Niche marketing

I'm in the market for a new crockpot, and was looking at this Hamilton Beach model, which is supposed to be the best one out there besides the super-pricey All-Clad.  I was a little shocked at its price, however:  $159.00 seems like a lot for a crock-pot made by Hamilton Beach, which specializes in low-cost, few-frills consumer appliances. 

And indeed, Consumer Reports informs me that it should be around $50.  What gives?



The answer is in the comments section.

SELLER Eleven Adar is SEVERELY inflating the price!!!,
February 4, 2009
By Shanlyn858 (Cape Cod, MA USA) - See all my reviews
Buyers, make sure you are an informed consumer when purchasing items. Amazon cannot regulate the price that its sellers are listing for products. The seller Eleven Adar has a trend of severely inflating prices on items that are out of stock on Amazon. Take a look at their negative comments!!! They have done this numerous times in their history as a seller. 

I was actively looking to purchase the Hamilton Beach Set n' Forget Slow cooker, model number 33967. The manufacturer lists this item for $59.99. Eleven Adar jack their price to $199.99 when they were the only seller with the item in stock. I went to Sears last night and bought it for $60!! 

I am appalled that Amazon cannot or will not regulate the sellers. I wanted to pass this on to other buyers to alert them, so they won't be taken advantage of, just so a seller can make more $$. I consider this an insult and the markings of a shady business. Please beware and DO NOT purchase from Eleven Adar or any other merchant that does this. 

The Slow Cooker is amazing. The construction is sturdy and appears that it will wear well.

As a business model it's clever, though economically and morally, it's pure parasitism.  But how well can this really work?  Who out there is so desperate to buy a single type of crockpot from Amazon that they are willing to pay almost quadruple the price it would cost them at Best Buy?

I suspect that this business model, like many others, is going to be torpedoed by the recession.  No one buys something for $159 without comparison shopping any more.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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