05. July 2008 · Comments Off on Retailers: beware big savings claims in an age of instant search · Categories: E-business · Tags:

I use the internet for many things — including researching products before I buy.

This afternoon we were looking for a cast iron, enamel dutch oven/casserole. Paul went to his favourite online site – http://everten.com.au and got prices on the shi shi stuff.

I went to an Australian dept. store chain’s web site as they claimed to be having a killer sale on cookware in their “Bargain Book”.

One item caught my eye — a Lodge enamel cast iron 6 litre casserole that was (wait for it, wait for it) $360 OFF! Yes, only $139.99!!! WOW!

I wanted to find out more about Lodge cookware, so I did a search.

Firstly, to Amazon. Where a Lodge 7 quart dutch oven (enamel, cast iron) was on sale for $US105.22 (regularly $US197.22). Hmmm. Even if shipping came to $100, still a much better deal than Harris Scarfe’s “regular price”.

However, Amazon has the economies of scale going for it. Wonder what the MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) would be? I went to the Lodge site. They are selling to the general public for $US197.95 plus shipping https://secure.lodgemfg.com/storefront/product1.asp?idProduct=4049

Hmmmmm. Argue about import costs and shipping all you like, but normally $AU500 now $1AU40?  Is there any wonder with the strong Aussie dollar at the moment that we have a trade deficit? Or, did my local retailer buy these years ago when the dollar was weak?

Sure buying locally is important and saving on shipping costs and the spectre of customs drawing your lot in the pain lottery that is customs duty — but if retailers want to compete for my dollar and, more importantly MY TRUST — they’d better start doing what more and more consumers are doing.  Do internet research before writing sales copy. Because now, no matter what argument or justification these guys put forth, I’m not buying from them.