HobbyKing.com New Products Flash Sale
Reply
Thread Tools
Old Nov 02, 2012, 11:28 PM
Registered Loser
Canada, BC, Central Okanagan H
Joined Jun 2010
3,251 Posts
Discussion
US Warehouse pricing... fantastic deals and horrible rip-offs

NOTE: I've updated this post with correct information once "in-cart" pricing was accounted for. I've kept the original wording, for the most part... just changed the products and figures accordingly

I was putting together an order at HK USA and I started to notice the pricing differences between the products at the US warehouse and the same product at the international warehouse. For most of the products, the difference is small and understandable. Afterall, it has to be shipped from China to the US warehouse and overhead in the US is undoubtedly higher than in China... so sure, I'd expect it to be higher. But a few items caught my eye that just made no sense.

So I got curious...and creative. I ended up writing a script that cursed through every since item in the US warehouse and logged its price as well as the corresponding price at the Hong Kong warehouse (all prices as a "Platinum" member). It took about 10 minutes for me to write the script, and about 4 hours for my computer to chew through all the data... but the results were interesting.

The "best deal" at the US warehouse?


This puppy costs 40.6% LESS at the US warehouse than in China. Go figure. It turns out there are 10 products that are at least 25% cheaper at the US warehouse!

The worst "deal"? Well, percentage-wise... that's a clear "winner"...



Yikes! Americans pay a 84% premium over the Chinese warehouse price! Anyone else want to join me in a resounding "holy crap!"? Still, that amounts to only 42 cents because of what it is. The next worst deal:



This simple quad frame costs 56.8% more at the US warehouse. Why?

OK, that's still fairly insignificant because we're talking low dollars... so something more substantial dollar-wise:



Buy that plane at the US warehouse and you've thrown out an extra $72.46 (36.7%) vs. buying it from the Int'l warehouse. Granted, its 6.135Kg which will cost $81.74 in shipping (but you'd be able to add another 865 grams to the order without further shipping costs), but even factoring that in... will the US warehouse ship that plane to your address for less than $9.28? If not, its still cheaper to order from the Chinese warehouse.

And its not a quirk! A full 54 items cost at least 25% more in the US warehouse (but only 3 are 50% or more).

I'm sure most people would never put in the effort I did... but it would be nice if the vendor could put a little thought into their pricing, no?

- Steven

ps/edit: after re-doing the numbers to account for in-cart pricing, it is still bad, but not as bad. I probably would have toned down some of my verbiage a little had I written this with the true pricing in mind. Its still applies... and its still not great. I'm not complaining that prices are too high, but rather they're just all over the place. High or low for seemingly no rhyme nor reason. I was initially going to post the full list, but it was a lot of time and work to generate it, most of the responses got off-track so it doesn't seem like anyone's really as interested as I am, and it would take more work to format it... so I leave you to your own devices. Lesson: look carefully!
s_mack is offline Find More Posts by s_mack
Last edited by s_mack; Nov 05, 2012 at 02:31 PM.
Reply With Quote
Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Old Nov 02, 2012, 11:51 PM
Merry xmas
KCV6's Avatar
Australia, SA, Edinburgh
Joined Aug 2009
5,855 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by s_mack View Post
I was putting together an order at HK USA and I started to notice the pricing differences between the products at the US warehouse and the same product at the international warehouse. For most of the products, the difference is small and understandable. Afterall, it has to be shipped from China to the US warehouse and overhead in the US is undoubtedly higher than in China... so sure, I'd expect it to be higher. But a few items caught my eye that just made no sense.

So I got curious...and creative. I ended up writing a script that cursed through every since item in the US warehouse and logged its price as well as the corresponding price at the Hong Kong warehouse (all prices as a "Platinum" member). It took about 10 minutes for me to write the script, and about 4 hours for my computer to chew through all the data... but the results were interesting.

The "best deal" at the US warehouse?

Pic of boat

This puppy costs 55.7% LESS at the US warehouse than in China. Go figure. It turns out there are 11 products that are at least 25% cheaper at the US warehouse!

