Amway Scandinavia – Scandalous! What are they thinking?

One of the things Amway is often criticised for is “overpriced products”. Often the criticism is unfounded or unfair (see my earlier post Anatomy of Deceit – an Amway Critic’s price comparisons), but one common thread is that when people criticise Amway’s prices they more often than not don’t mention Amway products, but rather 3rd party products available through Amway. Usually though, when you actually go and compare the same or similar quality of product elsewhere, Amway is price competitive. Still, this isn’t always obvious. Who knew there were so many different types of toilet paper? How many people actually care?

When people compare Amway prices, they normally just compare with what they’re used to. That’s part of the reason why ABOs are important – it’s our job to explain to consumers why Amway products are better value than the competitors. Nutrilite vitamins are generally not cheaper than the vitamins you can buy down the local store. If you don’t understand why they’re better, it’s quite natural to think they’re “overpriced”. Same goes for any other product. Even the LOC spray cleaners, which work out significantly cheaper than the competition, can seem expensive if you don’t understand that you mix it with water to make a lot more than you get when buying Brand X.

Sometimes though, Amway just makes it easy for the critics, and hard for ABOs. This week I received an email that Amway Scandinavia had launched a new “partner store”. The idea with partner stores is that ABOs can purchase products through other companies websites and get points towards their overall business volume. Nominally this should be a good idea. One would think that by introducing a company to tens of thousands of new potential customers that Amway should be able to negotiate better pricing. Indeed, the letter sent to Amway Sweden ABOs says –

Stokvis Connection A/S är från och med idag ny Partner Store hos Amway!
Vi önskar dig välkommen till vår webshop där du som ABO kan hitta välkända design- och märkesvaror.

StokvisShop

Klicka in på Stokvis webshop och se vad vi kan erbjuda dig idag – länken finner du på www.amway.se, under “Partner Store”.

Vi önskar dig välkommen till vår webshop där du som ABO handlar till bra priser och med PV/AV!
Vänliga hälsinignar,
Amway Sverige

Translated that says –

Stokvis Connection A/S is from today a new Partner Store with Amway!
We invite you to our webshop where you as an ABO can find well known designers and brands.
..
Click in to Stokvis webshop and see what we can offer you today – you’ll find the link on www.amway.se , under “Parter Store”.

We welcome you to our webshop where ABOs can shop at good prices and with PV/AV!
Best Regards,
Amway Sverige

Sounds good, right? So I went and visited the Amway StokvisShop. All sorts of interesting things, from Weber barbeques, to designer hammocks, high quality business shirts, even a few laptops and electronic goods. Naturally, one of my first questions was to see what kind of good deals ABOs could get compared to shopping elsewhere. Being a gadget loving guy, first thing I looked under was “Electronics”. I recently went on a driving holiday through europe, so a TomTom GPS caught my eye –

TomTom GO 930T – your price: SEK 4552.75

That’s a top of the range GPS. I then did what is one of the most common uses for the internet today – comparing products and prices from different suppliers. One of the most popular sites in sweden is prisjakt.nu, which collates product pricing from lots of different webstores. Here’s the page for TomTom GO 930T.

More than 65 listings were shown. The best price was SEK 2809, the worst was SEK 5064. Stokvis via Amway was more expensive than all but four competitiors, and more than 80% more expensive than the best price.

Not exactly a good deal. Let’s try something else. I clicked on Weber, who make great barbeques, and had a look at the Weber Grill One Touch Gold 57cm then had a look on prisjakt.nu –

Amway Stokvisshop price – SEK 2912
Best prisjakt.nu price – SEK 1579
Worst prisjakt.nu price – SEK 2195
Amway 84% more expensive than best price

Ouch. Still no good. How about a nice FatBoy Hammock? This is a top of the range hammock, excellent quality. It wasn’t listed on prisjakt.nu or a similar site, pricerunner.se, but a quick google found the first listing at pid.se and other listings much the same price as pid.se –

Amway Stokvisshop price – SEK 5243.25
pid.se price – SEK 4599
Amway 14% more expensive

How about an OBH Nordica Pulsewatch? For this I went straight to the OBH Nordca homepage to check the recommended retail price.

Amway Stokvisshop price – SEK 726.50
OBH Nordica RRP  – SEK 595
Amway 22% more expensive than the manufacturer’s recommended retail price!!!!!!

This is absolutely scandalous. Even with a maximum platinum rebate the deals are bad. I checked product after product after product. A book, a laptop, shirts, designer bowls. Every single time the Amway “deal” was WAY more expensive than I could get elsewhere for the exact same product.

How was this deal done? Did nobody actually bother checking prices? It’s so blatantly a bad deal I wonder if someone in the Amway office got a kickback for setting this up?

But guess what …. it gets even worse!!

