Did Olympus botch the roll-out of the E-M5 Mk III?

Centauri27

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Is it just me or does anyone else think that Olympus' roll-out (at least in North America) of the E-M5 Mk III was weak and ineffective? My case: they offered the camera body at full price with no discount at $1499 Cdn, while offering a $300 discount only if purchased with the 14-150 Mk II zoom. That's it. What incentives were there to get the legions of faithful Olympus owners to upgrade? No "launch special" price or bonus on the body only? And the bundled only included the one zoom?

If they were smart, they would have given users the option of getting a bundle with either the 14-150, 12-200, or even the 12-100 PRO zoom. Now that would have generated some interest! And maybe throw in a bonus battery if purchasing body only. Instead they seemed to be trying to lure new users, while assuming that the faithful will pay full MSRP.

But in a seeming admission of defeat, they've come to their senses and have dropped the price $200 less than a month after launch. Now that's more like it! I clicked "Buy" immediately. But they still only have the one-lens bundle offer, while the lenses offered to me at purchase had very tepid discounts (unlike the fantastic deals they used to offer at the time of body purchase).
 

GBarrington

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I have no idea. Without a detailed understanding of their goals for the camera and its place in the line-up, it's pretty much all speculation on our part. The term "botched" implies a serious error in judgment. I don't think we have enough info to make that call.

I mean, with a 4 body 'fleet' of cameras, the E-M5 is not really the middle tier camera, it's the top of the lower half of the line. It is possible that while E-M1 features moved downstream, the consumer's aspirations moved upstream. So maybe the early adopter sales peaked early when they announced the release of the E-M1 III. Many people might have decided to wait to see what the new E-M1 will be like. I suspect the camera was designed to be profitable at an under $1000 US price point; so to shake the money tree a little sooner, they dropped the price point, at least temporarily.

(All the camera companies try to charge more to take advantage of the early adopters because early adopters know this and don't seem to care in any significant way.)
 
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While it was more like 2 months before the price drop... I bought mine when it released... I've got a trip coming up in April, and I wanted to have the new camera before then and be familiar with it and such in plenty of time. Waiting for a price drop would have been a bit of a risk. I didn't figure they'd drop the price so quick... I was hoping for a $999 price anyway. I could have spent the difference on the extended grip, which I bought anyway.
 

Robstar1963

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At launch in the UK there was a free battery offer
more recently there is a free grip offer
Amazon did a very good pre order offer of about £850 ! for the body only with a free battery which I would have gone for if I’d known about it
Best price is currently circa £999 in UK (one at £978) which is about £100 down on last month
 
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I don't see the launch as botched at all.

The only goods that usually come to market at a lower than retail price are things like food, where a supplier hopes you'll take a chance on something new because it's cheap, and then like the product so much you'll buy it over and over again at the full price.

The reverse is true of high end luxury goods (cars, posh handbags, phones, the latest greatest gizmo). Your best chance to recover your R&D and marketing money is right at the start when the product is 'cutting edge'.

You sometimes get added value (such as Rob's free battery above), but the retail price remains firmly established at the highest possible point. Early adopters often know they're paying a premium, but the benefit is that they are 'first'. By offering a 'free' £70 (real cost probably less than £5) item with a £1000 camera, no one gets used to the camera being sold at £930 and in the case of batteries, there's a good chance that the consumer will buy another at full price at the same time anyway. Even when it's £900 everywhere, it will still be advertised as '£100 off'.

It's a basic rule of retail. It's dead easy to lower an already high price to boost demand. It's very difficult to put the price up and maintain your sales. People just wait for it to come back down again.

Amazon are the exception rather than the rule. A global retailer can make global pricing decisions. 20+% off for buying something they hadn't taken possession of is a peculiar one. One can only speculate as to what the benefit to Amazon is in making no money (margins are slim on camera hardware, and slimmer when you have a return policy like Amazon's), unless they were hedging after placing a very large forward order for the product.
 
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saladin

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It did seem a slightly flat release in Australia, but i wouldnt say they botched it. That said, we don't seem to have any grips available as yet, which seems weird.
 

ooheadsoo

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It does strike me as odd when the manufacturer starts to hand out discounts so soon after a product's release. I felt it was strange when the Panasonic G9 had huge discounts less than a year into its life cycle. This time, it's less than 2 months before a nice 23% discount. Discounting as a product ages is normal, but the timing feels off.

The new price does seem to be a much better fit for the overall milc market. I just feel a little sorry for the early adopters, most of which are likely to be olympus faithful looking to upgrade. I would be pretty upset. 2 months usage isn't worth 23% depreciation in my eyes. This is taking the faithful for granted.
 
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I think the only issue with the launch was not having the 12-45PRO ready for a package deal. That would have been an outstanding pair that would have garnered attention.

If it was available, I may have bitten the bullet at launch pricing. Instead I bought a used 12-40Pro.
 

ooheadsoo

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I think the only issue with the launch was not having the 12-45PRO ready for a package deal. That would have been an outstanding pair that would have garnered attention.

If it was available, I may have bitten the bullet at launch pricing. Instead I bought a used 12-40Pro.
Going by this new playbook, they might only sell the 12-45 standalone at full retail in the beginning with discounts and kits coming after 1-2 months after the faithful have given up their hard earned cash. This is not a good way to build customer loyalty, but to exploit it.
 
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I think the only issue with the launch was not having the 12-45PRO ready for a package deal. That would have been an outstanding pair that would have garnered attention.

If it was available, I may have bitten the bullet at launch pricing. Instead I bought a used 12-40Pro.
Pairing with the 12-45 Pro would have been a great idea. I already had the 14-150, so that combo didn't appeal to me. Well, I also have the 12-40 Pro, so the 12-45 doesn't quite appeal to me personally, but for someone who doesn't have a lens in that range, a 5MkIII with that lens for $1400 or 1500 would have been a decent deal.

I love my 12-40. I almost considered selling it to get a 12-100 for a trip I have coming up... but I think I'll get by with the 12-40 just fine.
 

Centauri27

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At launch in the UK there was a free battery offer
more recently there is a free grip offer
Amazon did a very good pre order offer of about £850 ! for the body only with a free battery which I would have gone for if I’d known about it
Best price is currently circa £999 in UK (one at £978) which is about £100 down on last month
A free grip! That would be so awesome. That'd grab me in a heartbeat. That's why I specifically called out "Olympus North America". I had an inkling the other regions might have added some sweeteners.
 
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It's 21% in The Netherlands, so when the global pricing is announced it's always the question how much more expensive it will be when it is sold over here.

One can only speculate as to what the benefit to Amazon is in making no money (margins are slim on camera hardware, and slimmer when you have a return policy like Amazon's), unless they were hedging after placing a very large forward order for the product.
Amazon seems to operate on the strategy to have very competitive pricing on more expensive products (products people are willing to research and actively look for the best price). Amazon does this to get people to always go straight to Amazon if they want to buy something (as people have learned that Amazon=cheap, no need to research prices) and recover margin on low-interest product sales (many small sales covering the cost of pricing bigger purchases aggressively). Looking at the success of Amazon Prime it seem to work quite well.
 
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