Sunday, 2 February 2014

The price of paint

Jackson's Art Pricewatch Scheme is the sort of marketing effort by art supplies companies which impresses me. 

Jackson's Art website page for the Pricewatch Scheme

Pricewatch Scheme

Our dedicated team of price watchers will constantly check our online competitor’s prices for the most popular branded art materials so that we can guarantee that the lowest prices can always be found at
I'm a committed buyer of goods from John Lewis and one of the reasons I do is because they promise to match the price of the same goods on sale somewhere else so that they always offer the lowest price on normal (ie not clearance) stock.

A commitment from art supplies companies to introduce a price watch comparison service has been long overdue.

The Jacksons scheme is not perfect.  They've picked popular products and very reasonably have matched it against "competitor websites chosen on the first search results for the term ‘art supplies’ on"

Which means it doesn't cover every product and it doesn't cover every competitor - but it's a start.

It could also mean that art supplies companies start to look very carefully at the price they're charging and introduce a bit more competition into the marketplace.

However, one might be forgiven for not being aware that the system actually exists.  They don't exactly shout about it on the front page of their website!

In fact, it's new and if I hadn't read their 24th January blog post Price Watch scheme I wouldn't have known anything about it.

To my mind, the quality of this scheme will depend on reliable reporting and updating of prices across the board. I could imagine other art suppliers becoming very annoyed and even litigious if their prices are misrepresented in anyway - that's if the Trading Standards people don't get there first!

My conclusion is that it's good to see somebody trying this approach - let's see how it works in practice before arriving at any conclusions about the scheme as a whole.

Cost of shipping

My normal caution to individual artists when comparing prices for art materials is 'ALWAYS look at the cost of shipping' because of the scope for suppliers to balance losses on cutprice goods with premiums on shipping costs.  I've certainly spotted suppliers in the past who have operated according to this strategy.

In this instance I note Jackson's Shipping Information indicates all shipping - at UK standard postage rates - is free once you've topped £39.  The usual sort of premiums apply to the Islands and Ireland.


jane said...

erm, the usual sort of premiums do not apply to the islands - I started using Jacksons when I lived in Kirkwall, as postage was free over £39, and no extra mark up below this. It was the only art materials supplier for which this was true. Don't know if that is still the case, though!

Making A Mark said...

I'm sure when I was looking yesterday that there is a premium now

Yes - just checked £7 for Islands over £39 and free over £85

Anonymous said...

Surprised to hear you going with the "The usual sort of premiums apply to the Islands and Ireland." as if this were okay. Royal Mail prices are universal, and charging a premium to post a tube of paint or brush north is a ripoff. Too many "free UK shipping" instances stop at Glasgow. GreatArt charge £15 (!) extra. Jacksons are to be commended for their shipping policies, which does include price and weight points at which Highlands gets free shipping. And their great customer service.

Making A Mark said...

By usual I'm merely referencing the practice I see on virtually every online website where you can order deliveries to your home

It wast no sort of comment - as you seem to be suggesting - on whether or not the practice is fair.

It was merely highlighting that it happens very frequently.

Do bear in mind that not all retailers use Royal Mail and/or ParcelForce - with good reason some may suggest.

Instead a number of retailers trust their goods to couriers who do charge a premium. In which case they are merely passing on the premium.

A lot of retailers also do whatJackson's do and identify pricepoints at which shipping is free.

It's the customer's choice as to which retailer they buy from AFTER they have factored in the cost of shipping.

My recommendation stands - ALWAYS check on what the total cost is including shipping BEFORE placing an order.

I also recommend using suppliers who pack their goods well and use reliable means to transport them. :)

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