So What’s New?

New Media and the Diaries of an Angry Shopper

Posted in Uncategorized by pmaurer74 on November 29, 2008
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There’s a sucker born every minute… wasn’t this a quote by the Ringling Brothers? I think I can identify with that right now after my 10 hours of marathon shopping yesterday. I have always looked forward to the day after Thanksgiving for shopping. The sales, the deals, the thrill of the hunt, and finally the kill. Consumers love to feel like they got a good deal. It makes them feel like good stewards, that they somehow out smarted the store. They have warm fuzzies and a feeling of good will to all mankind. Well, almost all mankind, we may exclude the person who stole our parking spot, tried to run us over with their car, or the took the last perfect gift in stock. We have all been there.

Right now I am outraged, tired, used, and abused. I have no feelings of goodwill towards these stores at all. In this era of consumers tightening their wallets, we expect more form the stores to give us reason to shop there and spend our precious, limited money. The ads this year gave me and my family no reason to go very early. I still went, after all it’s tradition right? I remember when items were on sale, you had a good chance of the item actually being in the store, that they didn’t sell the two they had in stock to the first two people camped out in front of their door at 4am. Don’t worry, I will tie this post into new media somewhere.

I got suckered into using coupons this year, I LOVE coupons. My own mini shopping pass to buy the gift of  my choosing. Spend $50, get $10 off, Save 15% off your entire purchase, Bucks, Points, VIP Passes. Armed with my minions of coupons I was really to make some good deals. However, where is this microscopic fine print? “I’m sorry but cashmere sweaters are excluded from that coupon”, “I’m sorry but this brand of purse is excluded from that sale”, “I’m sorry but you were 40 cents shy of getting the $10 off deal and no it is to be used towards one item only not the entire purchase”, “I’m sorry but the price listed on the DVD isn’t the sale price, the sale price is 4 cents off, therefore you are 2 cents short of using the $4 off coupon”, “That 40% off coupon can be used in the store, but yes we know the online price is $30 less than the in-store price so you really save nothing”, “I’m sorry but that coupon does not work with gift sets”. This happened to me several times yesterday and today. I feel like I was taken advantage of by dozens of retailers yesterday. They may have gotten more money out of me, but what did they really get? A customer who is critical of sales, deals, and coupons. I think I’ll just get people gift cards and let them hunt from now on.

Ok, so what does this have to do with new media. Now that I feel better after my diatribe, I’ll tell you. The best deals this season were through new media. On some websites you could sign up for RSS feeds that let you know up to the minute deals online at various stores. Stores have also become to smart to let shoppers buy Black Friday deals from their own computers on store websites at 4am, you just need a fast connection speed to get the deals before the run out of stock. There are several Black Friday blogs letting you know the store deals weeks before the ads come out in the paper. They also held contests and stores offered exclusive deals on some of these sites. Email marketing was also big. I had dozens of deals in my inbox everyday. The best deals I got were through the internet. Free shipping, 40% off and 30% off.

This holiday season, traditional marketing is out and new media marketing is in. In order for this consumer-retailer relationship to work. The consumer needs to feel like they got a good deal even if they didn’t. I usually love buying gifts for the people I care about and having bad feelings towards the purchase and the stores is not good for the consumer, retailer, or the economy. Perhaps next year, my shopping will be at home, on my computer, nice and warm without tired feet.

EDITED: Edited to say I spoke with my sister the day after typing this and she had a 10% off coupon good for any item in the store that wasn’t a door buster. Turns out every item in the store was a door buster item!


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