Sunday, October 04, 2009

How NOT to sell software ...

Recently, I was looking for a good photo/picture editing program and a good video editing program ... since I don't own a Mac (yet) that comes with awesome software out of the box, and Microsoft's free picture and video editing tools are completely worthless (shocker!), I went looking to buy something.

I used to be a big Paint Shop Pro guy, so I of course went to see what they currently offered -- turns out that Corel now owns them and the software is called Corel Paint Shop Pro. Downloaded the trial version, and it was very similar to the older versions I knew well. Ok, found my photo/picture tool. I saw Corel had a video editing application called, Corel VideoStudio 12. Downloaded the trial, it wasn't bad either, and pretty easy to use. Ok, that was easy. On their webpage, I noticed they had some nice package deal for both applications for one-low price. Great! Let me buy it ... go to buy it, and of course, it won't let me buy it for the low-price because, and get this ... I'm not in the USA. I am then given a link to pick UK, EU, or some other countries. I picked the EU ... but of course, no nice package deal. Normal price but in euros instead of dollars -- in in short, the software would cost me almost two-times as much. WTF?!?

Now you'd think if I somebody were coming from say the Czech Republic or another former-Eastern Block country, the price might be ... and I'm going out on the limb here saying this ... at least the same? (cheaper would be crossing the line). In an area where software piracy is higher, wouldn't you want to entice people to use legal software by having a lower price (or at least equal) to fit the local's budget?

I know when I worked at a very popular software firm in the past, the price was publically the SAME for everybody -- in dollars. And when the dollar took a hit and got weak, ooh, well ... it was just that much cheaper for the rest of the world (the US was 50% of the market and Europe the other 50%). We even lowered the price on a case-by-case basis when people wrote to us from countries with much lower GDPs. Maybe that's why that company I worked for is still thriving, despite having fierce rivals backed by much larger corporations.

It's really no wonder why companies like Corel, who used to really be king of the hill, have just become standard.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

You often mention in your posts that it is disadvantage to live in the CR and count in USD. Why? I understood you live in the CR so why not to get asimilated? Or do you think you will change it here/

David Stennett said...

There are advantages and disadvantages to living almost anywhere on the planet, I do not think I ever discuss those specifically. However, international business is conducted, for good or for bad, in English (and is highly influced by American and UK business practices, processes, management styles and organization structure, etc.). And I only "count" in USD, because this blog is read internationally, and nobody uses Czech koruna except Czechs. Hopefully, the CZ will follow the rest of Europe to the EUR soon.

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

I hate that too. I recently got my first debit card and wanted to do some online shopping like i hear so much about. I wanted to get the photoshop app and whoah, the prices of the sites who sell software are so not friendly to my country at all. I also encountered that selective discounts and freebies to boot! They didn't consider other people want the same freebies and add ons that US are getting.

David Stennett said...

Michael, yeah, I know what you mean. It's pretty discouraging and to be honest, rude, to have different prices that have HUGE differences in the base price. In the Czech Republic (as in much of the EU now), there is a 20% VAT on top of the cost -- that's horrid. But, software makers could at least extend the same offers to non-American customers (especially for lower GDP per capita countries). Most software firms I have worked for, had similar prices in difference currencies ... and when they ran a special/sale, it was for everybody. Those companies are highly successful and have rapid growth rates. I definitely see a connection between smart pricing policies, and these silly ones like Corel try to pull.