First money back from price guarantee

Asda price guarantee voucher
Asda price guarantee voucher

总是见商家讲自己的价格是最低的,如果不是,补你差价(有的甚至补差价的110%)。很久以前不知那位老师分析过,这种价格保证(Price Guarantee)的促销模型是很棒的,但我潜意识里不愿意被这种促销摆布。我认为商家有这个时间、精力搞价格保证,不如实实在在把价格降到最低;消费者有这个时间、精力去拿回这个差价,不如直接从最低售价的商家购买商品。

但是,不久前有朋友告诉我,各大超市的价格保证并不是我想的那样,是实实在在的退差价,索偿过程在线自助完成,无需找经理,无需提供竞争对手的更低售价的证据。真是活到老、学到老,我真不知道这促销形式已经进化成这样了。我之前在超市购物,浪费了多少索偿机会啊!

于是,我收集了最近在 ASDA 的四张购物凭证,上网去价格保证网站,输入交易号,竟有两张得到补偿,其中一单交易额为 £93,补偿高达 £14.49,大大出乎我意料。

看来大超市已经把价格保证落到了实处,当然要享受价格保证有少许条件限制,这些条件并不高,很容易满足,有兴趣大家去读读各超市的条约。唯一例外的是 Waitrose,不务实,只声称它的价格与 Tesco 持平,不参与价格保证行动。

I may have to leave bhost

Say good-bye
Say good-bye

前不久我的 VPS 服务商 bhost 发帖说 VPS 买一年、送一年,优惠只限一天。我虽然加了关注,但是我没有读帖的习惯,看到这则消息已是两天以后(我觉得社交网络泛滥,搞得我都没兴趣真正去关注什么,有价值的信息太少,有也被淹没了——所以我排斥社交网络,但又不得不加入之,从中制造更多的垃圾——当然啦,即使是垃圾,至少也是原创的垃圾)。

我错过了活动,甚感遗憾,但又不死心,尝试着去联系 bhost,我说我来迟了。bhost 倒很爽快,马上回复说,专为我把优惠延期到月底。我立马感受到 VIP 的待遇,心想“不枉我跟了你两年多,见人就说你的好”,也尽量不去想 bhost 是不是给所有人都延期了。

今天空下来,我想把 VPS 给续费了,顺便也把 VPS 升级了(加 2GB 内存),好好利用这买一年、送一年的优惠。没想到,bhost 的价格一下子涨了 140%(注意看,是涨了 140%,不是涨到 140%),我都怀疑是不是我眼花看错了(最近花粉症,眼睛、鼻子都不好使)。揉了揉眼睛,确实是涨了 140%。天哪,先涨价再促销的技俩怎么被外国人学会了?!我心情一下跌至谷底。

我最初试用 bhost 小心翼翼,因为它名不见经传;用过以后觉得它产品质量不比知名名牌差,而价格低一点,才开始推荐 bhost。此次 bhost 涨价,我感觉匪夷所思,一是 IT 产品只降不升,二是 bhost 涨到比知名品牌还贵。难道它羽翼已丰?

不去揣测 bhost,不想再被它忽悠,我的小心肝上上下下受不起啊。我肯定是典型的品牌忠诚度很低、价格敏感度很高的顾客,所以,是时候跟 bhost 说再见了。

Marketing cheat hurts the honesty

今天挂着 QQ,电脑右下角弹出一个浮窗,标题“易迅网”,内容“你一直想要的那件宝贝,今天特价啦!”

QQ ad trap
QQ ad trap

 

我觉得奇怪,我又不是易迅网的用户,你怎么知道我想要什么宝贝?难道易迅网使用了第三方的数据进行了数据挖掘,分析出我想要的宝贝,推荐给我?