The worst "deal"? That's a clear "winner"...

pic of E-logger V4

Yikes! Americans pay a 96.5% premium over the Chinese warehouse price! Anyone else want to join me in a resounding "holy crap!"?

The two examples above show just how little thought is put into the relative pricing. We'd expect the EXACT opposite! A heavy item like that monster board would have cost a lot to get to the US from China even on a slow boat, while that Eagletree weighs a matter of grams and could be sent for about a dollar via airmail. Now, maybe the boat is made in the US.. I don't know... that would explain that one, but I can't dream up any world where it makes sense to pay double for that logger!

And its not a quirk! A full 56 items cost at least 25% more in the US warehouse (but only 5 are 50% or more).

I'm sure most people would never put in the effort I did... but it would be nice if the vendor could put a little thought into their pricing, no?

- Steven
Nope they are all actually fairly good deals.

Go repeat the process and add the item to your cart and see what the price is

e-logger V4 US Warehouse, $47.53 once in cart. (normal price not logged in and added to cart $50.23)

e-logger V4 International, $49.99 once in cart.

The prices on lots of items are dependant on membership level. Always pays to add it to the cart and check what the actual buy price is.

A bit of advice for anyone putting an order together, make sure you actually put it in the cart as you go so you get the actual price including any discounts and not just the listed price before adding to cart.

Cheers. Mark
KCV6 is offline Find More Posts by KCV6
Last edited by KCV6; Nov 03, 2012 at 12:01 AM.
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 03, 2012, 12:03 AM
Registered Loser
Canada, BC, Central Okanagan H
Joined Jun 2010
3,251 Posts
I just came back to post that its cheaper once in the cart...

but that has nothing to do with your membership level. That's a glitch, I would think, between what's displayed on their front end and what is calculated in their back end. I'm logged in when I'm looking at the product so it should be showing me MY price, and that is in fact the case on the majority of products.

I'll try to tweak my script to get the true added-to-cart price.

But again, it has nothing to do with membership status. Even a non member gets a much better price in cart than is displayed. Kind of stupid to show a SIGNIFICANTLY higher price that's going to just serve to turn the customer off. It has to be a coding mistake. The only conceivable non-mistake reason would be if they have a contract with certain manufacturers to not display below a certain price, but a) that's never the case with Chinese vendors anyway and b) if that were the case, at the very least they'd do what Amazon does in those situations and TELL THE CUSTOMER.
s_mack is offline Find More Posts by s_mack
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 03, 2012, 12:07 AM
Registered Loser
Canada, BC, Central Okanagan H
Joined Jun 2010
3,251 Posts
In fact both of the examples I posted above are ass-backwards once you get them in your cart (the boat is even cheaper @ $177 in China, as one would expect, despite being advertised > $400).

So yeah, just ignore my "discovery" until I tweak my script.
s_mack is offline Find More Posts by s_mack
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 03, 2012, 12:23 AM
Merry xmas
KCV6's Avatar
Australia, SA, Edinburgh
Joined Aug 2009
5,855 Posts
I suspect it's the old "curiosity" and "word of mouth" bit. It gets people to add stuff rather than simply browse a price. Sure Some will see the price and move along, but some will hear that it was cheaper and investigate further. They do actually mention down by the price the old "further discounts to logged in and registered customers".

The world of advertising, gotta love it.

Mark
KCV6 is offline Find More Posts by KCV6
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 03, 2012, 12:51 AM
Registered Loser
Canada, BC, Central Okanagan H
Joined Jun 2010
3,251 Posts
Again, it has nothing to do with being logged in and registered.

Look for yourself. Logged in and registered you STILL SEE THE HIGHER PRICE until you add it to your cart. And for the very odd person that's going to "hear" that its actually lower... won't make up for the many that say "screw that" and never bother. I mean come on... advertised for $433 and drops down to $177 when you add it to your cart WITH NO mention that it may happen? Even if you're not logged in or registered (so no status at all) you get a price drop.

Its a coding mistake. No way that's deliberate marketing.

I get what you're saying, but your reasoning doesn't mesh with what's happening.
s_mack is offline Find More Posts by s_mack
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 03, 2012, 06:04 AM
Heli nut
Australia, WA, Wembley Downs
Joined May 2005
434 Posts
It's because they can't advertise some items below the items recommended retail pricing in that country.

