Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Company policy?

Being a consumer in Cambodia has it's down sides. Service generally is average to poor, product range lacks and changes every week, access ispoor and .... information on prices is zero.

This site has been changing this last aspect with regular features on PhnomPenh's supermarkets and the prices they charge. We at priceisright.cambodia do not contend that this research is reality, though we do believe the trends we present are very similar to the reality.

So to do this research we need a realistic overview and be beware of not making mistakes in the calculation and/or presentation. In many countries these kinds of overviews are done by consumer organisations. Not here, as there are none.

And now even collecting data is becoming impossible. You would think that Lucky supermarkets ("where quality comes first") has nothing to lose by disclosing their pricing data to the general public. If you are the market leader and in stiff competition with other local retailers, price is a great opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition.

However, despite having more customers and thus having more advantage in pricing options, Lucky supermarkets has not excelled in this aspect. Actually it is one of the more expensive supermarkets. That need not be a problem if for instance choice is larger (the case), service is better (not the case) or giving away cash prices (every $1000 spent gets you $30, i.e. 3% discount) leads to a better price comparison (the case).

But back to today. This morning one of our surveyors was kindly asked: 'what are you writing'. She answered: 'why do you need to know?'. Employee: 'Due to company policy, it is not allowed to write in our supermarkets'.

What a strange company policy! So consumers are not allowed to collect information? Why not? Have Lucky Supermarkets something to hide? Or are they afraid, that the public will know that Lucky's are overcharging?

Anyhow, in the upcoming days, new revelations both on price comparison (Lucky's vs. Thai Huot vs. BS vs. Sydney) as well as on price rises.

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