The New Plague: “Appointment Sales”

Xiaomi pioneered that kind of marketing because as a small start-up they had no other choice.

Now this is beginning to spread.

We’ve seen it with the OnePlus One phone.

Then CUBE jumped in for the Talk9x tablet (and is doing it again for the white version).

Now Vido is doing it for a new seven-inch Android tablet [Google Translate].

VidoM87001

The specs: 7-inch LTPS display at 1920 x 1200, unknown octa-core MediaTek CPU with a peak frequency of 1.7Ghz (sounds like the 6592 to me), 2GBs LPDDR3 RAM, 16GBs internal storage, 5MP front and 8MP back cameras. No other specs yet released via their Weibo communique.

The specs are a step up from the Chuwi VX3, which it somewhat resembles in terms of the swooping top and bottom and narrow portrait bezels:

ChuwiVX1001

But so what?

What makes this tablet so damn hot that Vido demands people make appointments to buy it?

If I wanted to be mean, I’d point to Vido being a “cottage” company and that this is a way for them to cut their costs in a desperate manner to stay in the game.

OK, so I’m mean. Tough.

I’m pushed to be mean because “appointment sales” is not any way to create happy customers.

But it’s an ideal way to create frustrated potential customers who then look elsewhere to buy!

I’ve been monitoring the reaction to the OnePlus One phone sales and it’s been brutal. People who really loved and wanted the phone got disgusted by OnePlus’ marketing and bought other phones instead of being jerked around with what the Chinese are calling “hunger marketing” (a charge first leveled at Xiaomi).

Artificially restricting a product’s availability is not how the mass market is supposed to work, dammit.

And outside of Xiaomi — which has the advantage of pricing — and OnePlus — which has the advantage of killer specs — there’s no other product out there so “hot” that its supply should be restricted and customers should be made to wait and feel frustrated by a company that won’t take their money.

I don’t like that Xiaomi still engages in limited-supply marketing, but I understand it. Yet as they expand into other markets, they’ll eventually have to drop that tactic if they intend to be a world-class player.

Just look at Samsung. Their tablet sales haven’t been anything to brag about. Now imagine how much worse they’d be if they had restricted the supply! And Samsung doesn’t create junk. But this is how the market can sometimes react: With a big, fat “Who cares?”

Limited-supply marketing can also quickly backfire when your product is hard to get but a competitor comes out with the same specs and easy availability.

There are just about no components out there that only some companies can buy. Most parts are just commodities.

And limited-supply marketing has upstream revenge effects too.

Imagine being the head of Rockchip or MediaTek or Qualcomm and seeing your bottom-line diminish because your chip sales have been decreased by limited-supply marketing!

If I’m Rockchip, MediaTek, Qualcomm, my goal is to sell as many chips as possible.

Who would you want to partner with as a chipmaker? Someone who wants to sell a gazillion of your chips or someone who thinks their products are more “special” than even Apple and restricts the supply?

“Appointment sales” is a dumb game that can’t die soon enough.

3 Comments

Filed under Android, Marketing, Stupid

3 responses to “The New Plague: “Appointment Sales”

  1. Ric Day

    This has the “look & feel” of some marketing newbie telling the boss, “they do this, so we should also do it.”

    Dumb.

  2. E.T.

    Re Xiami’s policy and why it should change see http://www.gizmochina.com/2014/06/16/why-did-xiaomi-lower-their-prices. He also mentions double pricing but it’s not very clear what it means exactly in this context.

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