Friday, May 14, 2010

why online retail works

Here's something that is theoretically possible offline, but not really realistic - for both buyer and seller.

I couple of months ago I ordered a few books from Amazon. Most arrived within days, but one was not published until this week. And yesterday I got this email:
Now, here's the thing: yes I know there was this price guarantee - but effectively I had agreed to pay the [then] price of £5.99. Would I have ordered without the price guarantee? Yes, I would. I could have put the book in my 'basket' and bought it later [another excellent facility from Amazon] - hoping the price might drop. But hey, it's £2. My total order was for around £60. Would I have noticed or even checked up on the current price when the book is delivered? No. My time is more prescious.

And there's the rub. Convenience. I've been saying it since 1996. Sure some folk will use the web to seek out the cheapest price - but for a lot of people, buying a lot of products, ordering online and having goods delivered is convenient. It save time, if not money. But as any half-decent marketer will tell you price isn't everything. If it was no premier product or service would ever sell. Ask BMW.

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