Another day another social media campaign, this one in the shape of the tweet deal, but with a Price-drop tv component thrown in. For those not versed in the life-vacuum that is UK daytime television, Price-Drop TV is a daytime shopping channel with products sold by a form of Dutch Auction where the price decreases until the limited number of units are sold. The descending-price structure of these auctions increases competition among bidders and makes acting fast a necessity.
Former Copelander Amanda pointed me at a current Twitter based version for Japanese clothing chain Uniqlo, where the more tweets mentioning the brand and product, the lower the price.
Sounds great right? The consumer determines the price of the product, but this type of promotion always leave me questioning the actual value of what I’m being offered, and in turn, the quality of the brand. In this instance a Premium Down Ultra Light Parka is offered for $59.99. Switching off my cynical marketing filter for a moment, this sounds ok for a premium down-filled product, but on the promotion landing page for this particular product we can see that the company is willing to reduce the price to $19.99. Perhaps this is genuine social media transparency, but assuming they’re still making a profit at the lower price point then what that tells me is that their products are marked up by over 200% as a matter of course.
I then start questioning is it really a premium product? What kind of down is it filled with? Pigeon down?
Switching the cynic filter back on, I’m pretty sure most consumers are savvy enough to realise that retail markups are in this range, but we don’t want it pointed out to us, especially when the price might settle somewhere above the minimum and we’re asked to pay more than we know the retailer will accept.
Maybe this is purely an exercise in using social media to extend reach at the expense of profit, but what does the company gain by trading product quality, brand perception and – with backgrounds to each item containing test and suspicious consumer tweets – integrity as well as profit?