Thursday, June 17, 2010

Vent: Online vs In Store

I might have to do like my friend, Garret, and make a little animated thing when I've got these vents and complaints!! I am very, very excited to announce that I have a new cell phone! I decided to take the plunge and leap into current technology by getting a smart phone. As you know, I've done some testing of Verizon phones so I've got some experience with phones like Motorola DROID, Palm Pre Plus, and HTC Incredible. I'd been trying to decide between the Palm Pre Plus and the Motorola DROID. The Pre Plus is less expensive. The DROID has a better camera, Google functionality, etc. The DROID is a better phone but is more expensive. I was willing to pay $50 for the Palm Pre Plus but not so much willing to pay $100-$150 for the DROID. So I decided this weekend was the time to take the plunge and make my choice and get my phone replaced. I do the "new every 2" program with Verizon so I knew I would get discounted pricing on these phones. I jump online and look... the DROID is listed at $150 and the Pre Plus at $50. Then I realize I'm not logged in so it isn't taking into account my "new every 2" thing. I log in. The Palm Pre Plus is now FREE after discounts and the DROID is now $50!! I can order online and have my phone in 2 days with free shipping. But I also know there are 2 official Verizon stores close by and I needed to go to Trader Joe's and one of those Verizon stores is near Trader Joe's... so... I'm so glad I called first. Online pricing and store pricing are COMPETELY different. I didn't ask what the prices would be if I came to the store. The man answered the store phone and I explained that I'm looking at phones for my "new every 2" thing and I asked if the pricing I see when logged into the website is the same as the pricing if I come to his store. He hesitates. And then says... disappointedly... "No. It isn't." If you order your product online, you get an additional discount for buying through the internet. If I worked in one of the stores... I wouldn't be too thrilled with that. I wonder if they work on commission? How does a company justify having one set of pricing here and another set there? What if I had gone and bought my phone at the store and then got online and realized I'd spent money I didn't need to spend? What if my friend goes and buys the phone at the store and I buy online and I enjoy the discounts and they don't? It just doesn't make sense to me. And I know Verizon isn't the only cell company that does this. I've heard the same about AT&T. I don't know about Sprint or other carriers. I just can't figure it out. What benefit is there to having higher priced products in your store versus online? Maybe there is a master plan to shut down all the stores? Maybe the stores are supposed to become more like help centers? Are there other business models like this and I've just missed it? I can certainly appreciate, for example, clothing stores that have a wide variety of styles and sizes that offer sale and clearance items online. And I'm inclined to go to the website before I go to the store because the store will only have on sale what it has in stock. The website has an entire warehouse of product available so the selection is better. Anyone have any insight for me on this one? By the way... totally thrilled with my decision... Motorola DROID Now... to find a great running app... Photobucket


Karen M. Peterson said...

This has been my one and only complaint against Verizon from the beginning. I love their service and have never had an issue. But I absolutely hate the price difference between internet and store sales.

But I have to say that I'm amazed I have yet to find an in store sales rep that has even tried to convince me NOT to buy for the lower price online.

Oh, the other part of this that irritates me is that you still get charged the sales tax for the full price. Last time I upgraded I got the LG Dare for the super discounted price of $70. But I paid an additional $36 in sales tax because the full retail price was over $400.

THAT is my real gripe.

Garret said...

Wow, thanks for letting us know! I'm with Verizon too. I came from Alltel. I do miss the one on one desk sales they used to do. Now it's like a fast food counter and I feel like I'm all on top of everyone's business. It cheapens the experience.

Liz, make sure the Verizon stores are COMPANY stores and not just "authorized retailers". Please lets us know if that is the price difference. I believe the call phone sales people get commission.

Sassy Salsa girl said...

Wow, I had no idea! I've never had a problem with phone pricing because my husband is a pro at finding the best deals online. That is really weird that the prices would be different. I would guess that the stores are probably functioning more as help centers, but it's still weird.

Missy Wheeler said...

Thanks for the info. We always purchase at the store, next time I think we will definitely check out prices online.

Hope you enjoy your new phone.

Liz Mays said...

What the heck? What's up with the different pricing. I'd have gone online too.

Krissy said...

I wanted to get the droid too when I'm up for upgrade, but I absolutely love my blackberry and I may stick with that. Let us know how you like the droid!!

Following (better late than never) for Tuesday Tag Along. :) I hope you decide to come and follow me back. :) I currently have a $25 Walmart gift card giveaway going on!