Extensis Logo SUPPORT | FORUMS | KNOWLEDGE BASE

International Pricing


#1

I am posting here, but the problem actually concerns all Extensis produce.

From the very beginning I want to say, that I am a fan of Extensis and all of their product. I also recommend them to my clients whenever they need a stable solution for font management or DAM. This is the very reason for writing this post and I hope to hear some constructive positions here rather than see the post being deleted or my account - banned.
A couple of day ago I did my regular check of Extensis’s website, hoping to find some information about compatibility with the upcoming CS6. I was pleasantly surprised to see the new version of Suitcase on the site, did a quick check of the new functions and went straight to the webshop to purchase the update.

Here’s where the unpleasant surprise came. The update price was stated at numerous places as being $49.9, but choosing Austria as my location (to intact - any international location) the price changes to 65.5. That’s 33% more. The same applies to new license prices and - in fact - to all prices on the website. If you choose a language different than English the price rices with another couple of dollars. Proceeding to checkout one notices, that the product is sold from the US web store, so the mark up is not directly connected with any sales tax.
This is nothing new, but is still quite offending, at least in my eyes and in the eyes of my clients - I already had the experience with a client of mine, who wanted to purchase the Font Server but saw the difference in prices, could not justify it for himself and at the end of the day purchased another solution.
I contacted customer support and asked them to explain this policy. Here’s what they told me:

Yes, but I am buying from the webstore and the invoice is issued from the US webstore. I am a returning customer buying an update.

It’s more expensive for me (and actually - for anybody living outside UK) - to call UK than to call US support.

I am buying the English MAC version, the same one US customers are using and for the same operation system, so there its really any localization. The real localizations are translations, for which Extensis charges additionally anyway. As for the “marketing efforts” - are you really telling me, that you are charging me en extra $15 so you can advertise your product to me??? So I am paying $XX to advertise it to US customers + $15 to advertise it to me.

This is the place to say, that if Extensis was to sell their products via their UK company, EU corporate clients would actually get the 20% sales tax (VAT) refunded. Yet, this is not the case and these customers are actually paying US sales tax as if they were US citizens.

I am not in a position to determine the pricing policy of Extensis and I realize this. However, I believe, that this pricing is discriminatory and that it causes international users to reconsider their purchase. Even if people are ready to ignore the higher price of the first license, subsequent updates should have, imo, the same or very similar price worldwide. Extensis demonstrates quite an effort to update its public image and market itself as an international company, and I recommend them to consider this aspect as well.

Last but not least - I am posting this here so Extensis can comment on the topic and so that their users can also express their opinions. I can easily make it a blog post or publish it somewhere else, but this will render a biased reaction. I am really hoping, that this post will not be deleted.


#2

Before I reply, just to point out this is my own personal thoughts on this, not an ‘official Extensis reply’.

But I do like a discussion! However, I should first point out that business to business purchases through the website store from outside the US are not subject to sales tax so customers are not ‘paying US sales tax as if they were US citizens’ as you state. Secondly, the website clearly states when purchasing that “'Pricing will vary based on location you are purchasing from. All pricing is displayed in US Dollars”. That’s why product pages avoid showing pricing until you click to buy, at which point you’re asked for your location and the appropriate price is then presented.

Extensis has had international pricing levels for over 6 years now and it is standard practice for most international businesses, since the costs of doing business increase when you move outside of a home market. Of course we hear more and more from customers, particularly when purchasing an ‘electronic’ product, who anticipate a single global price for the product but that is not the experience in most markets for most products even if the delivery method is electronic.

For a start, to facilitate faster downloads for international customers, we pay for Amazon cloud space so that installer downloads are from servers located closer to the customer and therefore faster. For example, a European server as you’re in Austria. That’s a cost that is only incurred as a result of selling internationally. A company focused only on its home market could just have one download location for all global customers, but that would mean a worse customer experience for certain customers and countries.

