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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone,

I am feeling a little irked by something and wanted to take an opinion pole to see if it's just me. When you visit a Halloween (or otherwise) retail website and they post the "suggested retail price" or the "list price" and then show their own price... do you believe you are really getting a discount? Or do you feel like they are a total ripoff when their final price is still higher than many other retailers?

I see this over and over again when I poke around to see what the competition is up to. I have yet to see any true discounted prices, unless the item is actually on sale. 90% of manufacturers don't provide us with a suggested retail price, so retailers are just pulling these numbers out of thin air (or someplace else) and making themselves out to be the good guys offering you big savings. I have never done this because I give the general public more credit than that and I wouldn't want to portray something that isn't true.

But the fact that a ton of online retailers do this, may mean that people do fall for it and don't bother to comparison shop. So... how do you feel when you see this tactic? Do you assume the retailer is telling the truth and saving you money, or do you just ignore those numbers and still compare bottom line to bottom line?
 

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I really ignore the numbers and don't trust the retailers who give the inflated numbers to begin with.

I really love your site and I have purchased from you each of the last few years and have always had reliable, fast service and great prices. I have been very, very pleased with your site and have highly recommended it to many of my friends. Word of mouth via the internet is more valuable than inflated suggested retail prices.

Perhaps it would be nice to get a loyalty discount though.
 

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I compare prices to others on the internet, and also check what the shipping price is. However, I also google and find what their "customer service" reputation is with people who have placed an order. If customer service is bad, I will pay extra for the company who actually cares about their customer.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
A loyalty discount is not a bad idea. I actually really like that. We offer discounts at various times throughout the year during sales, but I'm not sure off the top of my head how to implement a loyal customer discount. I'm thinking a membership card of some sort? Hmmm. Any suggestions or ideas we can kick around? Ease of setup and monitoring would be a plus. I suppose we could just issue a discount code to everyone who places an order so they get savings on a return visit. I am open to suggestions.
 

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The only price I really pay attention to is the price you'd have to pay for something. After all I either have the money to pay for it or not. Every store has costs associated with it (brick and mortar or online) and I understand that businesses need to adjust pricing to cover the product, their overhead and some profit, otherwise why be in business.

I'm okay with people making some money off the product so usually look at cost to me (shipping, customer service, independent feedback and product availability factored in). I also don't like to buy from a lot of stores and give my information out to places I don't really know; so sometimes something like Paypal is nice when dealing with the unknown seller. Heck even when you know a company, stuff can even happen to you. I think twice now my family has received letters from their credit card company about info being "stolen" from very reputable stores--we live in California so thankfully we get to find out when this kind of stuff happens, unlike other states where they don't require notification. When I'm buying online from an unknown who doesn't use Paypal, I prefer ordering by phone other than online, although I like getting an email confirmation and the ability to track the shipment.

I "get" customer appreciation discounts and understand the thought behind them. It's great when you frequent a store but leaves you feeling like you are still paying more than others when you don't so I kind of don't like the two-tier pricing structure some places offer. I hate grocery stores that use those cards to give you a store discount and to track purchases and we actually seldom shop at them as a result. Like I said I don't like knowing I'm paying a higher price than someone else for the same product, just because they are willing to be tracked and I choose not to.

There are a handful of places I do like shopping at. I like their product selection, ease of seeing all the products when I'm just wanting to see what they have (surprising how many companies make this so difficult, making you jump through so many screens just to get a good overview), I will sometimes take advantage of a clearance or sale area but will buy "full" price mdse too from them. I like tracking shipments as I said, I like adequately packed products, options for payment and reasonable customer service when something goes wrong or you have a question.

I've kind of gone all over the place in commenting but essentially, no, I don't really pay attention to Suggested Retail Price.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Spookie, you make a good point. We offer fair prices year-round, we ship orders out the same day we get them (by a cut off time in the afternoon of course), we only sell what we have in stock and available to go out that day - no backorders, we take all major credit cards and Paypal, etc., etc. If we had inflated prices to begin with, offering a membership type discount would make sense, because then almost everyone would be getting that discounted price - which would really be equal to a standard everyday price without memberships.