狐疑间,我还是点了一下,发现上当,打开的不过是易迅网 8 周年疯抢活动的首页而已,根本不是为我定制的宝贝页。

Yixun marketing cheat
Yixun marketing cheat

营销方骗取了我一个点击,赚了一个 IP,应该达到它们的目的了。而我似乎没有多大损失,手指多动了一下,眼球多转了一圈而已,比起诈你密码、讹你钱财的广告要好得多。但是,这真的是一个很失败的营销,光为博眼球而撒谎。可能营销方潜意识里认为:在大谎满天飞的时代,小谎都可以忽略不计?

此类小谎充斥着整个中国的互联网。再举个例子:淘宝上很多卖二手货的,喜欢在标题上写“全新”,然后在描述中写,“货是旧的,之所以写全新,是因为……”我马虎阅读,上过当,愤慨过,但是这种标题党几乎成了淘宝的风格,搞得我都没脾气了,只是奇怪马云为什么能容忍这种风格——这最终损害的是淘宝形象啊。

中国应该从源头抓起,大小骗子一起抓,才能营造一个诚信社会。

Why those businesses treat new customers rather than retain existing customers?

I was told when I was in China that it costs 10 times more to develop a new customer than selling to a existing customer. That is why customer services are so important. Generally speaking, if a customer says to the shop owner he/she has purchased from the same shop before, he/she is implying he/she should be entitled to a kind of favourable price. On the other side, the sales person should offer bigger discount to the a customer repeating his/her purchase.

But during those years in the UK, I found many cases that many businesses did not follow this rule, especially big companies.

Some time ago, when my broadband contract was due, my first thought was renew it. I saw an advertisement that a new monthly price was less than that on my old contract. When I called the customer service asking what monthly price would it be, I was surprised to know he did not want to give me the new advertised price. He said naturally, “The new price is for new customers. You can’t get it.” But I think it is a shame of a business if a loyal customer find he/she is paying higher “VIP price” than a new customer. I threatened to leave the broadband company, but the customer service still said he could not offer me the new price. A few hours after I hang up the phone, I was called by another person from the broadband company, probably from higher level, agreed to offer me the new price if I stay. I said, “Too late. I made up my mind. You should not ask the existing customer to pay more in the first place.” I feel nothing wrong for the business to offer a discount to attract new customers, but the business should be prepared to offer the existing customers the same discount if it is not even bigger.

I buy a lot from cash and carry. The prices are increasing now and then because of inflation. But I know some businesses just increase the prices to their existing customers. I have to closely monitor the prices all the time. I feel nothing wrong if the businesses offer differential prices to various group of customers. But I do not want to treated unfair just because I am existing customer.

Tesco new customer voucher code
Tesco new customer voucher code

Sainsburys new customer voucher code
Sainsburys new customer voucher code

Today I see Tesco and Sainsburys are both offering £15 off to new customers when they do their first online grocery shop when they spend £60 or more. It is massive discount. 25% off. Is Tesco and Sainsburys gross profit that high? Will they suffer a loss for attracting new customers? But that is none of my business. What I care is how to get £15 off for my non-first £60 purchase. I have not found any public vouchers to allow me to do that. In the forum people says just open a new account to pretend as a new customer. Tesco and Sainsburys must know people are doing that way. Why they want so many new accounts? Will “Zombies” accounts help beautify these companies’ financial report? Again, it is none of my business. I just will not do business in that way.

Magento promotional free shipping does not apply to tablerate

Magento 自有的 shipping calculation 已足够强大,如果谁还说不够用,我就会说是经营上的问题。

最近我被要求做这么一件事,在一个 storeview 下,对部分商品不论金额大小,一律 free shipping。一听之下我觉得可以用 cart salesrule free shipping action 来实现,实际尝试后却发现,cart salesrule free shipping 不能对 tablerate 起作用。而 tablerate 是 frontend 唯一一个 shipping method,被设置强制选择,顾客不会被问到 choose shipping method。在这个逻辑下,如果我启用 free shipping method,checkout 就多问一个问题,老板说这不好。而 flatrate 另有他用(backend 接单时对特殊地区额外征收运费),也无法拿它来实现部分商品 free shipping。

