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  • How do they get away with it?
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      02.10.2001 03:43
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      • "How do they get away with it?"

      For those that are unaware of Ocean, they are what might be termed an 'upmarket' mail order catalogue. This distinguishes them from the vast majority of other mail order propositions that tend to appeal to a lower demographic. Their proposition is simple: • Select a variety of products for the home and garden. • Pay professionals to photograph them. • Arrange them on the catalogue page with a very minimalistic look, usually on a white background. • Think of a price, double it, then add on a bit more on for good measure. • Bundle them all into a catalogue with a peculiar item on the front cover. • Send it out to lots of people. It sounds simple, doesn't it? In fact if it were so simple, why isn't everyone doing it? Well, Ocean have obviously had a lot of financial investment enabling them to start up the company, money that (sadly) I don't have. Ocean appear to have found a niche group of customers that are extremely willing to spend lots of money on very expensive items without so much as a thought. Where most of us consider our purchases carefully before splashing out, the typical Ocean customer will think nothing of lashing out £1895 on a glass radiator or a platform suede bed for £895. As well as such outlandish items, Ocean also offer many run of the mill items, but at prices that are artificially inflated. The fact that they are presented so well is obviously enough to convince their wealthy clientele that they are buying into a lifestyle for their home. I once requested an Ocean catalogue via their web site (www.oceancatalogue.com) and they have kept sending me new catalogues from time to time, as well as regular e-mails. Speaking from the inside of the mail order business, their Marketing activity and presentation is excellent. However, their value ethic leaves much to be desired. In some ways I'm probably jealous - to blatantly get awa y with charging the high prices they do should not be possible in a competitive market economy, but as your average Ocean customer isn't likely to head down to Homebase or B&Q to compare prices, they have a handy knack of getting away with it. The people behind the venture must be laughing all the way to the bank with the high prices that they charge. I assume that their delivery (£3.95) and customer service is top notch, and it would need to be at their prices. However, to tap into the wealthy 'AB' ie: upmarket professional sector with an appropriate mail order offer could be described as a stroke of genius. My advice to you, if you ever see an Ocean catalogue is by all means to take a look, but only use it as a basis for making your purchasing decision elsewhere. Other than the very many obscure and impractical items on offer the remainder of the products on offer could be found at most DIY superstores or other mail order catalogues at a fraction of the price. You should beware of being tempted by the alluring and pristine presentation that Ocean excels at, no matter how attractive it may seem. {An original Dooyoo opinion © Blackjane 2001}

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