So now that April is over I’d like to talk a little bit about price discounting.
In March DriveThruRPG has a GM’s Day sale and like many of their sales prices are 20% off the retail price. March came and went and we sold 11 titles.
I have two bundles on Starships that we sell, the first one is about 30% off the retail price, but you buy 12 ships at once. 20% sales hit and the bundle doesn’t change because the regular price is cheaper. People can still buy individual books at the sale price if they want to.
There are many items we sell with a huge number of copies in people’s wishlists. Due to the new EU privacy law I can’t contact people who haven’t already bought from me. However DriveThruRPG has a 20% sale and it doesn’t move the needle. I have 30% daily special on the bundle which is in dozens of people’s wishlists and the needle doesn’t budge.
Talk about the April 1st sale.
On April 1st I created a bundle with all of the Evil Robot Games books that have been produced for the Galaxy Pirates line since 2017 and I priced them at $30 which is what a lot of Pathfinder bundles seem to go to from other third-party publishers with a total retail price of $105 this is more than a 70% discount. We sold 37 of them in less than two weeks.
So my ideal sale price is somewhere between 30% discount and a 70% discount. The more concerning thing is I now have more products in a wish list status than when the sale started we didn’t alleviate any of the pent-up demand we actually increased it.
My other concern as I will illustrate with a retail example from my life is, have I permanently harmed the pricing of my brand.
Three wick candles
So my wife likes these three wick candles from Bath and body works they retail for $30 and often they are on sale for $12 and probably once or twice a year they are on a inventory clearing $9 sale. So I asked my wife would she ever by one for $30 and she says no.
So then I asked her if this is the $30 candle a $12 candle or a $9 candle. She says it’s a $12 candle.
Bath & body works is almost infamous for sending 20% discount coupons to its customers now if you weren’t going to buy something 20% might still not get you in the door but if you were already going to buy something 20% is okay and for them it probably gets some foot traffic into their stores.
I firmly believe that they’re either setting the price on the $30 candle artificially high or that their deep discounting practices have permanently harmed their prices in the head of the consumer that it is only worth a third or less of their advertised price.
Back to RPGs
So DriveThruRPG has several 20% sales during the year, this will lead your frugal shoppers to wait for the sale. They’ve baked the 20% into their thinking.
You have other customers buying new products the day they come out and maybe picking up old products on impulse. The price discounting probably doesn’t affect them.
There is term in marketing the value proposition and that what you’re getting for the money. People selling hundreds of dollars in product for just under $30. This seems like an incredible deal and it probably is in terms of RPGs. There are more factors in a sales sheet, the offer, the benefits, your sales copy should get the buyer thinking about how much better their game is going to be with your product.
None of that happened.
I spent hundreds of dollars putting ads in from on tens of thousands of gamers in April. According to DriveThruRPG all of my sales came through the front page of their website. Since I used my affiliate ID in my ads and social media posts I received about 5% of the overall sales in my affiliate account. I should have made better source tags for identifying the sales, but the affiliate cut of sales tells me that a lot of people came there following my link.
After this was over another publisher told me that they use Bit.ly links in order to get better tracking of who is clicking links from where.
Unfortunately there are a lot of questions and lessons learned here, but not a clear direction yet. I hope some of these nuggets inform others struggling with the same issues.