The Kindle with Special Offers…not your typical low-end product

Amazon has introduced a low-end Kindle product, the Kindle with special offers. This Kindle sells for $114 compared to the standard $139 Kindle with Wi-Fi. This is not a typical low-end product. Low-end products offer fewer benefits than industry-leading products (we call these Standard Leader products) for either the buyer or the user of the product in return for a lower price. We call these low-end products Price Leaders. There are two kinds of Price Leaders. The first, called Strippers, strip out benefits for both the user and the buyer of the product in order to achieve a very low price. The second, Predators, offers the user equivalent benefits to the industry’s main product but fewer benefits for the buyer. On average, Price Leaders cost about 33% less than Standard Leader products.

You will note that the Kindle with special offers does not fit easily into either of these two Price Leader categories. It reduces the user benefits by delaying the use of the product until the customer has viewed advertisements. There is no change to the benefits offered the buyer of the product. The Kindle with special offers deviates from the norms of Price Leader products with its level of discount. The Kindle with special offers sells for about 18% less than the standard Kindle product.

The Kindle with special offers varies from the Price Leader pricing norm in another interesting and important dimension. Some of these “special offers” are really good deals for the average Amazon customer. In one particularly interesting offer, Amazon will sell an Amazon Gift Card worth $20 for just $10. So, an avid fan of the Amazon web site receives additional user benefits with this new low-end product. In many cases, these special offers may more than offset the disadvantage to the user of a delay in using the product while the user views an ad.

This new Kindle with special offers is a very creative product innovation. Congratulations to Amazon.

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