Then as mentioned in your quotes, we have local representatives in UK, France, Germany and Australia, as well as our partners (distributors/resellers) in various other regions and countries that we work with to help support our customers globally. Whilst it may be cheaper for you to call the US than the UK (how about Germany?) the time difference would hinder any support you get. If we only had the one US office location you can contact you’d likely only get one email a day reply and would have to call during your evening. In my experience though, people want to contact support when they have their problem and it often requires them to be at the machine that’s having the problem. They wouldn’t want to wait up to 8 hours! Whether you choose to purchase through the ‘US webstore’ or not this local support is available to you and is a cost to the business incurred in providing international support.

Regards ‘marketing’, that is more than just advertising. We hosts seminars and webcasts (for example we have US, UK, French, & German ‘What’s New with Suitcase Fusion 4’ webcasts coming up), do special offers, partner trainings and conferences, attend exhibitions (for example IFRA in Vienna, Austria just last year), all of which increases the marketing costs to the business. We do also advertise, but not on a massive scale, and the price difference is a result of ‘all’ the additional costs to the business, not just an advertising cost alone. You can’t therefore say you’re being charged $15 (all the difference) just for an advert to you. But of course, by purchasing the product you do contribute to covering that advertising spending cost, in the same way that the 18.5 million customers of Tesco are helping to fund the £132 million pounds of advertising they do in the UK. So that’s £7 a year per customer on advertising costs alone if you shop at Tesco in the UK! Our actual advertising spend is a tiny percentage of that though and certainly nowhere near $15.

So whilst I understand why you think the product is “the same version as US customers, for the same operating system”, that’s taking one element in isolation which is not how any business calculates it’s prices. International pricing is not just a ‘markup’ on the US price but is a price that takes into account that costs to an international business are not the same as for a one country business. Sales, support and marketing abroad all add to the costs and thus the price. Of course there are companies based in only one country that can apply a single price that is available globally, but they don’t provide global support, marketing and sales options. However, the majority of international companies , be it the iTunes Store (e.g. Tron Legacy download, £9.99 in UK and $9.99 in the US which would be £6.19 on today’s rate), or even something like a Lego box set (e.g. £16.99 in UK, but $19.99 in US which would be £12.38 on today’s rate) will charge different prices in different regions. Extensis is no different in that regard.


#3

I’d like to throw my 2 cents worth in, being an international customer in Australia - you know, one of those places that Extensis has local representatives.

You have to understand that we get price gauged because of “international pricing” here really badly. Extensis actually isn’t too bad, to be honest. Adobe charges us double for the Creative Suite of what they charge in the US (see this article/comments - delimiter.com.au/2012/03/30/husi … g-inquiry/).

Oh and you didn’t mention economy of scale - is that what it’s called? In Australia, because our population is comparatively smaller we’re more expensive to sell to. Don’t really get it, but that’s another thing we’re told here.

I think everyone understands that there are additional costs to selling outside your home market. It’s the level of additional costs which is the disappointing part.

From my perspective, I don’t participate in webinars, I don’t really look at the marketing even when it lands in my inbox, I very rarely contact tech support - I usually look around forums and try and sort out my own problems or contact tech support via email. I don’t care about the download speed from closer servers - if I really want it, I can just let it download overnight and it’s ready for me in the morning. I don’t buy boxed retail versions, I do digital download. So, when you look at it like that it really is a question of why am I paying so much more for the same thing?


#4

Hello Jodifish,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on our international pricing. You have some valid concerns and I will look to discuss them with Extensis management. I am the current product manager for the font products and while I didn’t set the international pricing I will communicate with the people who do. Not sure what the outcome will be but I will pass along your comments.

Cheers


#5

Hey, that’s great…I’d appreciate that. We all know outcomes aren’t guaranteed, but it’s good to know at least a little discussion might be had and maybe we’ll have a little progress. :slightly_smiling:

If we didn’t love the software, we wouldn’t care…at least you guys know we appreciate your work!


#6

I must add my voice to this debate. I wanted to upgrade Suitcase, to find out the large difference in price if I wanted the french version. I am in Canada, so this is not a matter of different markets, the support is the same as for English versions for me. The French version is simply a table of terms that is added to the application, that does not justify such a price leap. For my business, I will have to decide if a upgrade with english versions or buy a competitive product with a more sensible international approach…