No doubt, Apple peeved a lot of loyal customers with their recent iPhone
price cut. The Internet outburst and media attention show that people are angry
about the drop coming so soon after the iPhone’s launch. Everywhere I look, I
see evidence of a backlash.
But if you scan the blogosphere you’ll see a lot of folks wondering “why all
the whining?” Many people understand the need for Apple to drop the price to
increase sales volume. They also understand this is how technology products
work. The Motorola Razor started at around $500 and dropped like a rock to $0
Bloggers and commenters also have voiced an understanding that as an “early
adopter” you pay a higher price. That’s your ticket price for being cooler than
everyone else on the block. In fact a lot of the blogosphere writers are glad to
accept the $100 from Jobs.
Even if you understand tech products drop in price quickly after launch,
brands can still get stung in the process. One reason is based on who gets hit
in the pocket. If the early adopters get hit it’s no big deal. They understand
the deal: You pay more to be cool.
But if the next wave of buyers gets hit, that’s where the brand gets nicked.
I call them “techie tweeners” because they want the product early but not
early enough to stand in line all night like hard core early adopters would. But
they’re too impatient to wait for the price to drop. So they get caught in
between and pay the early adopter price but usually just before the price comes
down. Then they’re ticked off.
Apple should have recognized the expectations their customers have of them
and acted accordingly. They should have made an attempt to take care of them
first before announcing the price drop. This makes their customers/fans continue
to feel special.
And after the price drop they should have said “if you paid more we’ll return
the difference – no questions asked, no hassles.” This is what their customers
expected. It’s what builds and maintains a great brand.
Apple will get through this, But next time they’ll do it differently in a big