Monday, December 17, 2007

The Trouble with Buying through Amway - Part 1

The crux of the Amway business is for an IBO to redirect their household spending to Amway and teach others to do the same, also commonly known to as BFYTODS (Buy From Yourself and Teach Others to Do the Same). By doing so, IBO’s can earn bonuses on the amount they spend and of those who they recruit. Amway IBO’s should also be retailing these products to consumers (non-IBO’s) at retail prices. However from our experience with the IDA system, little or no emphasis on this is made, in fact, we were told that there was “no selling” involved. After seeing the retail prices on some everyday household and grocery items, it is no wonder the IBO’s don’t focus on retailing. The pricing on most items do not offer enough incentive and value for a consumer to buy them.

But it’s not only the prices that are unappealing, in our opinion, there are many other factors that make buying from Amway as a customer a very unattractive proposition. These are: Buying in Bulk, Inconvenience, Non-Perishable Items Only, and Limited Range. We’ll discuss each of these factors in detail, as well as the Pricing issue in separate upcoming blog posts.

Today, we’ll look at the Buying In Bulk.

Like most people, we do a weekly supermarket trip, many grocery shop fortnightly whilst there would be a very small percentage, if at all, who shop monthly. We buy what we need when we need it. Almost always, if a particular product is on special by a significant amount (eg. half price) and if it’s a non-perishable item, then we’ll buy one or two extra. We figure that we’re not much different from the average household and assume that the majority of people shop this way too.

The trouble with buying from Amway is that a great majority of grocery products are sold in bulk. Take the tissues for example. You can’t buy one box, you have to buy 16 of them (16 x 200pk @ $29.94). Yep, 16 of them! Now we’re lucky to go through one box per month (more in winter) so that’s what we buy, one per month. We have no need to buy 16 boxes in one hit and we wouldn’t have any room to store them all anyway. To us, it makes no sense to buy a years supply of tissues and especially when the cost per box ($1.87) is no cheaper than a 224pk of Sorbent or Kleenex tissues on special.

Next product is the San Remo Pasta. You get 12 x 500gm packets ($22.56). Again, we have no need for 12 packets of pasta. Now our household loves pasta, but even so, we probably only have one sometimes two pasta dishes every week. So on average we’d consume 6 packs per month. With Amway, this would mean we’d have to buy two months supply. Apart from the storage issue again, there is more often than not, a decent brand of pasta on special every week or so anyway, for less than Amway’s price ($1.88). Moreover, pasta is pasta, they all pretty much contain the same few ingredients whatever the brand and whatever they type. We have differing types of pasta each week, spaghetti, fettuccine, spirals, penne etc. and we often buy these at .69c per pack. To buy a dozen packs of the same pasta that would take 2 months for us to consume and to pay over $14 more for it, does not make sense at all.

And finally, we have the Fountain Tomato Sauce. Forget about a 500ml, or 1 litre bottle, in Amway you have to buy 4 litre bottles. The only time we’ve ever seen the 4 litre sauce bottles is at places where large groups of people are eating (public sausage sizzles, the footy & fete’s etc). Now we’re as Aussie as anyone and love our harry horse, but not that much! A 500ml bottle lasts us for about a month or so. It’d be ludicrous for us to buy an 8 month supply of the stuff, eeww just the thought of squirting 6 month old sauce our sausage rolls is making us feel nauseous.

If the majority of people preferred buying the majority of their groceries in bulk, then there’d be Cash’n’Carry type outlets everywhere and supermarkets would be few and far between. In reality of course, the opposite is true. So the Amway IBO’s are virtually the only ones who purchase their groceries this way and only because they have that incentive to buy enough so as to hit that minimum 100pv level each month, and earn a measly 3% rebate back. Question is, if a lot of the products last for more than a month, 2 months or even 6-12 months, then what do IBO’s buy in each of the following months so as to hit 100pv?

Our guess is that, they buy the stuff that can be used within a month, products with the highest pv/bv attached to them and/or like our family member IBO’s are doing, buying products that they don’t need or have never bought prior to joining Amway. Not to mention, also stockpiling on products they already have. Absolute stupidity.

In our next blog post, we’ll discuss whether buying through Amway is really as convenient and time-saving as the IBO's proclaim it to be.

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