Is a Deal Really that Exclusive?

Next week marks Amazon Prime Day, where the online retailer pulls out all the stops on the best deals of the year across the Amazon platform.  Last year Amazon generated an impressive US$11.9 billion in global sales on Prime Day.  Like all sales, whether it be Prime, Black Friday or Boxing Day, the concept of a single day sale seems a little cloudy and we now have Boxing Week and “pre-sales” to the sales day.  This of course defeats the purpose of a single day sale, by taking away the urgency that a deal may slip through your hands.  Amazon however, is pretty good at keeping the sale to a single day, but that doesn’t stop manufacturer’s from sending out press releases announcing what will be on sale on Amazon Prime Day, which of course all but guarantees that any sales for competing retailers on that Sku will all but dry up, unless of course the manufacturer offers the same deal to other retailers to keep the peace (nudge nudge, wink wink…), again this sort of defeats the point of a retailer specific sale.

So far, the biggest discount shared via a press release to our office goes to Sennheiser, who has announced two special edition headphones available for up to 50% off the original price on Amazon Prime Day. The CX PLUS SE and HD 599 SE are the headphones that will be on sale in both the US and Canadian markets starting July 12thuntil July 13th. In the United States, the CX PLUS SE and HD 599 SE will be featured as Spotlight Deals on July 13th and will be available for 45% and 50% off the original prices. In the Canadian market, the sale price for both the CX PLUS SE and HD 499 will be on sale for 48% and 50% off the original pricing. And that’s the rub, when does a retailer ever offer a price at original pricing and what actually makes the headphone a special edition (SE) – is it the colour that’s only available to one retailer?  Tricks of the trade!!

While Bay Bloor Radio is showing the Sennheiser 599 (non-SE) as out of stock, the headphones are on sale for $199.95 a savings of $50 off original price. That’s the same price that Best Buy is offering and also today’s price on Amazon.  For the SE version, which looks to mean in black instead of silver or ivory, the Amazon cost today is $329. We will have to wait until July 12th to see what the Sennheiser 599 SE’s sell for, but my guess it will pretty close to what the silver version is selling for now.

Retail is a funny thing, we talk about service and selection and creating pleasing environments as a reason to build consumer loyalty but in the end, all that is really being sold is price.