As we wrote a short time ago, companies are not always transparent or honest when they say an item is ‘on sale’ when it really is not: “Unfortunately, many retailers misuse the term ‘sale.’ And shoppers are often persuaded that a product is on sale even when it isn’t.” According to Evans and Berman’s Marketing in the 21st Century: Price advertising guidelines have been set by the FTC and trade associations such as the Better Business Bureau. The FTC’s guidelines set standards of permissible conduct in these categories.”
STILL not convinced that all ‘sales’ really are sales?
Then, consider these observations from David Streitfeld, writing for the NY Times:
“The perception of a bargain is fostered by online retailers’ use of something variously labeled list price, suggested price, reference price, or manufacturer’s suggested retail price. Whatever its name, the implication is that people are paying much more somewhere else. But with many products online, you could not pay the list price even if you wanted to. That is because hardly anyone is actually charging it. It is a sales tactic that is drawing legal scrutiny, as well as prompting questions about the integrity of E-commerce. If everyone is getting a deal, is anyone really getting a deal?”
“Here is one recent example of how retailers use list prices to motivate online buyers: Le Creuset’s iron-handle skillet, 11 ¾ inches wide and cherry in color. Amazon said that it would knock $60 off the $260 list price to sell the skillet for $200. Sounds like a bargain, the sort of deal that has helped propel Amazon to over $100 billion in annual revenue. Check around, though. The suggested price for the skillet at Williams-Sonoma.com is $285, but customers can buy it for $200. At AllModern.com, the list price is $250 but its sale price is $200. AtCutleryandMore.com, the list price is $285 and the sale price is $200. An additional 15 or so online retailers charge $200. On Le Creuset’s own site, it sells the pan for $200.”
Click the image to read more from the NYT.