If you’ve been searching for Cheapest School Supplies or discount stationery in the area, then right now 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 an appropriate price to cover pens, paper, printer or biscuits – specially when you’re ordering in bulk. Whomever your supplier is, you’re prone to achieve massive savings over high-street prices.
On the other hand, you are able to still wind up paying 2 to 3 times over the odds. A reduction promotion or buy-one-get-one-free offer is a warning signal, and almost certainly forms a part of a pricing strategy that will look at you paying more for stationery and office supplies.
If you’re an economic director or office administrator, you might already be clued in to the big secret – but for the remainder of us, here’s usually the one secret that’s going to wipe off just as much as half your workplace supplies expenses in just one swift movement:
Stop searching for discounted office supplies
It’s not a call to arms over quality control – for many situations, it may be also appropriate to go for your budget option rather than the high-end one. Nor could it be about wastage and logistical planning, although proper cost analysis is a vital element of managing your office budget. Rather, it’s a matter of Bayesian signalling; Gricean logic; and, ultimately, basics of pricing. Although there are complicated concepts at the job, it boils down to simple human nature.
We’re hard-wired to visit after the option with the big shiny ‘discount’ sticker on the front – even when it’s higher priced. It’s a bizarre little quirk of the brain, and one that’s challenging to turn off – as US retailer JC Penney discovered to their ongoing regret.
Back in 2012, the supermarket giant announced that they were putting an end for their promotional pricing strategy, which saw everyday staples at a permanent discount. Similar to most supermarkets, JC Penney was artificially inflating their shelf prices before providing them with an arbitrary discount. Sometimes, a 50% discount was actually a 10% increase on the recommended retail 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 any other shifty tactics. The newest system was intended not only to lower prices, but to aid consumers make informed decisions regarding their groceries and budgets. The reality that Honourable Ron became Jobless Johnson within under a year probably informs you how successful that strategy worked.
Customers abandoned JC Penney in hordes, some with a sense of anger over whatever they regarded as a betrayal; revenue and share price went into freefall; and also the company quickly returned to their previous technique of artificial markdowns. When offered the same products using a lower pricetag, customers still preferred to cover the higher price – as long as it enjoyed a discount sticker on it.
Actually, JC Penney customers were so offended by the disastrous strategy that brand loyalty not only went down, with perceived trustworthiness falling as prices decreased; but stayed down too. The sgzvks actually issued an apology to jilted shoppers, but the subscriber base stayed away until prices were raised – in some cases greater than they originally were. A business commentator had this to state:
“The bargain-hunting website dealnews has since commenced tracking prices at JC Penney. Exactly what it has discovered would be that the prices of certain items-designer furniture, specifically-have risen by 60% or more at JC Penney almost overnight. One week, a side table was listed at $150; a few days later, the “everyday” price for the same item was approximately $245.”
Discount pricing strategies are pretty much par for the course on the high-street – and, as the BBC uncovered, many of them are as arbitrary and misleading as JC Penney’s. And, typically, they create sense from a B2C perspective. The Chartered Institute of advertising claims that attention spans are limited to 8 seconds, as opposed to the 12 seconds they were during the early 2000s.
We are now living in the details age: a realm 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 definitely an immediate recognisable signal that a wise purchasing decision will be made, (whether true or otherwise not).
For somebody associated with B2B procurement, however, discount pricing should be public enemy number 1. Unfortunately, every workplace out of your local chip shop to the condition of New York City has at one time or other fallen victim towards 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 cost of a pint of milk, (or with regards to the mayor of New York, the buying price of a pen and paper). In every honesty, however, none individuals do.
Milk, bread, and other staples are generally far cheaper than they should be – for numerous reasons:
They might be used as being a loss leader, to attract in customers who’ll then pay more for other items.
They could be inferior-quality versions used to undercut competitors.
They could be bundled with some other items as part of an up-sell; sandwich-drink-and-snack deals at lunchtime are a wonderful example, but there are invisible examples like coffee strainers and coffee (or printer ink and printers).
They might be utilized to build trust or complacency in the shopper, who will often judge all the prices of the retailer based on the first or most common things that they buy from them.
They can use tricks of human perception – including charm pricing (like.9 or.7); pricing under benchmarks (like £1, £5, £10 etc); or even just including information seems relevant but isn’t. A thing that is advertised as “Only £1.99 when you buy 2!” may seem like a reduction, but if the single unit costs £0.99 then it’s actually higher priced.
Each of the tricks outlined above, used for milk and bread, apply equally well to equivalent office basics like pens and paper. You can verify that for yourself with only a few minutes of searching – or checking your most recent receipt.
In daily life there’s not a whole lot we can do about this kind of obfuscation. Not many people have enough time, resources or inclination to analyze and compare grocery prices upon an item-by-item level – as well as the opportunity costs of rushing from supermarket to supermarket in the quest for the most affordable potatoes by gross weight actually probably outweigh the rewards. That’s why JC Penney’s clients are slowly returning since the charges are rising.
A business facing similar purchasing options, however, has the benefit of an economic director to guard its decision-making process.
There’s still scope, even or perhaps particularly in age of information, to possess someone on staff who are able to perform considered, researched procurement. Someone who can spend some time to perform a proper cost analysis; engage in slow thinking; and come to your conclusion based on facts instead of on sound and fury.
While honesty didn’t work out very well for Ron Johnson, we at CP Office still feel that it’s both worthwhile and worth a try. So, unlike a number of other stationers and vendors of Wholesale Distributors, we choose to offer an impartial cost analysis to our potential customers, as well as the benefit of our genuinely huge discounts. With CP Office, there’s no fuss with no tricks – just a sincere discussion about what’s best for you and your office.