We just go with the cheapest

Posted by Paul Rose from Merchandise Mania

paul rose Now does that sound familiar to you? Certainly in the current marketplace it makes sense for people to shop around for the most competitive prices. Now I’ve spoken many times about the importance of value over price, but it seems that there are still some people in the world who just want it cheapest and so for those people, this week’s blog is dedicated to you.

The first thing you’ll notice is that it’s FREE. There you go, you simply cannot get cheaper than that short of my actually paying to read this stuff, and as I know that quite a lot of you are, I think we can all agree that that’s not going to happen.

In all seriousness, let me ask you a question. Is your company the cheapest in your industry? Now really think about that before you answer, because some of you would have instantly thought “YES! YES WE ARE AND WE’RE PROUD OF IT”.

Well newsflash – if two of you reading this are in the same industry then at least one of you is wrong.

John Lewis make a point of claiming to be “Never knowingly undersold” but the fact is that they are undersold…… regularly – and they know about it too. They don’t offer interest free credit on any of their larger purchases, so whilst their unit price might be lower, if I choose to buy something on HP, I will be paying more for it. On top of that, I know dozens of smaller merchants who are happy to charge less than John Lewis for identical items, and don’t try looking for the loopholes like delivery and installation charges – they beat them there too.

OK, let’s not turn this who blog into a knock against the mighty partnership – I actually buy things there a lot and it’s mainly because they offer me a good shopping experience; intelligent and courteous staff who actually know something about their product, as opposed to the herd of spotty monkeys currently employed in thousands of stores up and down this great nation of ours. You know the sort – they have an attitude that could curdle cream and all the enthusiasm of a box of corn plasters.

So once again – still claiming to be the cheapest? Gosh, you’re a tough nut to crack but OK, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say I’ve gone to every price comparison site, shopped on eBay and scoured the globe to beat your prices and I have failed – now that is something to shout about. That message should be on every piece of stationery, on every advert and on every piece of merchandise that you put out to the market. You don’t need to sell your services on any other level because you have the lowest prices IN THE WORLD.

Likely? No, of course it isn’t. When was the last time you visited a website which boasted those claims? And so it is that we come to the point of this blog – you don’t have the cheapest products, you don’t have the cheapest service and yet you still want to go with the cheapest marketing.

Call me crazy (and most people who know me do) but that just doesn’t make any sense. There are some very cheap pens out there but they won’t last for very long and therefore, what message are you sending when you offer them to your customers? “We’re cheap but hey – you get what you pay for right?” Not a campaign I imagine happening any time soon is it?

You don’t drive the cheapest car. You don’t live in the cheapest house. You don’t wear the cheapest clothes, sleep in the cheapest bed, eat the cheapest food, watch the cheapest TV or read the cheapest books. You may well have worked to a budget but what was key when you started shopping for anything was that you had a choice – you based your decision on more than just price. Can you imagine what your life would be like if you were always just offered the cheapest option available? You’d be living in a tent somewhere eating Tesco Value baked beans straight out of the tin.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The cheapest option is to not buy anything at all. If you don’t believe in the value of a good promotional campaign then just don’t do one – keep your money and let your competitors get out there and steal a few more of your clients away from you.

Think about it while you enjoy the sunshine – that’s free too!

Posted by Paul Rose from Merchandise Mania in the UK. To visit Paul’s blog : paulsmania.blogspot.com