Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Are you enticed by a product advertisement promising 10% off your best price?

Many people are and just as many are being hoodwinked by wily manufacturers; manufacturers who have assigned different model numbers or names to the same, identical product. They do this so that they can sell their branded product to both large discount retailers who can afford to resell those items for less, and to smaller retailers who specialize in “service.”

These marketing-savvy manufacturers know that the simple addition of the word “discount” in their advertisements guarantees sales traffic if not outright sales.

But now there are technical tools available for consumers that help them perform an “apples vs. apples” comparison of the same products on sale by competing retailers. Such websites as Nextag, Shopzilla, and Bizrate enable a shopper to find specific model numbers, the stores selling these models (both online and brick and mortar retailers), and the various prices. With their help, the potential customer can weed through the comparative features of each model and make an educated decision on whether a 10% discount off of a competitor’s best price is of any consequence.

Does a service discount entice as well?

It is my opinion that the service industry is a different animal that doesn’t lend itself to discount advertising. If you don’t agree or wonder why, consider the following:

Imagine that a same-day courier service advertised a 10% discount off the best delivery prices being offered by their competitors during a specific month. Now, try applying the apples vs. apples products comparison model to this “services” comparison discount.

I find it isn’t applicable. That is because for 50% of service customers price is the priority, but for the other 50% of customers value and performance are the deciding factors. For that group, customer service, reliability, communications, online access and reporting all come into play.

A recent presentation by one of the top pharmaceutical suppliers spoke to this exact scenario. According to the assessment, couriers who cut corners to achieve lower prices can leave customers vulnerable to fines, theft, and late deliveries.

Being cognizant of those possibilities would certainly give rise to other service questions by that courier among prospective customers. They may worry that the assigned driver often gets lost resulting in rush delivery delays. They may wonder if their assigned courier has working air conditioners for transporting sensitive medical STATs. Or, they may question if their assigned driver is the one who fails to lock his vehicle carrying their pharmaceuticals valued at $100,000. These are all legitimate concerns and all actual incidences from the courier industry’s archives.

“Personally, I believe these advertisements a 10% discount cheapens the entire courier industry” says Victor Finnegan, President of Philadelphia-based American Expediting Company.

Finnegan, who is opening four new locations over the next month, plans to promote his sites by guaranteeing better service for every month of the year, not only in the new Chicago, Hartford, Boston and West Virginia offices, but in his other 28+ locations. By promising “better” service across the board, Finnegan stands behind his Operations Team, a dedicated team of professionals committed to delivering the best value and performance of any courier in the nation at competitive prices.

So, when you’re looking for the best service and value for your important package deliveries, be “penny wise, not pound foolish,” in the words of another Philadelphian: the late Benjamin Franklin.


  1. Mr. Finnegan follows another of Dr. Franklin's sayings: "Drive thy Business, or it will drive thee"

  2. Very true Glenn. This is one of the reasons for example, for the price differential between say Apple and Dell. Industrial design aside, Dell and other PC companies reduce the price by making you "self insured" when it comes to support.

    Good writing.

    Take care