这件事最后用一个普通 discount 抵消 shipping charge 的方式迂回解决,但解决得很别扭。我认为

  • shipping rates 是一种全局设置,就算能,也不应该为某些商品创建例外的;
  • 如果想为某些商品创建例外,那么再想一下为什么要创建例外,比如这些商品针对是一群特殊用户,如果 cross selling 对特殊用户不起作用,那就专门为他们建一个 store 或 website;
  • 新建 store 或 website 的成本与销售预期收益相比,是否值得?如果不值得,再反思一下是否值得为这些商品创建例外;
  • 自己写一个 shipping module 肯定可以实现任何稀奇古怪的 shipping rules,但写程序不是为了照顾 business 复杂化的需要。

3 international call saver coverage

With Add International Saver you can make unlimited (literately 3,000 minutes) calls from the UK to 31 destinations for £15 per month. You just need to dial 388 and then the international number. International Saver lets you call standard landline & mobile numbers in : Canada, China, Hong Kong, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Thailand and USA. You can also from the UK to standard landlines only, in Australia, Austria, Azores, Belguim, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Luxemburg, Malaysia, Maderia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, South Korea and Taiwan.

写下这个倒不是推荐用 3 来打国际电话,纯属有感而发:3 388 国际电话服务在中国人群里口口相传就成了只能打中国的电话。我心想不太会吧,一个英国公司能把市场细分到中国人群单独对待,那真是了不起。上网一查,果然,服务是全球性,只是顾客领会产品信息是过滤性的阅读,所以以讹传讹。

Dabs bundle irrelevant products together

I am searching for a high resolution LCD/LED monitor. So when dabs send me an eshot promoting Samsung 23″ Wide SM2333SW 5ms DVI TFT Gloss Black, I open it up.

I am very excited to see “Get A 2m HDMI Cable FREE! Use Bundle Option 1!” on the product page. It makes me think Samsung SM2333SW support HDMI, and stimulates me to buy it. Then suddenly I am very disappointed after reading its specifications:

Signal Input
DVI-D, VGA

Where is HDMI? No, there isn’t one. Why bundle HDMI cable with a monitor does not support HDMI? Who knows!

Make an offer of getting Y quantity of any products for free in Magento

最近我还写了一个程序,是为了一个非常特殊的促销模型写的:买 X 送 Y。具体是这样:从产品 A 组里每买 X 件,可以从另一堆产品 B 组里任选 Y 件,白送。但 B 组产品同时也是独立销售的,如果有人买了 X 件 A 组里的产品,同时买了 Y+1 件 B 组里的产品,那么其中 1 件 B 组产品不白送,该卖多少价就是多少价。

我认为 Magento 自带的促销模型已然非常强大,能用一个非常好用的 GUI 组装出千变万化的规则。无奈 my client 脑子更强大,总是想一些 Magento 天然功能以外的点子。我研究了 Magento 天然的 Buy X get Y,发现它是针对 X 和 Y 是同个产品而作的规则。论坛上也有人变通作出 buy X of product A, get Y of product B,但我这个难点是 get Y of any product from B group,meanwhile all products from B group are for sale,我想是不可能通过 Magento 自带的促销模型完成的。

设想一下,顾客购物车里有三项产品

  • product A1 from group A: Quantity X
  • product B1 from group B: Quantity Y
  • product B2 from group B: Quantity Y

因为 Magento 是逐条套用规则,再逐条套用 quote item,所以上述情况下,product B1 和 product B2 都满足规则,统统赠送。为了解决不该送的数量被送掉了的问题,必须抛弃 GUI 了,动手编程吧。还好,这个特殊规则并不难写,我写了两个小时,搞掂。

附注:不编程的话,还有一个不是办法的办法——turn product group B into a configurable product, and all the products become options。然后告诉用户,如果想得到免费赠品的话,add this configurable product to cart。但这样生添了一个 configurable product,其实这是 product group B 里产品的同质产品,同质产品却不同效应?这会给用户带来困惑,所以不可取。

