OfficeMax drops mail-in rebates for discounts
In a bid to improve both customer experiences and satisfaction the US-based office supplies retailer OfficeMax has abandoned its long standing mail-in rebate programme, replacing it with a point-of-sale discount scheme instead.
Instead of participating in standard manufacturer rebate programmes that require a customer to save product receipts, fill out forms, and ensure they have submitted all the right information within a specific time period, OfficeMax now reflects an instant discount when the customer buys the goods.
An additional benefit of the new pricing scheme for the consumer is that sales tax is no longer payable on the full product price. Throughout the company's chain of superstores (numbering almost 870) the new programme took effect on 2nd July 2006.
Better than mailing-in According to Ryan Vero, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer for OfficeMax, "We're intent on providing customers with the best shopping experience possible, and the retail mail-in rebate programme was not consistent with that goal."
Vero explained that, by simply discounting the purchase price for computers, printers, digital cameras, and other products in-store, customers get the lower prices they want without being subjected to slow and often-complex rebate processes.
While a small number of products sold by OfficeMax will still carry a manufacturer's rebate, the majority of mail-in rebates have been replaced by direct in-store discounts.
Consumers were missing out Approximately one-third of US retail consumers who buy merchandise with mail-in rebates actually send away for the refunds and take advantage of the sale price, according to recent data from America's Research Group. From this, Vero concluded that 70% of shoppers who think they are getting a bargain actually cheat themselves out of the offer price.
The company therefore decided to work directly with many of its key manufacturers to offer savings in-store instead. Vero noted: "Some consumer advocates have advised shoppers to ignore after-rebate prices when comparison shopping because so few actually receive rebate savings."