An email reached my in-box this morning that sparked my curiosity. “Save 63% off our selection of [deleted].” “Save up to 55% off the entire [deleted] product line.” “[Deleted] entire line is on sale. Save up to 53% off.”
These deep discounts prompted me to click through to the site to see if this was just one or two items being discounted, or whether the store was going out of business. What I found was pure and simple chicanery.
As you can see in the example below, the retailer lists three separate prices:
- A made up “Retail Price”. I say made up, because unless the item for sale is subject to MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) policies enforced by the manufacturer, “retail price” is in the mind of the beholder.
- An “Our Price” which is what the merchant sells the item for all day, every day, which is what the real “retail price” is for the item.
- A “Sale Price” which is a price lower than the every day price and is there for a limited time.
In calculating the savings the consumer is supposed to be receiving, the merchant is calculating the difference between the made up retail price and the sale price.
I’ll say it again, chicanery!
I’m sure some will disagree and say there is nothing wrong with this, but let’s face it. It’s shady and most consumers are going to see right through this Charlotte russe.
I hate to see this kind of creative pricing as it makes me question the credibility of the company that’s practicing it. Introducing an inflated, unsubstantiated “retail price” into a model to make savings appear grandiose isn’t on my list of recommended things to do.
Give your customers honest, fair pricing with realistic discounts and you’ll have a customer for life, rather than one who questions your legitimacy.
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From the mailbag:
Via Email: I have one of those trust badges on my site that I pay for each year. I recently got my renewal notice and they want several thousand dollars for another year’s service. I can’t really afford it, but if I don’t pay is it going to impact my sales?
I have read white papers, articles and sat through presentations that show how much of a lift badges like Hacker Safe, Scan Alert, McAfee and others supposedly give a site. I’ve also seen and read the opposite. To me the verdict is out as to whether these things actually do make the difference between landing a sale or not. I tend to think they don’t have as much impact as they claim to have. However, your site should have trust badges on it that don’t have to cost you money. For example, most shopping carts will provide a badge that says “Powered By” and will usually have a note about encryption on it, you can use one of those or a “Secure Shopping” graphic that doesn’t cost a penny but instills a sense of security in your customer’s mind.
Via Email: How often should I be emailing my customers?
You don’t want to email them so many times a month that they click that “unsubscribe” link. How many is that? I like to see a company email their customers 2 to 3 times a month max. Those emails should be relevant, compelling and attractive enough that the reader is going to click thru rather than opt out.