Sometimes I’d like to be a fly on the wall and listen to the business meetings at Amazon’s main headquarters, where there must be dozens of brilliant marketing ideas bantered around. Whether they come directly from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is unknown. However, he must have an excellent think tank on the payroll who can pass on better ways to serve customers through the company while also enticing long-time customers to spend money. I’ve watched and studied this clever process work for the last ten years, with everything from their $25 free shipping service to expanding into an online department store and then to the increasing popularity of their e-book Kindle. Because they understand the psychology of people, they really dug deep into the inevitable failure of HD-DVD and the failure of the public to notice in advance.
The Importance of Knowing What Is the Traditional Consumer Decision Making Process
Amazon’s marketing and sales teams have clearly studied the traditional ways that consumers make their purchasing decisions. Using this information, they devised a brilliant strategy before the HD-DVD player became obsolete.
In what seems to be a simple marketing method, Amazon offered $50 to anyone who bought an HD-DVD player through their store. Using some clever words, they didn’t hasten to mention in the same sentence that they also offer good deals on Blu-Ray players and HDTVs where you could put that $50 to good use. But of course, $50 only pays for barely a fraction of the price of an HDTV and barely a quarter of a good-quality Blu-Ray player. The psychological aspects of getting rebates, though, are always the keys to spending it on something else quickly.
Even Obvious Tactics Work Sometimes
Of course, so many people are astute now to crafty marketing procedures that it probably makes it hard to come up with something that doesn’t get noticed as ultimately benefiting the company over the consumer. The biggest complaint from watchdog groups is that the consumer who somehow thought HD-DVD was going to beat Blu-Ray in that short-lived hi-def war should have known better. Then the counterargument from those who bought HD-DVD players usually is that they didn’t buy their player thinking it’d ultimately win in the format war. They just bought them because they thought they had better features and pictures than Blu-Ray.
Other Tactics Amazon Employs
Nevertheless, let’s not forget that Amazon does have the best prices for electronics items anywhere in America. Some of their marketing inventions make you tempted to shop there instead of heading over to Best Buy.
Super Saver Shipping, product bundles, and discounts
One of the cleverest methods Amazon.com ever invented to give consumers the feeling that they’re saving money is the Super Saver Shipping method for all orders over $25. The catch, of course, is that it takes twice as long to ship an item to you that way. If you’re not in any hurry, it really can’t be beaten. Even so, how many people end up spending a lot more in the long run just to feel they’re saving money on shipping? In the case of buying electronics, when you see that you usually have to purchase more than just one item when buying a DVD player or HDTV–you’re only helping Amazon make a bigger profit. And when the totals of adding more products to your order are on the page, it still looks like you’re getting a bargain.
That bundling method of visually showing you the total of adding more to your initial order is also one of the greatest psychological marketing methods ever created and endlessly copied online now. Amazon knows all too well that one item connects to another that connects to another, ad infinitum. Another example on Amazon’s main page was their popular price on a certain Samsung LCD digital TV and providing a deal where you could get a free Samsung up-scale DVD player with it if you buy that particular TV. Who could resist that? Plus, you have to buy HDMI cables and probably a few other peripherals.
Amazon probably heard a lot of cash register bells during this offer; especially because that particular Samsung TV was $300 cheaper than the average price in other retail stores.
There isn’t any doubt that Amazon’s prices are better than any other store around unless you intend to buy your electronics items used. In the long run, though, most people probably find themselves spending more money at Amazon than they intended – all because Amazon uses the power of suggestion marketing. Customers think they’re saving money, which technically they could – if they just stick with one item.
If we were a fly on the wall at Amazon’s secret business meetings–maybe we’d overhear them planning to sell discounted gas soon as well as everything else they already offer. Super Saver shipping on a large, discounted container of unleaded fuel sent to your mailbox doesn’t sound all that bad.