Friday, January 04, 2013

Inflating Sales ...

... deflating sales ...

December and January are the big sales times over in the UK. It's when most of the shops will try and tempt us into parting with our cash by giving good offers.

Apart from Steam and Good Old Games sales, I've been fairly restrained this time around. Sales aren't so much about offerring what we want to buy for less, it's about clearing the unwanted stock to make room for the new stuff. With software like games and music, the stock issue is fairly irrelevant. When you buy something off Steam or GOG, a copy is made of what's held on the server. There's no box to keep on the shelf, the only cost is bandwidth. But they'll do the big offers just to attract sales.

And because they don't have the need to clear out the old stock, Steam and GOG will give offers on what the customers want to buy but aren't willing to fork out the full price for.

I've been very restrained so far with sales on actual goods. It seems like what I want to get isn't what the retailers want to buy. I've not detected any worthwhile discounts for PC steering wheels or powerline networking gear, so those have stayed unsold. I'm not convinced they're worth the money for a non-essential. Apple did have a sale but it was a rather insulting 5% only reduction at the US Thanksgiving holiday and it didn't include their iPhone.

Part of sales is detecting "what will the market bear ?" If the market doesn't think they're getting value, they avoid the product. I have all of Garbage's albums except their latest, I refuse to spend >£10 on what's now a old album. However, part of that value is perceived in the brand name which is why Apple in particular can charge the prices that they do. They don't need to offer big discounts because people will buy their stuff anyway.

Or will they ?

Inside this month, I'll switch my Android mobile to an iPhone. Note that there will have been discounts on the competition ... because if all smartphones cost nothing, all the people interested in them would get the iPhone because the software is better. (Software prejudice excepted of course!) However, I'm still not convinced on the Value part of it. I'd still be getting my iPhone via my current network (3) and the prices would be :

iPhone 4s - 16GB only : £29 upfront plus £32 per month
iPhone 5 - 16GB : £99 upfront plus £34 per month
iPhone 5 - 32GB : £199 upfront plus £34 per month
iPhone 5 - 64GB : £269 upfront plus £34 per month

I'd love the 64GB iPhone because it's the one that would hold my entire iTunes library (42GB across 7808 songs). But I baulk at that pricetag. £269 is a lot for a phone, at least in my opinion. So I'm faced with a choice of either spending more cash than I'd like to (I can afford it, I just don't see the value) or downselecting tunes from the library like I do with my iPod Nano.

In this case, the market (me!) ain't bearing the cost of the most expensive version. And there's another cost that I'm not prepared to bear any more ...

Canteen at work has put all of its prices up. Which seems counterproductive as people will start bringing in stuff from the outside more. I definitely will be. What's gone up ?

Milk - 60p for 1 pint, up from 50p.
Sandwiches - now £2.40+30p for lettuce when it used to be £2.10+30p.
Pepsi - up by 5p to £1.15
Chocolate - up by 5p across the board.
Teacake - up by a whopping 30p to 80p

It's the teacake inflation that's really got me upset. My response to the inflation will be to look at alternatives to the canteen. I'd usually get my lunch on a Friday from the canteen and take it home - not any more. The car park situation means I can go past a shop on the way to the bus, so I can save cash there by buying the milk at that shop instead of the canteen.

What's it actually mean though ? £2.40 per day times 5 = £12 a week I'd spend on sandwiches (plus chocolate + drink). Now it'll be £2.70 per day times 4 = £10.80 a week.

They might be getting a little more profit per sandwich but they'll be getting less cash overall. If customers get upset they'll move on.

PS I didn't get my iPhone last night when I visited the 3 shop at the Mall ... Phoneshop Girl didn't seem too interested in persuading me into buying one ... I suspect that's because I walked in at almost 8, which I think is close to their hometime. But it does mean I'll check out the stores in the centre of Bristol before going back to the one in the Mall.
PS2 I will buy stuff if smiled at by Pretty Ladies ... but only if I intended to buy it anyway ! (That's what happened with the Npower Girl - honest)

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