Big thanks to reader Chris R. who sent in a style tip about these price inconsistencies.
J. Crew Mercantile (or, Factory for those of us who don’t like change), makes a poly/cotton vest called the “Walker” vest. And depending on where you shop, it’s going for three very different prices.
- At J. Crew Factory, the price is currently part of their “goodie bag” deals section, and down to $34.95
- At the mainline J. Crew site, the prices is $47.70 when you apply the 40% off BIGSALE code
- At Amazon, where J. Crew Mercantile recently opened up their Prime fulfilled shop, it’s at the full price of $79.50
Now most of us who frequent this corner of the web know that paying full retail for most J. Crew Factory goods is absurd. Unless it’s an item like a suit or a sportcoat that gets excluded all the time, and you need that garment ASAP, then there’s always another promo or sale coming.
When is a vest a vest a vest?
But not everyone frequents this corner of the web.
Is this being done on purpose? Is this simply one branch of a company not coordinating with the other? Is this the result of different shipping policies, overhead costs, and rewards programs? For the Amazon angle, it’s important to note that J. Crew is selling their clothes direct to Amazon, and after that it appears they don’t have any control over warehousing and shipping. Is Amazon too busy to care about price matching the constant markdowns and sales going on over at the J. Crew Factory website?
What responsibility does a company have to provide a consistent price? Or is it their product, and they can monkey with the price however they see fit? This doesn’t feel like someone rolling into a disaster zone with a trailer full of generators and bottled water and charging a 1000% markup. Also, remember JC Penney’s attempt to do away with promotions and coupons? Their customers hated the every-day low price strategy. Customers left in droves.
I like J. Crew. I like J. Crew Factory / Mercantile. And while I don’t have a problem with this particular strategy (because out of instinct I usually check the other sites to see what the prices are over there…) I can see this making a lot of their customers angry.
But what about you?