Craigslist postings for analog products
Posted January 22, 2012on:
On Thursday afternoon, I posted Craigslist ads for products that have analog features to our proposed building set. The goal was to test our revenue stream hypothesis.
Hypothesis: A building kit can be sold for $40.
Conclusion: The price $40 is high for a new product without brand recognition.
First, I chose five different products to advertise on Craigslist and found pictures to accompany them. All postings were done for the Bay Area. The original kits were of varying retail value, but for this experiment they were all listed for the same price of $40.
- Magna Tiles 32 Piece Set – Magna Tiles appeal to a wide range of ages, with different levels of complexity possible at different stages in development. Pieces are magnetized and self aligning.
- Easy Electronics kit for kids – Snap circuits allow kids to build a few unique and working circuits per kit. Detailed directions are provided for each circuit.
- New 100 Piece Lego Brick set – Classic building set, no extra frills.
- New KNEX roller coaster set – Kit with moving parts and complex parts included.
- New Build a Bear kit – Chosen because it allows kids to make their own creation to play with.
By Saturday, there have been two responses for the magna tiles. There has been no interest so far in the other products. Responses:
Erin: A few hours after the posting, Erin calls and emails saying that her son, who is about to turn 4, would love to get these as a birthday present. I called her back and told her we were out of stock but might get more soon, hoping to keep her on the phone. I asked her if she had any interest in another product I was thinking of selling, a kit for making an electric car. I heard her asking her son if he wanted one, and also heard a little voice say, “no!”. She then asked me how big the finished product would be, thought about it for another minute, and said, “well I guess he doesn’t want it. Well let me know if you get more Magna Tiles. Bye.”
Karen: On Saturday, Karen called and email to inquire about the Magna Tiles. She has two daughters: 4.5 and 6 years old.
hi! are the magna tiles still available? i am interested. can you tell me, are these actually magna-tile brand?
i am also in mountain view. i look forward to your reply.
could likely come by this afternoon or tomorrow.
Since she was emailing from a Stanford alumni address, I took a chance and explained our experiment, thinking she might be more likely to answer some questions. Since she had asked if they were magna-tile brand, I followed up and asked if she still would have bought them if they weren’t name brand. Her response:
I don’t know much about competing brands (my daughter uses the magna tiles at preschool), so not sure if I would have wanted them. I guess if you had told me they were another brand, at that point I would have gone online to do the research to see if they were good quality/comparable product/a good value.
She also noted that the Craigslist price was well below the price on Amazon and she would never pay that much. Listing Magna Tiles for $40 may have skewed results, but I have followed up and asked what her threshold would have been for price. While the Magna Tiles were under priced compared to the retail value, so were the Knex. In an attempt to balance that out, the picture of the Magna Tiles showed that they were clearly used. Still, the product has high brand value and parents know it is a quality product.
There were no responses for the other products
To sum up:
- Brand recognition is important
- Simply saying electric car kit does not get a 4 yr old excited
- Parents will buy things they hear about at school if the price is not ridiculous. They will shop around.
- $40 might be too high to ask for our product, especially if we are primarily selling online. These parents are highly resourceful at looking up deals and might be hesitant to buy our product without knowing the reputation. We do not have the same recognition that the Magna Tiles brand does. Parents know that they offer a quality product and while they want to avoid the retail value, they are willing to pay $40.
I posted a $15 electronic toy kit today in both the Bay Area and Boston.