I suddenly had the thought I should check if Stokvisshop has a public website, and they do – www.stokvisshop.com. Every single product I compared – it was more expensive to buy from Amway Stokvisshop than direct from Stokvisshop! Now, granted, it wasn’t that much of a difference this time round and currency fluctuations can be used as an excuse, nevertheless it’s clear that Stokvisshop is expensive even if you go direct … and worse if you go through Amway.

This type of deal does nothing but give Amway a bad name. A new ABO or a prospect for the business might be told by their sponsor that Amway does deals with other companies – such partnerships are often used for promotional purposes. And what does the new ABO or prospect discover if the check up Stokvisshop? It’s not a good deal at all, indeed it’s a terrrible one! There is no benefit at all from this deal, and it only impacts badly on Amway’s reputation and makes the ABOs job harder.

It’s a dumb deal. I wish I could say it was an unusual case, but unfortunately I’ve found similar issues with other Amway Partner stores in Scandinavia. Someone is not doing their due diligence.

14 thoughts on “Amway Scandinavia – Scandalous! What are they thinking?”

  1. Hi, to start off, thank you for your informative blog and speaking the truth so that ABO’s can have a fighting chance! Keep it up. I’m an ABO in Norway and loved this post! I was so excited about the launch of a new Partner Store only to find the prices outrageous! Now I know I live in the most expensive city in the world (deemed so only a few weeks ago) but thousands of ABO’s buying power should press prices down not up. Simple economics:-) What to do…

  2. Does Amway take the opinion of platinums & above before tying up with a partner store in the market it is planning?

  3. …Because $150 million is sales does not mean $150 million in PROFIT.

    Unless we know what the bottom line profit is to Amway and to its IBOs, we can’t really say that they are “blowing off” anything.

  4. I’ve talked with Amway about an online grocery store and I just get either, “There are no plans at this time” or the time-worn, “We’ll pass this suggestion along to the appropriate department for review.” While we have quite a few Partner Stores in the US, some leave the program and sometimes a similiar store will replace it, but many times not. They don’t seem to be very aggressive about the Partner Store program anymore and it wouldn’t surprise me if it would go away like the Store For More. How a company can just blow off $150 million a year in sales is beyond me.

  5. Sometimes I feel Amway, in addition to tying up with major partner stores, should tie up with local perishable food suppliers to supply fruits & vegetables, milk, meat etc at competitive prices and give PV/BV so that we don’t have to go to supermarkets for these and spend time.

  6. My experience with Amway partner store has been mixed, while some time you get discount like in Dell computers, other times you dont see the products which you see on direct website of the partner store.

    I have suffered from this a lot:
    Wirelessmarketplus does not offer same deals as wirefly.com, where as they belong to same company.

    Office depot does not offer all products to shop on IBO website, although you can use the card in store for everything and we got discounts few time for using the store card.

    Circuit city (ex partner) had the same issue, deals availbale to direct customers are not available to IBOs i.e. free printers etc.

    Discount on car rental are good.

    Shop.com never have anything cheaper even when you access it directly. Amazon has better deals..

    So it goes on and off..you need to know when to shop thru amway and when to do it directly.

  7. I use the Partner Stores here in the United States quite a bit.

    Ace Hardware has a “ship to store” option that I use so I don’t have to pay shipping charges. Since I’ve already paid online, I just go to the store, pick up my order, and by-pass the check-out line.

    At Office Depot, we have a plastic card that looks like a credit card that identifies us as an IBO. We can shop at the store, have the clerk swipe the card, and we get our PV/BV. They are competitive on most items, but some things are a little higher.

    At Discount Movies, Music & Games, they sell used CDs, DVDs, and games. They have a strict policy about buying only used items that are in prefect condition. Even if a CD or DVD looks like it has a scratch on it, they reject it. I’ve bought used CDs and DVDs from them for years and not one of them has ever skipped. Some CDs that retail for $14.98, I’ve bought for as low as $1.98.

    I think that the Partner Stores are a nice convenience for IBOs, but I seldom promote them to my customers, as I feel it takes away from the focus of developing good core-line (Nutrilite, Artistry, Legacy of Clean) customers.

    1. My experience in Australia with Amway partner stores, and indeed 3rd party catalogue products, was very positive. I can’t say the same here in Scandinavia. The only one I’ll deal with is Vistaprint, who seem to have the same pricing plus PV. There was a computer store whose prices were significantly higher than the competition, they’re now gone. There’s a telco whose prices are better than biggest telco, previous a monopoly, but is quite a bit more expensive than other competitors who started in the last 10 years since deregulation of the market. There’s also a flower delivery service, again more expensive, at least for local deliveries we’ve checked. The others (a wine store and a leather goods store) I haven’t really checked.

  8. That’s strange. In the Czech Republic the partner stores usually offer their products for the same or lower price than what the product costs if bought directly through the web site. One example: a partner store called e-tie. The silk ties, if bought directly at http://www.e-tie.cz, cost 529,-CZK. But if you buy them via amway site, you get them for 450,-CZK. That’s a 15% discount! And you get 6 PV!
    There is something suspicious with your Stokvis “partner” store.

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