When recently making a purchase of our latest hosting hardware I was confronted by a great sales man who may have changed my outlook on future purchases and also showed me how I approach business and personal in a completely different way. It opened my eyes to the consumer world we live in and how we can become blind to possible benefits which are being cloaked by cost.
I will not bore you with the purchase, however, those who know me on a personal level will be able to tell you I love “a deal” and always have to see value in anything I do. It’s been like this since I was a child. Although growing up in a house owned by my parents (well the bank and my parents paid them), I was taught about how important value is. When in Asda I’m the person with two flu tablets in hand looking at the difference between store Lemsip and Asda’s own!
The purchase had been agreed directly with the distributor and I did my normal beat down of price, followed by a final round of looking at what competitors offer and taking the price down just that little more. This time to my surprise the best price was the best price and he hit me with a phrase I will not long forget “Of course you can get this cheaper now, but what will be your time cost if something goes wrong. We are the direct supplier, do you really want to have middlemen talking to us to resolve a problem?”. My mind instantly pictured how difficult it has been in the past when I’ve gone for value and a piece of hardware failed, yes it’s only my time, but what else could I have done during that time? What did I miss? What could I have missed?
What I soon realised is there was a huge disconnect between how I like to purchase and the products I like to provide for my hosting customers. When developing the products for HTTP Simple my staff analysed what else was out there in the market, one team focused on hosting cost and the other on what we needed to do in order to fast hosting with market leading security. This approach led to the price being pinned before we assessed the hosting server licensing cost and before I knew it we had Litespeed, Imunify360, CloudLinux, Expert Spam Filter etc. which became requirements rather than nice to have. We’d decided a fair price for our product and then decided what a great product would be. This was great for value and although it may have reduced for profit per customer, it seems to be working great!
When I buy I’ll Buy now, Pay (Literally) Later and when devising products I cannot stand the thought of making a customer do this. If this was to have been developed in the same way I buy we wouldn’t be sitting here right now with such a good reputation, reviews coming out of our ears. This flash cost me money as I agreed with the sales guy, signed the deal and passed over the company credit card details. What happens next time is in the lap of the gods.In the world of UK hosting we compete not only with real companies but also “summer holiday hosts”, this surprisingly is a great thing for customers as although they may buy now, pay later and end up with a
In the world of UK hosting we compete not only with real companies but also “summer holiday hosts”, this surprisingly is a great thing for customers as although they may buy now, pay later and end up with a 14 year old kid being responsible for their business website they have a huge purpose of acting as a price anchor in the industry and really help to push through innovation rather than stagnation.
The question I have for our potential customers is, would you rather buy now, pay later or look for a product that suits your needs now, provides the features you need and want, but isn’t the cheapest in the market? As I write this I’ve not long got back from Asda for headache tablets (it was the extra spend I’m sure!) comparing ingredients, but when you consider service vs product it massively influences your thinking.