I guess I just get annoyed when I know what the wholesale cost of an item is and I see other websites saying the "suggested" retail price is 4 times that amount, but you can save 25% by buying from them, when if fact you are still over paying. Today I saw several products on a competing website that sell for TWICE our regular retail price, yet they claim it's discounted. It just disgusts me, but maybe I should be glad... because just as I see through this bs, so do many people I'm sure. ...stepping down from soapbox now :)
 

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The Grim Reaper
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I love sites that advertise wholesale pricing and are the same price as everyones retail. I guess someone must be dumb enough to fall for it.
 

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Wunderfully Wiccaned
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I love sites that advertise wholesale pricing and are the same price as everyones retail. I guess someone must be dumb enough to fall for it.
I've run into this many times. How can "wholesale" be the same as someone else's retail? It's either wholesale OR retail. I guess if you don't speak english, then the 2 could be confused??

My latest dilemma is I am trying to buy some gossamer for part of our event, to do a canopy on the patio in the backyard, and THE SAME COMPANY has 8 different websites and phone numbers, and ALL the pricing is slightly different on each one.... You KNOW its the same company when the layout of the sites is EXACTLY the same, the only thing different is the pricing. So which site do you order from? The one that offers occasional discounts? or the one that is just cheaper from the start? It appears the shipping is the same from ALL the sites... I really don't know why a company feels the need to be deceptive like this. I've ordered from them multiple times in the past, and always get my stuff in a timely manner, but it just irks me that they do it to begin with.
 

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I often use services like MySimon.com to search for the lowest price across several retailers. I don't know if the retailers post their prices to sites like that or if the sites have bots that go out and find the best prices. May be something you could look into. My wife uses TheFind.com, but I've never used it personally.
 

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Update

I just used TheFind.com to search for a particular costume, then I checked your site and found it for more . . . That brings to mind pricematch, I always love a company that will pricematch. :D
 

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Do you assume the retailer is telling the truth and saving you money, or do you just ignore those numbers and still compare bottom line to bottom line?
I don't assume that anyone is out to save me money. They want as much of my money as they can get their hands on. I find that when stuff goes on sale, the sale price is what the item should have cost to begin with.

Another thing I hate are online stores that aren't upfront about shipping. They make you go through the process of giving all your personal info first before you get to the shipping page.
 

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Building on that, . . . if your site were to ask for a ZIP code first, then give actual prices (shipping included, maybe even tax included) on the item pages, that would be a pretty sweet feature. I hate when something says $19.99, then by the time you hit submit on the checkout page you're over $40! That junk drives me nuts.
 

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crossfit zombie
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I do compare prices.One online store last year that I found to be alot cheaper than others has started doing the suggested retail and than thier own.The prices on their stuff has went way up compared to last year.
When I shop I compare prices-compare shipping(this really irks me-inflated shipping)-and the company itself.
 

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I always look at the label on the box when I get it just to see how much of the "shipping" charge was actually a "padding" charge for the owner's wallet.
 

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I always look at the label on the box when I get it just to see how much of the "shipping" charge was actually a "padding" charge for the owner's wallet.
That truly and completely irritates me when a company charges say "$19.95" for shipping, and then puts the item in a Priority Mail Flat Rate Box for $9. It didn't cost them anything for the box, and they certainly didn't pay anyone $10 to package my order.

