Wondering Out Loud

This isn’t about social media, it’s just something that strikes me odd

Target sent me an email with a great headline – they were having “the biggest iPod sale of the season. My 2nd generation Nano is getting a bit long in the tooth and I’ve been thinking about replacing it, but haven’t had the motivation. In my world, a price reduction can be very motivating (I hate paying retail prices).

So I clicked on the link that took me to the iPod Touch page. If I’m going to replace my little 2GB Nano, I figured I do it in style. Upon arrival I was presented with thee choices of 3rd gen Touches; 8GB, 16GB and 32GB. Each had the retail price displayed with a lovely red line running through it. Below each was a link that read “see low price.”

What is the deal with that?

I’m from the school that says your visitors should be required to click as few times as necessary to reach their destination. Unless Target was having one hell of a sale – 30% off or more – there is no reason to hide the price.  In this case it was 8% on the 8GB and 10% on each of the others. It was opening a Christmas present to find you aunt knitted you a 3 armed sweater.

By no means is Target the only retailer doing this. I’ve seen the same practice from other online retailers. What prompted me to post about it, however, is that iPods rarely go on sale and I was really hoping to score a Bonanza (that’s what my friends and I called a great find when we rifled through the Rag Stock bins in the 80’s. That was when the only Rag Stock store was a dusty warehouse in DT Mpls.). I’m sure there’s a really good reason, based on all kinds of psychoanalytical studies of buying behaviors, retailers feel the need to hide “special” prices from consumers. But here’s a piece of advice from this consumer..



March 31, 2010 - Posted by | Marketing | , , , , ,


  1. Amen to that. Amazon does this A LOT. They take it one step further by making you add it to the shopping cart to see the price. There is no reason to do that.

    Comment by Clay | March 31, 2010 | Reply

  2. Just to provide some insight on this, I’ve seen this happen (NewEgg has to do this sometimes to their sale prices) because of contracts with the manufacturer. So while I’ll echo your sentiment of “KNOCK IT OFF!” I will be directing mine towards Apple(and every other manufacturer that requires this asinine practice), and not Target.

    Comment by Web Guy | March 31, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks for the clarification, Web Guy. I’m with you that it’s an asinine practice and, in the end, what good does it really do? Making one click 3 times for a 10% discount only serves to discourage the consumer and drive them away.

      Comment by Mark Palony | March 31, 2010 | Reply

  3. Here is a link to Amazon.com’s site as to why they can’t show these type of advertised prices: http://tinyurl.com/n9boc4, which is typical for the industry.

    Comment by Matt Storlie | March 31, 2010 | Reply

    • Typical and nonsense, as well. IMO it’s treating consumers like children.

      Comment by Mark Palony | March 31, 2010 | Reply

      • I’m not condoning it, just illustrating why they substantiate have to do it. Maybe they can come up with a better way of doing it, or the manufacturers can do away with minimum advertised prices. I’m with Web Guy, get mad at the manufacturers for forcing retailers into this practice. I haven’t seen an online retailer get around it any other way.

        Comment by Matt Storlie | March 31, 2010

      • You and Web Guy have talked me in from the ledge. I shall rechannel my anger and get on with life.

        Comment by Mark Palony | March 31, 2010

      • Turn that frown upside down! 🙂 Cheers.

        Comment by Matt Storlie | March 31, 2010

  4. As others have said, this is a manufacturer-driven issue, due to minimum advertised pricing (MAP). Retailers receive advertising support dollars from manufacturers — in order to get the cash, retailers need to abide by MAP.

    Before the interwebz, MAP was easy for retailers: run ads at MAP pricing, then display any in-store pricing you’d like*. The idea was that low prices in ads would lower everyone’s margins, and no one can afford that.

    Then the internet came along. Online prices look an awful lot like advertising, so manufacturers placed special MAP rules for ecom sites.

    Now that it appears this crazy internet fad isn’t dying off anytime soon, it’s time to find a better solution.

    * Meanwhile, Bose & Apple both participate in “Unilateral Pricing” policies on select products. Unilateral pricing goes way beyond the restrictions of MAP – it actually requires that retailers sell products at a certain price in order to receive shipments. I don’t get how that isn’t illegal.

    Comment by Ginger | March 31, 2010 | Reply

    • Thank you for the education, Ginger. I appreciate the information and agree it is time to find a new solution.

      Comment by Mark Palony | April 1, 2010 | Reply

  5. […] Mark Palony is annoyed that retailers hide prices online (so am I) […]

    Pingback by Minnesota Monday – Communications Bloggers Posts From The Week Ending 04/04/10 | e-Strategy Internet Marketing Blog | April 5, 2010 | Reply

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