It's not a glitch - it's deliberate at the end of day so they can pass on lower pricing than everyone else....Very cleaver really.
Trexmad is offline Find More Posts by Trexmad
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 03, 2012, 11:19 AM
Registered Loser
Canada, BC, Central Okanagan H
Joined Jun 2010
3,251 Posts
You're assuming. Or do you know that somehow? It really doesn't make sense, for the reasons I said before. #1 - they're in China and the Chinese don't respect "can't advertise" deals because they don't have to. While it *might* apply to their US warehouse, they still show a proclivity for not following the rules by the much more serious infraction of state tax laws. #2 - even if I'm not right about #1... they'd be ridiculously stupid to not inform their customers about it like Amazon does (ie. "add item to your cart to see lower price").

Not clever. Is glitch. Or stupidity... which again, is not clever.


I'm not knocking HK overall... just pointing out a flaw in their pricing/marketing. And it is that... a flaw. Either in technical or education, I don't know. But there's no possible scenario where you can defend this except in presumptions that they meant to do it... but then your reasoning is seriously flawed (again for the reasons above, particularly #2). You're both projecting SIMILAR scenarios that do exist in some arrangements/sites... but this clearly isn't the same thing.

Do I know for sure? No, of course not. Maybe its just a marketing scheme above my head (not that I ever like to pull out 'qualifications' but I do have a University degree in Marketing. I mention that not so much to say "I should know" but to express that perhaps that's why marketing snafu's, such as this, catch my attention more than it might someone else)
s_mack is offline Find More Posts by s_mack
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 03, 2012, 11:28 AM
FPV'r
ror1's Avatar
Canada, ON, Carleton Place
Joined May 2011
1,156 Posts
"buyer beware"...no matter what store you go in..
ror1 is offline Find More Posts by ror1
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 03, 2012, 12:02 PM
Registered Loser
Canada, BC, Central Okanagan H
Joined Jun 2010
3,251 Posts
Yes, of course

Anyway, my point of this exercise wasn't to denounce HK. I was attempting to inform on what the best (and worst) deals were between the US and International warehouses. My script, obviously, was flawed... due to (what I perceive as) a flaw in their pricing displays - which does not reflect their pricing model. I still think there's value in the exercise, so when I have time I'll attempt to fix the script to show actual in-cart pricing and see what data we can glean from that.

- Steven
s_mack is offline Find More Posts by s_mack
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 03, 2012, 05:59 PM
Heli nut
Australia, WA, Wembley Downs
Joined May 2005
434 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by s_mack View Post
You're assuming. Or do you know that somehow? It really doesn't make sense, for the reasons I said before. #1 - they're in China and the Chinese don't respect "can't advertise" deals because they don't have to. While it *might* apply to their US warehouse, they still show a proclivity for not following the rules by the much more serious infraction of state tax laws. #2 - even if I'm not right about #1... they'd be ridiculously stupid to not inform their customers about it like Amazon does (ie. "add item to your cart to see lower price").

Not clever. Is glitch. Or stupidity... which again, is not clever.


I'm not knocking HK overall... just pointing out a flaw in their pricing/marketing. And it is that... a flaw. Either in technical or education, I don't know. But there's no possible scenario where you can defend this except in presumptions that they meant to do it... but then your reasoning is seriously flawed (again for the reasons above, particularly #2). You're both projecting SIMILAR scenarios that do exist in some arrangements/sites... but this clearly isn't the same thing.

Do I know for sure? No, of course not. Maybe its just a marketing scheme above my head (not that I ever like to pull out 'qualifications' but I do have a University degree in Marketing. I mention that not so much to say "I should know" but to express that perhaps that's why marketing snafu's, such as this, catch my attention more than it might someone else)
Thanks, but it's not a presumption. It has been mentioned before somewhere on their forums before & the reasoning was certain suppliers will not allow less than their rrp to be freely advertised.

