Archive for the ‘Online Business’ Category

Amazon-ed by Subscribe and Save Pricing Games

Image representing Amazon as depicted in Crunc...

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I like Amazon. I have been a customer for years. Like many, I shop online for the convenience, pricing and to purchase items that are no longer available, or are have undergone significant price increases.

So, for me, Amazon’s Subscribe & Save feature has been great. But lately I have noticed a trend. Amazon is constantly changing their prices for the items that I subscribe to. Sometimes the price moves down, but often it moves up. Amazon has also developed a nasty habit of no longer offering the items I subscribe to, and the alternative choices, more often than not, come in smaller quantities and at a higher per unit price.

Amazon’s tactic appears to be, reel you in with a low-ball price and then, when you’re not looking, raise the price. Recently they cancelled my subscriptions to Charmin Ultra Mega Roll and Bounty Huge Roll. This actually worked out for the better, as upon checking the price at Sam’s Club, I learned I could buy both items for less per square foot there than through Amazon.

I understand that Amazon already has a very low profit margin and that they are delivering these items to my door. However, Amazon surely must realize that they are in the same position as Wal-Mart. I shop at both businesses not because I am enamored of them, but because they offer a low price. Once they no longer offer the lowest price – and failing to offer anything else of real value – I am gone.

The thing is, I’m tiring of getting Amazon-ed. Just like Wal-Mart went from offering the lowest prices, and displaying competitors ads at the checkout, to a more everyday low prices (translation: catch us screwing you on price if you can) model, Amazon is attempting to change their strategy. However, Amazon isn’t offering me anything else of substantial value other than price. They have painted themselves into a corner. They won me over with low prices and they have nothing else to woo me with.

Amazon, if you’re listening (and why would you be?) keep changing your Subscribe & Save prices and I’m going to game your system. I’ll cancel one subscription and replace it each and every time with the lower priced alternative. I’ll keep comparing you to the competition and cancel each subscription that is higher priced. I have already begun shifting some of my video rental business to Google Play. Then, when you Amazon me one too many times, I’ll cancel all of my subscriptions and avoid buying from you whenever possible. Keep playing the game. You have a gazillion items to choose from, but I have something you want – money. Amazon, it’s up to you – I’m getting tired of being Amazon-ed.

Update: 4-7-12

Made my first purchase of a book from Google Play. Purchased Russell A. Barkley’s Taking Charge of Adult ADHD.

To an extent I hate to hand Google even more information about myself in case they end up being “evil”. At the same time, I’m not sitting still for Amazon’s Subscribe & Save pricing games. So I guess we’ll play a version of Hunger Games – me denying my few crumbs to the giant.

It might not make a big difference on an individual level, but if more people do the same, Amazon might catch a clue.