January 27, 2015

Describe How You Would Fix This Problem For Brookstone

Please describe how you would solve this problem for Brookstone.

Brookstone spends $$$ to send a catalog. Brookstone creates demand with their catalog - demand for a Fitbit. So, the customer visits Brookstone's website. Here's what the customer sees:

Ok, $99.95, and free shipping on orders over $50. So far, I like that. And the item is likely the same price in-store as online.

But is $99.95 the best price? I don't know. Let's consult Google.

Clearly, Amazon is squatting on the item, and at least Brookstone appears in the pricing list, but Brookstone isn't the cheapest price. Oh oh. So let's assume that the customer clicks on the list of available retailers.

Look at that ... L.L. Bean has free shipping and no sales tax, whereas Brookstone is required to charge sales tax. Now, it doesn't matter that Google calculates sales tax incorrectly, the signal has been processed in my brain - I save close to $10 buying the item from L.L. Bean than by buying the item from Brookstone.

Finally, before buying the item from L.L. Bean, I really should check Amazon, shouldn't I?

Oh, look, I'm an Amazon Prime customer, so I pay $96, free shipping, and if I am in a state where Amazon doesn't have a presence, I don't pay sales tax, do I?

My best bet, if Amazon does not have a presence in my state, is to buy the item from Amazon ... $96, and the item will be here in two days.

My best bet, if Amazon does have a presence in my state, is to buy the item from L.L. Bean, assuming they don't have a presence in my state (they don't) ... $99.95, and the item will probably be here in five-ish days.

Brookstone, the company that spent the marketing dollars on a catalog and email marketing and retargeting and search and shopping comparison engines and spent capital on physical stores ... well, Brookstone spent all that money to drive my order to either L.L. Bean or Amazon.

If you are Brookstone, what do you do to obtain this order, an order that Brookstone created? Because it is clear that no amount of omnichannel strategy, whatsoever, will drive Brookstone down to the lowest price on this item.


How would you, if you worked at Brookstone, combat this issue? What kind of omnichannel strategy can you craft to defeat this problem.