey, let’s be careful out there.”
Just look at the two New Yorker pricing pages below.
I reached the top page by clicking on an email sent to me, telling me that I was a valuable customer, and inviting me to renew my gift subscriptions at a special rate. The offer is $69.99 for the first gift and $59.99 for each additional gift.
The bottom offer is one I found using a different web browser and going to the New Yorker website as if I’d never subscribed before. That page let me have two subscriptions for $69.99. I called the contact number on the sales page and the representative let me renew my gifts for the price offered to new customers. I saved $59.99 by not blindly renewing at my special, valued customer rate.
It’s not only the New Yorker that charges you more if they know you’ve used their product before. Most, if not all, companies track your relationship with them and will raise the prices for people that they think they’ve already hooked. For example, Quicken will display a come-on for its latest version about once a year. The page you go when you click from the ad in the application for your upgrade usually displays a price that’s more than if you went to Quicken yourself.
Unfortunately, the use of tracking cookies and other techniques makes it hard to show up on website as a virgin who deserves the most attractive pricing. But, you should try.
Here are some tips to keep you from being a dearly beloved, overpaying repeat customer:
- Don’t sign up for any renewal or update or anything from an offer you get via email or from within an application.
- Visit the business’ homepage with a browser that you don’t normally use. That way there won’t be cookies or other evidence of your association with that business which would lead their programs
Keep enjoying your favorite products and services. Keep giving them as holiday gifts, too. Just make sure you shop before you buy!