I came across this direct-to-consumer notice the other day on BladeForums, and filed it away as a bit of a nothing-burger. However, I am noticing enough chatter, especially in forum comments about it that I figure it bears mention. Apparently, there has been a bit of grumbling among dealers that certain large, high volume online outlets such as Amazon undercut prices to the point that others, especially brick-and-mortars have trouble competing. This has led to one prominent retailer, KnivesShipFree, to phase out Spyderco products.
Spyderco’s new “Minimum Advertised Pricing” policy is not a new concept. Many companies, such as KAI and Benchmade already have a similar policy in place. It pisses people off in the forums, but Benchmade seems to be doing fine. In the case of Spyderco, the MAP will be 40% off MSRP, which truthfully isn’t that far off of what is typical in all but really blowout sales by sites such as Woot. Besides, there is an easy workaround that I have found in many cases. There will be an “add to basket to see price” button, that seems to take care of the issue.
I am against the practice in concept, but that is because I am a wookie-suit Libertarian. I think that if someone wants to create a business model based on volume and can build a better mousetrap in the process, let them. That being said, Spyderco is a private company, they can set whatever contractual stipulations they wish. They have also announced that they are not increasing prices across most of their product line next year.
Full Spyderco statement below the jump.
“Integrity is being good even if no one is watching”….
We wanted to make everyone aware we are implementing a change for 2016 that you should hear directly from us. Spyderco will be implementing a Minimum Advertised Pricing (MAP) Policy with our retailers that will go into effect January 1, 2016. This means that there can be no advertisements on-line or in print at a price lower than 40% off of MSRP. We are also not raising prices on nearly all of our product line. Our policy is slightly unconventional and is designed with everyone in mind.
We are consumers too, we understand buying products based on important factors like product quality, price, business reputation, customer service, and other factors, and we understand the value of finding that great deal and knowing that you are purchasing a great product from a reliable source. We also understand that over the last 40 years, we have cultivated unique partnerships to include consumers, retailers, wholesalers, and suppliers that have all contributed to our success in one way or another.
Our number one priority is to continue to bring you Reliable High-Performance products. We plan to continue growing our innovative product line, finding creative ways to fight counterfeit products in the marketplace and continue strengthening our relationships with those who are committed to the same goals.
Many of us have our favorite store or website that we purchase from for many different reasons with price being only one of those factors. This does not mean that on January 1st, all of our products will suddenly be extremely more expensive, instead what it means is that Spyderco is working with everyone in our network to continue bringing our products to you at fair prices through your favorite retailers.
This is a work in progress and we will continually review and apply our CQI – Constant Quality Improvement philosophy in the coming months. The Spyderco Crew thanks you for your undeniable loyalty and continued support!