I run an online business (I don't own the business, I just run it), and although we ship out small items, we only charge a few cents more than actual shipping to cover the cost of packing materials.... so a Flat Rate Priority Envelope that Costs us $4.80, we charge $5.00 for to cover the bubble wrap used to package the product. We don't try to make money on shipping, thats why we sell products. We make our money from the products we sell. I don't BS my customers. When they ask if there is any way for them to get wholesale pricing, I tell them yes, and that they have to do what we did.... Get a business License, and then spend $3-5000 on each order. I also let them know exactly what the COST of the product is based on buying in those quantities. I've had exactly 2 people scoff at my markup in the last 5 years, out of thousands of customers. I truly believe in honest companies, and if a company is deceptive in how they do business, I won't work with them. Whether it's lying about the "retail" price of things, or their insane shipping prices (when you KNOW it's not that expensive to ship some of the items we order!!)

I also hate companies that take your order, and then wait 2-3 weeks before they even SHIP your items, even though they charged your credit card when you placed the order.
 

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Sorry, I guess I kind of hijacked this thread with my ranting and raving. I do hope the info is useful though. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Although we've moved off the original topic, I'd like to address the last few suggestions. On the subject of pricing... we charge a fair price and I know we are significantly less than a lot of retailers on the net on many, many items, but I have not suggested we are the absolute lowest price either. This is a business and in order to stock everything we sell, we charge a fair price to cover our expenses and payroll. Expenses include having to pay to have product shipped in, payroll for employees to check in stock and to pack and ship orders, warehouse rent, insurance on the place, shipping boxes, advertising, etc., etc. There are a lot of costs involved from start to finish.

That being said, I know of online stores who don't stock anything they sell. They drop-ship every order. So, if you never actually handle the merchandise and just take orders and pass them onto another business who fills the order, then yes you can sell for a lot less. The down side to that for the consumer is that at times you may not get your item at all, or it may not come when you need it. I get calls throughout October from people who ordered something from another store, were promised they'd get it by Halloween, only to find out at the last minute the item is unavailable or won't ship until it's too late. We happily come to the rescue and ship the item that day. :D This is definitely a case of you get what you pay for.

On the subject of price match websites... many are pay-per-click. It's another form of advertising and with all the drop-shippers out there, in many cases we won't be the lowest price so it's not the best venue for us if that's the point of the site. Some of those sites crawl the web and they pick up our products and we do get referrals from them anyway because they don't charge. I will look more into the find.com and mysimon. I think we get some referrals from thefind, but I don't know about the other.

Shipping charges... on our site we don't mark up our shipping. We use UPS and are tied directly into their system for price quotes. And right in your shopping cart you can enter your zip code and get an immediate shipping rate - before you enter any checkout data. I won't buy from a site that leaves the shipping cost as a *surprise* until the end.

As the owner of Halloween Asylum, I believe we offer an excellent overall shopping experience. I am always available to my customers to answer any questions or give suggestions about products or to help with any order problems or returns. I pride myself in offering good pricing, super fast shipping, and top notch service.

Thank you all for replying about the "suggested retail" pricing that is widely used on the net. As I thought, most people comparison shop and just look at bottom line to bottom line and ignore the supposed savings... but it's nice to have that confirmed!
 

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livin Halloween every day
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I dont believe anyone is ever going to save me money out of the goodness of thier hearts. Everyone is out to get as much of your cash as they possibly can at all times. I also believe that every time i have a chance of getting ahead a bit with my finances, something will happen to put me right back where i was.
When it comes to retailers, i do shop around before i buy anything and the retailer that offers the best price, i then check into thier reputation. If i buy from someone and they treat me fairly, then i will usually buy from them above all others.
 

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HA - I didn't know that about the price match services...interesting. Makes sense though, they gotta make money somehow.

I never thought about the drop-shippers...I should pay better attention to that, I guess. I know I've been shafted on eBay that way (sold me a full-price item, then bought it on clearance from a catalog and shipped it as a gift--the only way I knew was the other item I bought from them was sold out by the time the auction ended, so I took a really good look at what did come.)

The main thing I'd like to say is I have never ordered from HalloweenAsylum, but after reading about how you feel about your customers, and seeing that you are looking to people in this forum for opinions. I will certainly take a look at your site when I get to the point in the year where I am ready to buy.

Thanks for caring about your customers!
 
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