You know how when you shop on Amazon there is a price and a then a “list price” which is usually much higher?
The effect is that you feel like you’re getting a big discount shopping on Amazon.
It turns out Amazon might be publishing list prices that are too high.
Mouse Print first noticed the problem with an array of general consumer products such as Kraft’s Mac & Cheese and a 100-count box of Splenda.
As if this afternoon, most of these prices have been fixed, except for a ton of pet food items.
Take for example the dog treats you see above. The retail value of one Merrick Flossies is approximately $4, making a 50-count supply valued at no more than $200. Yet Amazon claims the list price stands at a whopping $422.89, more than doubled what it should cost.
We tried to contact Amazon for comments, but did not receive a response.
The incident reminds us of last year when Amazon listed a seemingly normal book about flies for $23,698,655.93. Biologist Michael Eisen blogged about the unrealistic selling price, and documented how Amazon’s price for the book The Making of a Fly constantly went up day after another.
Here’s what happened: A professor required this book for a class and students naturally flocked to Amazon to purchase the text. Eventually, only two sellers still had the product available.
Because the book quickly became an exclusive, hot ticket item, Amazon’s algorithm for retailers to competitively price their product catapulted the retail value to more than $23 million.
We’re not sure if this is the same situation with the pet food offerings on the site, but it seems hard to believe the world is running out of doggie treats.
Deli Cat Dry Cat Food
Ok, we know having pets can be expensive but you can’t fool us, Amazon.
Higgins Celestial Blend Bird Food
Who can resist 89 percent off retail list price? Only ten left in stock!
Redbarn Filled Bone – Peanut Butter
Dog foods are getting so fancy these days, but at $6.70, the bone’s a steal.
Need a Cake bakery owner Rachel Brown decided to put up a 75% discount on a dozen cupcakes on the site, which dropped the price down to $10 from $40.
Apparently, people really love getting cupcakes cheap, because she was rushed by throngs of customers in a cupcake frenzy. 8,500 people signed up, and her crew of eight had to make 102,000 cupcakes to meet the orders.
Brown lost $3 per batch because she had to hire 25 extra workers to help, and she ended up losing $20,000 because of it, which a ton for a small biz. It wiped out her profits for the year, reports the Daily Mail.
“Without doubt, it was my worst ever business decision,” she told the BBC. “We had thousands of orders pouring in that really we hadn’t expected to have. A much larger company would have difficulty coping.”
This is just the latest in Groupon small business horror stories. A story popped up in September about a Portland cafe losing $8,000 because of a Groupon, which prompted a personal letter from founder and CEO Andrew Mason.
It brings up the always-present question about the daily deals site: does Groupon suck for small businesses?
Well, it looks like most small businesses think so. An overwhelming majority of 70% hate Groupon, if the latest survey from iContact is to be believed.
As for Brown and her bakery, the experience may have cost her 20 grand, but what about all the exposure she’s getting for her store? Great, right? It doesn’t hurt, but it probably wasn’t worth the cost.
Small businesses like this bakery thrive on relationships with their local customers, not crowds of outsiders coming in to snatch up a free lunch.
Getting new customers is great, but in this case, the bakery rewarded the wrong customers. Those 8,500 people that rushed for the Groupon probably won’t be coming back to pay for the same cupcakes at quadruple the price.
Only those the store has nurtured relationships with for a long time (in Brown’s case, 25 years), should be the ones rewarded. They’re the ones that keep coming back for more.
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22% said fast food advertisements rated most trustworthy
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14% auto companies
13% financial services companies
If 1 in 3 or as low as 1 in 10 trust ads, even if they saw the ads, they are likely to ignore them or NOT base their purchase decisions on them. Imagine if you had spent a ton of money making the ad, and another ton of money to air or place the ad, how low the ROI would be, if any.
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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