Best Buy emailed me that printer ink was on sale. OK, I’ll bite. The discount no-name ink I bought last time didn’t work very well. I might return to name brand ink. Let’s see it!
Hey, there’s something missing. Where are the prices? How can I decide to buy something if I don’t know what it costs?
OK, I’ll bite again! I clicked add to cart, and this message came up.
Ohhhh, you are trying to circumvent MAP aka “minimum advertised pricing.” You are not allowed to advertise the ink as cheaply as you’re actually going to sell it.
If you’re not adding me to your mailing list (and it says you’re not… and I’m already on your mailing list anyway), then why does collecting this info then allow you to show me this wildly discounted price?
Wouldn’t this price be on display if I walk into your store? Or would you hide the price until I told you my name and email address?
Oh. I guess that’s a good price? Thanks for making me click extra times and fill out a form to tell me a price that’s probably on public display in the store.
A couple of weeks ago, I finally moved from Quickbooks Desktop to Quickbooks Online. The product isn’t perfect but it’s going to help me stay on top of accounting in a way I wasn’t previously doing. Hooray me.
As I clicked around the site to learn more, I noticed something interesting. Let’s start with the home page. It wants you to know there is a free trial!
You then see:
30 days free at about $10 month saves $10. Sounds OK. But I kept clicking. I went up to Small Business in the global navigation, and one of the sub-choices was Pricing. Here’s how that screen looked:
Wait a minute. 20% off for 6 months is a savings of $12 in total. That’s more than the free month trial. And when I signed up for it, early in the process, it told me I can cancel any time within the first 60 days and I think get my money back. So the risk is low.
Why not offer everybody your best pricing possible? Or just one deal. People might struggle to remember which page had which deal. I don’t even think people would like one page that says get one month free OR get $2 off per month for 6 months.
User research and testing can help you know if people are more likely to go for the monthly discount OR the one month free, which may have the added perk of not entering a credit card yet. And then user testing can help you know if how you want to present that quickly makes sense and feels compelling.
I run a service business and I don’t discount my services often. So I understand when other companies don’t want to discount what they do much or at all.
But when I look at software companies with levels of options, I wonder at what point does it make sense to just bring people on and have paid customers?
I was comparing GoToMeeting and Join.Me. They are fairly close in features. I think the main difference is that as of when I’m writing this, GoToMeeting allows you to share your webcams for more of a “meeting” feeling while Join.Me doesn’t have that feature yet.
GoToMeeting is around 3x the price of Join.Me. That’s a LOT… especially when many people out there are using totally free online meeting tools. Some people think it makes no sense to pay for it at all! I’m OK with paying to get a few better features.
I can get a year of Join.Me for about $160. A year of GoToMeeting is about $480, and that’s their “discounted” price for an annual payment.
I called GoToMeeting sales to see if they had any better deals. They only offered me the plans I saw on the website… like the one I mentioned above and then a cheaper one that doesn’t let you record meetings. I need to record them.
I told them Join.Me wanted about $160. The sales guy said, “Well, since we’re not Join.Me, I can’t offer a promotion like that.” I said, “I don’t expect you to BE Join.Me. I expect you to compete with them.”
I wonder what business analytics Citrix has that tells them to NOT offer GTM for less than $X per month or per year… and that it’s better to get $0/month and watch a customer pay Join.Me than to keep that customer and just make a bit less on them.
So should Citrix price match Join.Me? Depends on their business goals. As a potential customer of both, Join.Me’s pricing is way more appealing. I guess if I really need to video chat, I’ll invite someone to that old standby, Skype.
Conference registration pricing. We’ve all seen the table that basically tells us, “Hey, register early! It’s only going to get more expensive.” And many of us do, thinking we’ll save money. I’m attending Web 2.0 this week. Here is what their website tells me is their registration pricing (click to enlarge):
I signed up early, and decided to be cheap. Expo Hall only. My boyfriend found a coupon code in an ad on the BART (local mass transit, for those of you not in the Bay Area). Coupon code BART for 20% off. So we paid $80 for Expo Hall. But on 20 March, not even two weeks before the event, I was hit with this Groupon (click to enlarge):
This Groupon gave you your choice of two discounted passes to Web 2.0. For $249, you get a workshop-only pass (originally priced at $895). For $99, you get a Web 2.0 Lite pass (originally priced at $350). We just paid $80 for Expo Hall only. So I emailed the registration people asking if, in light of the Groupon, we could each please pay $19 each to have the Web 2.0 Lite level. They agreed. So we’re at Web 2.0 Lite for $99. FYI the difference between Expo Hall only and Web 2.0 Lite is that with Lite, you may go to one session and one “conversation.” Otherwise, it’s just expo hall and the things going on there for both passes.
Cut to last week. I’m riding the BART on Thursday 24 March, just days before Web 2.0 starts. An ad on the BART is telling me I can come to the Web 2.0 Expo for FREE! Expo Hall passes are FREE with a coupon code I didn’t notice out of frustration. Meanwhile, if you just hit the website, the Expo Hall Pass is still $100. I guess if you’re not local, and you’re paying for a flight and hotel room, you can also pay to walk an exhibit floor.
My user experience would be somewhere between, “Grrrrr,” and “Are you kidding?” I think about SXSW’s pricing, and how you’d never see a discount code or last-minute fire sale on attending SXSW. I think about how Google I/O sold out in hours.
So what’s going on here? To me, this is when a conference didn’t decide up front where they make their money. Do they make it mostly on exhibitors and sponsors? Do they make it more on attendees? I’ve been to many conferences and expos that gave away free expo hall passes. They want bodies to parade past exhibitors’ booths so they can show exhibitors how many people the show can attract.
They have serious sponsors, so they must have serious money. I wonder what attendance at all levels would have looked like at half the “early bird” prices, with those prices not going up over time, and with no last minute fire sales or Groupons. What if the workshop pass had been $249 the whole time?