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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.

Screen prints of New Yorker web page prices

Two Prices for New Yorker Subscriptions

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!

By |2014-12-10T09:58:26-08:00December 10th, 2014|E-Commerce|0 Comments

I Don’t Do Online Stores… Except for This One

Sensitive Skin Product Store There are two main reasons I politely decline/refuse to help people set up online stores:

  1. I don’t want to be involved in a mission-critical website whose failure would mean I would have to interrupt a vacation or day off or good night’s sleep.
  2. The future online store isn’t likely to be a success.

In a previous job, I was responsible for maintaining police, fire, and ambulance dispatching systems.  I stayed mostly sober through New Year’s Eve on Y2K with pagers and cellphones strapped to my belt, and have years of experience in being responsible.  I have been on-call 24 x 7 enough in my life. So, a potential store owner would have to accept that my help is in set up, but not in daily operation. And, most people who have asked me to create a store for them have admitted that they wanted full support.

But, even when someone understands my limitations, I quickly back away.   Typically, the store owner has the expectation that a crowd is going to beat their virtual door down and buy lots of stuff from them.  They have this expectation though there is no reason for someone to visit their site.

  • Their goods and services are commodities available from 4700 other places.
  • They have no special expertise in what they are selling.
  • Their competition is entrenched, large, and able to offer better pricing.
  • They have little or no supplementary information to help entice people to buy or understand their product.

Additionally, most of the would-be online store owners can only spend a few hours here and a few hours next week on their store.  They want someone else (me) to set up their shipping logistics, their price lists, their… well… everything that a store owner/manager has to do.

I want to provide good value to my clients. And, frankly, I think that most of the people who have asked me to help with stores are going to spend money and have little to show for their effort.  So, I decline to take on a future unhappy client.

However, this spring I was asked to help with a store by Andrew Scoular, an owner who has unique products, understands business, and also understands that what a store owner has to do cannot be delegated to a webmaster.  Helping Andrew set up Sensitive Skin Clinic has educated me on skin care and on e-commerce features.

In the next series of posts I’ll share what I’ve learned to help you decide if running an online store is a business activity you’re ready for.

Check out what Andrew is offering and how. Then come back here over the next few days to learn what Andrew and I discovered together.  And, please leave your comments if you have questions or specific topics you want covered.

By |2013-06-24T15:42:54-07:00June 24th, 2013|E-Commerce, Web Design|0 Comments
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