Similar to other retailers that offer discounts that a normal customer cannot see. An example would be 'The good guys' - an electrical and white good supplier in Aus that offer non-advertised discounts for Cash payment.
Trexmad is offline Find More Posts by Trexmad
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 03, 2012, 07:02 PM
Registered User
3d astronaut's Avatar
United States, MI, Paw Paw
Joined Sep 2011
4,104 Posts
Gonna have to order me a boat

Interesting find here. I am sure they have reasons behind the pricing.
3d astronaut is offline Find More Posts by 3d astronaut
RCG Plus Member
Latest blog entry: Fatshark Attitude 1.3ghz
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 03, 2012, 07:12 PM
Registered Loser
Canada, BC, Central Okanagan H
Joined Jun 2010
3,251 Posts
Trexmad... what you're describing is EXACTLY the presumption that I believe you've made (so I guess thanks for proving my point?). I already made the example you just gave, only I said Amazon instead of 'The good guys'... but in both cases, they TELL you that it is lower once added, which is just obvious. And there's only the slimmest of chances that HK would respect a pricing agreement like this at all, much less in a case like that boat where we don't even know who the manufacturer is. And that's the case with the bulk of HK"s products (and, in fact, the vast majority of all Chinese made products). I could *maybe* accept it with something like the Eagletree products, or FatShark... or something where there's a brand associated with it. But that's not what's going on here. That's just people's "presumptions" (justifications, whatever) to make a situation fit logic. Sometimes, things aren't logical. Sometimes marketers just don't know what they're doing.

You ever go into a restaurant and see something like this:

Burger: $5
Fries: $1
Burger and Fries: $7.50

That's pretty simplistic, but it happens all the time. SO MANY TIMES, people in charge of decisions like this price things how they "feel" rather than stopping to think about it.

More likely... someone f'd up in the database entry and they change the price in one system and not in another. HK's not exactly the most careful with their website backend. Again, maybe I just notice it more than most because I have a particular interest in these sorts of things...

Regardless. I'd like to halt the discussion on "why" and let's just agree to disagree. That wasn't the point of this thread. The point is to crunch the numbers. To that end... I've tweaked my script and I think its good now. It will show the displayed (Platinum) prices as well as the true (in cart Platinum) prices and it'll be a sortable table.

Its going to take several hours to run. I don't want to piss off HK by slowing down their servers with my script so I've deliberately throttled it back a ton to be no more than a couple extra "users" on their system. Once its done, I'll post the chart up somewhere and you can make of it as you will.

- Steven
s_mack is offline Find More Posts by s_mack
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 04, 2012, 01:07 AM
Registered Loser
Canada, BC, Central Okanagan H
Joined Jun 2010
3,251 Posts
Ha... I thought I had it, but their strange coding foiled me again

I noticed that the "platinum member" in-cart pricing APPEARED to be the same as the pop-up special pricing that you get when you aren't logged in and you wait on a product long enough (I'm sure you've all seen it). And in > 90% of the cases that's true. I figured out a quick(ish) way to expose that pop-up price... and I thought I had everything working, but when I just looked at the list, one of the products that appeared to be a good deal again... wasn't. Reason? The odd product doesn't have the pop-up pricing but does have lower in-cart pricing.

So it looks like I'm going to have to tweak again and try things the tedious way and actually simulate adding items (one by one times thousands) to the cart.

Why am I doing it? Well, now I'm on a mission lol

- Steven
s_mack is offline Find More Posts by s_mack
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 04, 2012, 12:51 PM
FPV'r
ror1's Avatar
Canada, ON, Carleton Place
Joined May 2011
1,156 Posts
lower price than MAP once a member and item is in your cart:
http://www.ampdraw.com/
http://www.advantagehobby.com/
ror1 is offline Find More Posts by ror1
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Discussion Good deal or Rip off? Waffle56 Foamies (Kits) 2 Feb 11, 2008 01:37 PM
Rant If you get ripped off on here tell us by who! RRR Trader Talk 50 May 05, 2006 08:14 PM
To Rip off or not to Rip Off? rich_hodgetts Micro Helis 1 Nov 24, 2005 01:10 PM
hornet deal or rip-off? civicrights Micro Helis 2 Jul 12, 2003 08:25 PM