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If you were my 'manager' : Part Two

Posted by Dave Bull at 12:09 PM, December 19, 2009 [Permalink]

Continued from [If you were my manager : Part One]

Thanks to those who contributed suggestions to yesterday's post about the currency question ... As I mentioned in the Discussion section on that page, I have added a little popup currency converter:

I've also added this to my main 'Order Form' page with each price in the list independently linked to a converted amount.

These are now working very nicely! I should have done this a long time ago!

But ...

This doesn't solve another of the problems with multiple currencies - the fact that rates change over time, and the cost of a subscription to any of my print series thus has a 'floating' price.

For example, if you live in the US, and had signed up to collect the Hanga Treasure Chest about 6 months ago, the price of 2,000 yen per print was about $20.50 ... But the print I send this month - at the same price of 2,000 yen - would cost you $22.20

How much will you have to pay next month? More, or less? Who knows ...

And I think this uncertainty is perhaps hurting my subscription orders.

So the question is whether or not to set the price in the customer's own currency. For a US-based collector, the price for those prints could be set at (say) $21.00 each, and they would be guaranteed that it wouldn't change during the course of their subscription to any particular set of prints.

As the currency started to vary over time, they would continue to pay the same amount, but I would receive either less, or more, as circumstances dictated. Would they feel cheated, or would they feel 'protected'? It would all depend on what happened as time went by ...

And of course I myself would have much more 'exposure' to currency fluctuations, something I have been protected against so far by having a 'prices in yen' policy.

If you were a potential collector looking at my price information, would this make much difference to you? Do you think my 'prices in yen' policy has been hurting?

The series continues in If you were my manager : Part Three ...


Following comment posted by: Marc Kahn on December 19, 2009 10:54 PM

I doubt very much that by giving alternate pricing it will increase your sales.

I live in the USA and have been a long-time subscriber, always paying your set price in yen with floating dollars. Because of currency fluctuations, sometimes this costs me more (as in yesterday's payment) and sometimes less. Over time it averages out to be neutral.

PayPal makes it easy to send yen to you. Of course they nick me a bit for the exchange when they withdraw dollars from my bank account. And of course they nick you for the transaction. But they make it easy.

You talk about needing to be "protected" from currency fluctuations, but since it works both ways (sometimes you win a bit; sometimes you lose a bit), I don't think "protection" is the right word. However, if you offer customers their choice of paying you in dollars or yen, you may find some of them taking advantage of that by paying you in one or the other currency for a given payment, whatever is favorable to them at that moment in fluctuating time. At that point, you're the one who really does need "protection".

It's hard for me to imagine anyone who would say to themselves, "I'd like to subscribe to Dave Bull's next series, but since they are priced in yen, I'm not going to subscribe". Perhaps I'm mis-reading the mind of your potential collectors, but that's the way I see it.

Keep it simple.


Following comment posted by: Dave on December 19, 2009 11:13 PM

Thanks for the input Marc ... (and thanks for yesterday's payment!)

"I'd like to subscribe to Dave Bull's next series, but since they are priced in yen, I'm not going to subscribe"

Rather than that scenario, the one I'm thinking might be hurting me is this one:

"I'd like to subscribe to Dave Bull's next series, but because I don't know exactly how much it's going to cost down the line, I'm not going to subscribe"

But as you say, it does generally seem to balance out, so perhaps I'm concerned about nothing ...

Following comment posted by: Michael Kohne on December 20, 2009 12:29 AM

I think Marc's probably got the right of this one - Anyone who is willing to sign up for this isn't likely to be too put off by slight variations in the exact price per piece.

The work is good, and it's worth every penny, even if the price does bob up and down by a few dollars each time.

Following comment posted by: Mark Mason on December 21, 2009 10:26 PM

I do know what you mean Dave. At one time, when I started my first subscription the GBP and Yen rate was about 220 Yen to the Pound, today it's around 145. That's a big jump in the price of the prints. You were kind enough to offer a more flexible arrangement with the shipping which helped trim the cost in that area.
I just consider it part of the deal when buying from abroad. A year or so ago UK buyers were making real savings on international purchases, now it's not so good.
I suppose you could freeze the prices at a point, (Start of your tax year, for example))and reveiw them every quarter. Existing subscribers costs wouldn't change for the item they're subscribed to, but new subscribers would pay the new frozen rate. In effect you iron out the small ups and downs, and protect the costs for each subscription. It may be a bit of a hassle, but with your very nice little currency calculator it shouldn't be too bad.
Then you, and the buyer are sharing the risk of any currency fluctuations.
By the way, you could add your currency calculator onto your Mokuhankan site as a download. I'd love a copy!

Following comment posted by: Dave on December 21, 2009 10:47 PM

I suppose you could freeze the prices at a point, (Start of your tax year, for example) and review them every quarter

Well, the prices are frozen now - they never change. To 'freeze' them for the customer simply means doing what I proposed - setting the price for a subscription in the customer's own currency.

I think the situation has been a bit exaggerated for the My Solitudes project, because that has taken three years to complete, and there has been a lot of currency movement during that time. But most of my series take only a single year to collect, which will reduce the impact of exchange variations ...

Currency calculator ... I'd love a copy!

It's only a half-dozen lines of code; I'll send it to you in an email. But your hosting provider has to allow you to run php scripts ...

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