Email notification best practice

我见很多购物网站花很多力气组织语言,把邮件正文用日常交流的通顺的口气写出来,以为顾客会喜欢读这样的邮件,但我认为事与愿违。在快节奏的社会里,大家阅读任何邮件时已经习惯最多扫一眼,通知邮件类似于营销邮件,能得到顾客一眼的停留亦属非常奢侈。

比如,货物发运通知:

xxx先生,

我很高兴地通知您,你的订单xxx号的货物已交由xxx物流公司隔天送达。订单项下xxx商品预定数量xxx件,因库存不足,此批发送xxx件,余下的xxx件将于xxx天后发出。

谢谢惠顾!

通知中有很多重要信息,如果写进大段的文章,客人skim阅读时认为这是“你好我好大家好”式的寒暄,往往被忽略。因此,通知还不如写成bullet mark style:

  • 订单号:xxx
  • 物流公司:xxx
  • 预计抵达:隔天
  • 预定数量:xxx件
  • 已发:xxx件
  • back order: xxx件
  • back order ETA: xxx天

当然,以上纯bullet mark格式是另一个极端。在实战中,应以bullet mark展示重要信息为基本原则,适当组织可读的礼貌用语,通知邮件才会有理想的效果。

Make best use of Godaddy Free Products

我不算一个好顾客——很挑剔,但可以算是 Google, Godaddy 和 Tesco 的忠实顾客,因为他们的产品或服务几乎无可挑剔——又扯远了。

我要讲的是如何把 Godaddy 购买域名后的免费赠品用足用好。Godaddy Free Products 有 Free Hosting, Free Blogcast 和 Free Photo Album。虽然我另租 1&1 的服务器,但 Godaddy 这么客气,我想不要浪费了人家的热忱。再说,在  Godaddy Free Products 上搞搞实验,物理上跟生产服务器隔绝,用得也心安。

只是 Godaddy Free Products 既然是免费的,同时广告也来了。拿它来建商业站点肯定是不合适的,就是自己人搞实验对着广告也烦。有没有办法去掉?我稍作搜索就有答案:可爱的 css 发挥一下

#conash3D0 {display:none; }

因为答案来得太容易,没有我发挥的空间总不心甘。于是我又想,我每装一个软件都要去改 css,太烦;有些 一键安装的产品(比如 Free Blogcast 和 Free Photo Album)也不允许我改 css,怎么办?答案是 user css。以 Mozilla Firefox 3.5.5 for Fedora 11 为例,具体做法是:

打开 /home/{myusername}/.mozilla/profile.ini,看里面说的 profile path 是什么,通常是跟 profile.ini 同级的一个目录,名字是 {randomchars}.default。

在 /home/{myusername}/.mozilla/{randomchars}.default/chrome 目录下新建一个 userContent.css,内容是:

#conash3D0 {display:none !important; }

使用 !important 只是保证这条规则的优先权,对付目前 Godaddy 的广告条,不用也可以。因为不在服务器端动手脚,恐怕 Godaddy 到死也不会意识到它的广告被屏蔽了。万一它改进 javascript 来探测广告条的 display 状况,那 user 再换一条规则:

#conash3D0 {position:absolute !important; left:-10000px !important}

也是一样效果(你的显示器不会大于 10,000 pixels 吧)。不过 Godaddy 不会有时间整天琢磨这些玩意,所以有两条规则备用足以。

以此类推,对付 Godaddy Blogcast 广告,可以使用:

iframe.adFrame, div.adBanner { display:none !important; }

对付 Godaddy Photo Album 广告,可以使用:

div#wrapper div iframe { display:none !important; }

至于其他浏览器怎么建 user css,我摘抄一段前人讲的

Internet Explorer for Windows

1. Create a .css file in a convenient location using Notepad.
2. Tools menu, Internet Options, General tab, Accessibility button.

Opera

1. Create a .css file in a convenient location using Notepad.
2. File menu, Preferences, Page Style.