Waterstone's end 3 for 2 deals

I read an interesting story on The Drum this lunchtime. Book store Waterstone's is scrapping it's 3 for 2 deals on books from today and instead concentrating on discounting individual books. The offer had been running for over a decade.

It is an interesting concept and one that is surprising considering the amount of research and effectiveness case studies (particularly from behavioural economics) against the route of discounting.

Although effectively it was it's strongest performer, HMV was forced to sell Waterstone's to raise cash. For Waterstone's (now under new owners) which has been struggling with like for like sales recently, I feel it is a strange tactic to be taking. Ok I'm on the outside looking in but other than increasing sales volume when we look at how discounting affects profit and perceived value the effect can be detrimental especially to the bottom line.

Perception

I would worry about the perceived value of the brand through discounting. We as humans make irrational decisions, we are effected emotionally and because of that we will put a percieved value on products. By discounting we are saying that our products are actually worth less. We as consumers question why the goods are discounted until eventually we don't buy goods at all, waiting for them to be discounted.

Even during the recession, brands that decided not to discount were still found to be far more profitable despite selling less than brands that were discounting.

Joules is a brilliant but unfortunate example of this. A potentially brilliant brand yet I find myself being constantly plagued by discounted offers. I no longer wait to pay £32 for a polo shirt, I now wait for the sales when they are £20. I probably would have bought the polo shirt at £32 however I know that there is a considerably lower price to be found if I wait.

Instead if they had offered say FREE postage (as behaviourally we all react to FREE) I would have bought two items and they would have lost a lot less compared to discounting product.

Investing emotionally into brands, getting that perceived value stronger, is a great tactic. Lets face it, you will never see an Apple product discounted will you? Investing emotionally is also something which Richard Carrick, former CEO of MyTravel agrees with too.


#Simonstrong

Phil Jones over at race-pace.net is running a nice campaign in support of Paralympic cyclist Simon Richardson MBE.

Simon is currently critically ill in hospital following a hit and run incident with a van last week. His injuries are horrific and include a double fracture of the spine, a double pelvis break, a broken breast bone, severe lacerations to his legs and a deflated lung. This following a similar incident in 2001 which lead to him becoming a paralympian bringing home two golds and one silver at Beijing in 2008.

In support of Simon Richardson, Phil Jones has set up #simonstrong. A social media campaign which is encouraging cyclists to post pictures to a Flickr account in a show of support.

You can click here for more details or simply print and download this document, get your picture taken and send it to @roadphil on Twitter with the #simonstrong hash tag.

I wish Simon all the best and hope he makes a full recovery. The amount of pain the guy must be in must be unbelievable, especially when you consider it his second incident.

If you're a cyclist please get involved with the campaign.

Some nice ads

I have spotted a couple of ads which I think are really nice.

The first being the new Ikea ad which debuted on Saturday during X-Factor. Beautifully crafted by London ad agency Mother with post-production by Factory. The production is typically Ikea and shows the couple having a play fight before bed. I love the proposition behind this ad, reminding people to go "happy to bed". Installing Ikea furniture obviously adds to that.

The media is very well planned with spots running around the evening. The activity also an iPhone app which allows users to personalise their exact "happy to bed" time based on their sleep cycles. Brilliant!



Keeping with Mother, they also recently picked up the £25 million MoneySupermarket account and have pushed the very nice "you're so MoneySupermarket" surf ad. It's great to see them ditching Omid Dhajli which was becoming very tired. Personally I didn't get the comedy either.

I like this new approach as it allows the ad to be seasonal and for us to associate with the situation. Brilliantly crafted it touches on the joy of using the broker website, it shows a man surfing on an inflatable crocodile after saving money on his car insurance.

I love the comic touches such as the suntan being thrown onto the BBQ. Incredibly, the CGI has come under some criticism on a few message boards. Quite obviously it's a poor execution intentionally to add to the humour!





Autoglass Windscreen Replacement


This is the cause of being hit by a massive stone, driving home on Wednesday night. It meant putting in a second call to Autoglass who had only a month earlier visited me due to a smaller crack which was repaired within 15 minutes.

I must say if there is an example needed of how good customer service should be implemented and excuted then Autoglass would be it. Their customer service is refreshingly exemplary.

Getting the process rolling is incredibly easy, filling in a couple of details on the website is a breeze due to the clean layout and easy to understand illustrations. Having filled in my details I was called within the hour to have my details and a date confirmed. They liased with my insurance company.

Not only did I recieve an email confirmation on both occasions, but I recieved a text message later in the evening to remind me about the early morning appointment, giving me a number to call should their be any problems.

The following morning the fitter called me to let me know he was on his way before he left. He was doubtful it could be fitted due to the possible rain, but said he would travel over just in case it was ok. Once he arrived the weather was ok and he had a new windscreen fitted within 2 hours.

Two signatures later and he was off. Everyone I have dealt with at Autoglass has been incredibly friendly with calls returned on the minute. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them. Thanks to fitter Craig (South Manchester) for his help.