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5.24.2012

When Receiving Vouchers Become Offensive

I was actually offended this morning when I got an email from one of my favourite online craft stores announcing "Here is a 100 yen voucher from XXX" in the subject line.

100 yen... USD1.26... EUR1...RMB8...

It just isn't worth my time.

It costs me anywhere from 550 yen to 660 yen just to open the door and slide into a cab and travel 1.2km!

Sure, there are a number of things one can do with a ball of yarn, but yesterday, I bought 10 balls of imported Italian linen (92%) and polyester (8%) yarn for @148 yen per ball at DISCOUNT.

What in the bloody world am I supposed to do with 100 yen???

And to think just last week, they sent me 1,000yen!!!

Maybe it was a typographical error, but seeing the subject was enough for me NOT to click on the email to open it. But then again, I felt like opening the email and clicking on the link inside just in case they were paying someone per click... wicked me.

One of the many classic lines from "The Godfather" that all marketers love is:
"I made him an offer he couldn't resist."
But good heavens, isn't that like 101 in marketing? Sending out offers that is worth someone's time to consider?

In the brick & mortar world, consumers drive miles to go to a petrol station that offers a few yen or cents cheaper per liter petrol, when in fact, they may be consuming whatever they save vs. the local petrol station on the extra travel.

I witness many full time homemakers queuing up at the super market when items are advertised to be "the lowest price this year." With some items, I often wonder if they actually need those items that are marked down or if the sense of buying something at a bargain drives them to spend.

And thus, online purchasing behavior is probably not so different.

Hence, such "gathering" sites as NetPrice, that enable consumers to get items at lower prices if they can call on friends to buy the same item as well and enjoy benefit of scale discounts, thrive and flourish. (NetPrice existed about 8 years before Groupon and Gilt were launched... the only difference with their system is that NetPrice does not offer time limits and they do not utilize Twitter and SNS as much or at least did not until recently.)

Flash sales are here to stay, and compare and shop sites online like kakaku.com are not going away, either.

Another constant is that consumers seek "convenience" and some will even pay for it.

I am beginning to think these days that saying "consumers are increasingly time poor" is a myth.
Perhaps consumers of yesteryears had less time than we did because it took them longer to find directions and information without the Internet and mobile connectivity devices we so rely on these days.

Yes, there is now more competition for our time across different media, and our children need to do so many things now that require our help! But we are not having more children than the previous generation so even if after school or extra-curricular activity per child increased, the fact that we have less children probably make up for it.

So I firmly believe it is not so much the time, but how much something contributes to making my life easier or more convenient determines whether that something is worth my time or not.

Yes, saving money is important, but that benefit must not be outweighed by the downside of the deal (extra click? driving that extra distance? and so on). And of course, the deal has to be relevant to me for me to even consider it.

I wish somewhere, someone would finally understand and make changes to whatever database they have captured me on to reflect the fact that I am not a man looking for cheap Viagra and stop sending me emails about it. I also wish people would understand that I do NOT need English lessons. Vouchers for either are not attractive to me and I abhor the time it takes for me to delete such emails.

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