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If you have been searching for cheap office supplies online or discount stationery in your town, then at this point you’re probably feeling like you’ve stumbled onto the set of Carry On At The Circus. It’s difficult to get a read on what’s the right price to pay for pens, paper, printer ink or biscuits – particularly when you’re ordering in large quantities. Whomever your supplier is, you’re likely to achieve massive savings over high-street prices.
On the other hand, you can still find yourself paying 2-3 times over the odds. A price reduction promotion or buy-one-get-one-free offer is a warning signal, and almost certainly forms a part of a pricing strategy which will see you paying more for stationery and office supplies.
If you’re a monetary director or office administrator, you might already be clued in to the big secret – but also for the rest of us, here’s the one secret that’s going to wipe off as much as half your office supplies expenses in one swift movement:
Stop trying to find discounted office supplies – It’s not really a call to arms over quality control – for some situations, it may even be appropriate to go for the budget option as opposed to the high-end one. Nor could it be about wastage and logistical planning, although proper cost analysis is a crucial element of controlling your office budget. Rather, it’s a matter of Bayesian signalling; Gricean logic; and, ultimately, fundamental principles of pricing. Although there are complicated concepts at work, it boils down to simple human nature.
We’re hard-wired to travel right after the option with all the big shiny ‘discount’ sticker on the front – even when it’s higher priced. It’s a bizarre little quirk of the human brain, and something that’s difficult to switch off – as US retailer JC Penney discovered for their ongoing regret.
Back in 2012, the supermarket giant announced that they were putting a stop with their promotional pricing strategy, which saw everyday staples in a permanent discount. Like most supermarkets, JC Penney was artificially inflating their shelf prices before offering them an arbitrary discount. At times, a 50% discount was really a 10% increase on the recommended list price.
The incoming CEO Ron Johnson announced a shift to an alternative, ‘honest’ system of pricing with no fake discounts; two-for-one deals; coupons; prices ending in 9 or 7; or some other shifty tactics. The newest system was intended not just in lower prices, but to assist consumers make informed decisions regarding their groceries and budgets. The truth that Honourable Ron became Jobless Johnson within less than a year probably tells you how successful that strategy worked.
Customers abandoned JC Penney in hordes, some with a sense of anger over what they perceived as a betrayal; revenue and share price went into freefall; and the company quickly returned with their previous strategy of artificial markdowns. When offered the same products using a lower pricetag, customers still preferred to pay the larger price – as long as it had a discount sticker onto it.
Actually, JC Penney customers were so offended from the disastrous strategy that brand loyalty not only went down, with perceived trustworthiness falling as prices decreased; but stayed down too. The company actually issued an apology to jilted shoppers, nevertheless the customer base stayed away until prices were raised – in some cases greater than they originally were. A niche commentator had this to express:
“The bargain-hunting website dealnews has since commenced tracking prices at JC Penney. What it really has discovered is that the prices of certain items-designer furniture, specifically-have risen by 60% or even more at JC Penney almost overnight. 1 week, a side table was listed at $150; a few days later, the “everyday” price for the similar item was up to $245.”
Discount pricing strategies are basically par for the course on the high street – and, because the BBC uncovered, most of them are as arbitrary and misleading as JC Penney’s. And, in most cases, they create sense from the B2C perspective. The Chartered Institute of promoting claims that attention spans are restricted to 8 seconds, instead of the 12 seconds that they were during the early 2000s.
We live inside the information age: a arena of multitasking; 140 characters; ‘top 10 everything’; truncation and enumeration and fast food; where consumers want to make decisions quickly according to limited information. Discounting is an immediate recognisable signal which a wise purchasing decision will be made, (whether true or otherwise).
* For a person associated with B2B procurement, however, discount pricing needs to be public enemy primary.
* Unfortunately, every workplace from the local chip shop to the state of the latest York has at once or other fallen victim for the same ruses that operate in the supermarket.
* Promotional pricing strategies in the office
* It’s often said disparagingly of politicians they don’t know the buying price of a pint of milk, (or even in the case of the mayor of brand new York, the cost of a pen and paper).
In every honesty, however, none individuals do. Milk, bread, and other staples are generally far less expensive than they should be – for numerous reasons:
They may be used as being a loss leader, to draw in in customers who’ll then pay more for other things.
They may be inferior-quality versions used to undercut competitors.
They could be bundled with other items as part of an up-sell; sandwich-drink-and-snack deals at lunchtime are a great example, but you can find invisible examples like coffee strainers and coffee (or printer ink and printers).
They may be used to build trust or complacency within the shopper, who can often judge all of the prices of any retailer based on the first or most common items that they buy from them.
They could use secrets to human perception – including charm pricing (like.9 or.7); pricing under benchmarks (including £1, £5, £10 and so forth); or even just including information that looks relevant but isn’t. A thing that is advertised as “Only £1.99 once you buy 2!” may look like a price reduction, however, if the single unit costs £0.99 then it’s actually more costly.
All the tricks outlined above, used for milk and bread, apply equally well to equivalent office basics like pens and paper. You can verify that yourself with just a short while of searching – or checking your latest receipt.
In day-to-day life there’s not much we can do about this kind of obfuscation. Not many folks have time, resources or inclination to analyze and compare grocery prices with an item-by-item level – and the opportunity costs of rushing from supermarket to supermarket in the search for the cheapest potatoes by gross weight actually probably reeydf the rewards. That’s why JC Penney’s customers are slowly returning because the costs are rising.
A company facing similar purchasing options, however, has the advantage of a financial director to safeguard its decision-making process.
There’s still scope, even or perhaps particularly in age information, to possess someone on staff who can perform considered, researched procurement. Somebody who can take the time to do a proper cost analysis; engage in slow thinking; and are available to some conclusion based upon facts rather than on sound and fury.
While honesty didn’t work out so well for Ron Johnson, we at CP Office still feel that it’s both worthwhile and worth a shot. So, unlike a number of other stationers and vendors of office supplies, we choose to present an impartial cost analysis to our potential prospects, as well as the advantage of our genuinely huge discounts. With CP Office, there’s no fuss without any tricks – just a sincere discussion about what’s right for you and your office.