Price Match Policy Contains Some Risks
This week we’ve had to honour an internet price-match guarantee in ways we did not anticipate. Normally, we price match to CBD, but sometimes they send an Amazon or Chapters link to us. There’s always some margin to do this though, right?
Not this time. The product was LifeWay which is a short discount item. I know there’s a sliding scale, and because you sell children’s Sunday School curriculum, many of you get about 24-28% discount on your dated and undated curriculum. But as a small store, in a small market, we get the basic 20%, and that’s before factoring in shipping costs. (Fortunately, this one shipped with a larger order than we usually are able to place, bringing the freight costs down from what’s normally 4-6%.)
On a good day, the A-zon price is higher than the Canadian list, but not this time. Perhaps A-zon hasn’t caught up to the many dollar exchange-rate price increases at David C. Cook Canada which include, with great irony, product from David C. Cook U.S. In any event, their price was a relative bargain to our customer. We had to take a beating on this one; so tight was the margin that we had to make sure the customer was going to pay cash or debit; a credit card would have wiped out remaining margin.
Once again, Beth Moore is off my Christmas card list. Not her fault? In that case she has a terrible literary agent, or is just a pushover, or has no heart for the actual ministry of the people who retail her products. First LifeWay gave us the term, undated curriculum which was an insult to booksellers everywhere. But then, they refused to return any of the product to regular discount after recovering curriculum development costs. To this day, the Experiencing God Workbook is still a short-discount.
At least with choral music, you may lose on the performance track or the orchestration, but you get to sell the choir books. With LifeWay there’s no such bonus, and may I add, absolutely no incentive for dealers to recommend this product. None at all. (A few years back, I sent a Canadian LifeWay rep back to her car with all the conference flyers she thought I would distribute.)
So as a result, most Canadian dealers don’t think of actually carrying any of this product in inventory, and as for me and my store, we continue to order the rock bottom, bare minimum amount of Broadman & Holman product.