Can a positive review be a bad thing?

Today on my Facebook feed a post came up from Nutrilite US about Nutrilite Energy Bars getting a positive review in Triathlete Magazine –

“That’s great!” I thought. I’ve competed in triathlons and have a few friends who continue to do so. So I eagerly clicked on the link through to Amway’s News website and looked at the PDF of the Triathlete Magazine Review.

The magazine highlights four energy bars for “when you need an extra shot of energy to keep going on a long ride or run”. The four are Honey Stinger Waffles, Iron Girl Energy Bar, Nutrilite Energy Bar, and Clif Bar. All four are given glowing reviews, which is great for Nutrilite. So where’s the problem? There’s two. First is this –

Honey Stinger Waffles – $1.39
Iron Girl Energy Bar – $0.99
Nutrilite Energy Bar – $20.97 for box of 9 bars
Clif bar (coconut chocolate chip) – $1.39

You have to do the math, but that puts the Nutrilite Energy Bar at  $2.33/bar – nearly 70% more expensive than the next most expensive bar, and 135% more expensive than the cheapest!

If you were a triathlete, would you check out the Nutrilite bar first or last? Now, I’ve learned a lot over the year about The Nutrilite Difference, and often even though a Nutrilite product may be more expensive, it may be a significantly better product and better value. We don’t have Nutrilite Energy Bars where I live and so I’ve never tried them and don’t know much about them. So I went to Amway.com to learn more. And that’s where the second problem came up –

Hopefully it will change soon, but right now two of the three flavours, indeed the two that were mentioned by Triathlete Magazine, aren’t even available! Hello? Even if you can’t help when Triathlete magazine promotes something, why on earth would you be promoting a product on Facebook that people can’t even order? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to wait until the products were in stock?

In any case, I went to amway.com to see if I could learn more about these bars and if there was any information to help a consumer make the decision to purchase these over the other three bars, or indeed for an IBO to market these products against competitors. Unfortunately, under “competitive info” I found only some nutritional comparisons with Power Bar. Reading through the rest of the info the only thing that stood out was “Exclusive NUTRILITE® C-Lenium Blend provides antioxidant protection from harmful free radicals generated by intense exercise”.

Was that the Nutrilite Difference? I don’t know. It sounds good – but is it worth paying more than double the price compared to an Iron Girl energy bar? I don’t know that either. If anyone from Nutrilite or Amway, or an IBO, can help explain it, I’d love more information. What I do know is that it’s unlikely that many triathletes are going to be turned on to Nutrilite by this review. All the information they get is from the magazine, and then the Nutrilite Health and Amway websites. That tells them these products are expensive, and out of stock.

Is that what you want from being highlighted in a magazine?

UPDATE: Even worse, anyone checking out this product after September 2 (two days from now), will see another price – $22.65 for a box of 9, or $2.52/bar. So a potential customer checking out the product is going to get yet another “sticker shock”. Unless there’s something incredibly special about this product – and if there is, both IBOs and customers need to be educated about it, the only way I can see this being successfully marketed to customers is by IBOs putting big discounts on the suggested retail price. Even at base IBO price the bars are still significantly more expensive than the competitors. At least though they’d be marketable. Is Amway US slipping back to the old habit of targeting product pricing at IBOs instead of customers?

28 thoughts on “Can a positive review be a bad thing?”

  1. This is a pretty pathetic post. You’re really going out of your way to bring negativity out on this company–and for what reason? I prefer to shop at lululemon over places like Nike. Are they more expensive? Yes. Does Nike also sell good products? Of course. But I like lululemon better and feel more confident and comfortable during my workouts when I wear their clothing. So I will pay more. Case closed. No one is MAKING me buy their clothes. Good goly woman get a life.

  2. Basic economics. Price vs. Demand. Clearly the demand is high enough for the price to be what it is. Case closed.

    1. As for myself, being that if the product satisfies my needs I will pay the price for the product. As we all know and have learned the more product one sells the higher the price will eventually become. Due to the need of the products. Simple. Supply and demand its the way of the world and that is why we have so many products to choose from. It all really depends on the consumer. So I say please enjoy the NutriLite Bars. Thank You

  3. We actually do have a form of Nutrilite bars in Australia under the name of Positrim. Same deal though, highly overpriced.

  4. Hi IBOFB

    So what’s the bottom line of thIs??
    Is Amway going to reduce the price because of this??
    I’m surprised nutrilite energy bar not even organic but charging double the price than competitor..

    I’m stick to the what they do best..

    1. As per the comments above, there is apparently a market for them at that price point. That doesn’t change my comments on how the positive review itself can be construed as poor marketing.

  5. I understand Bridgett, I remember some of those discussions. I still think trying to change the corporation’s thinking is the best way to go. Also, working through your upline Diamond may also help.

    1. “Also, working through your upline Diamond may also help.”

      Considering that my up-upline Diamond couple were the chairs of the IBOAI and MAC, and weren’t able to get things changed…well…

      “I still think trying to change the corporation’s thinking is the best way to go.”

      Perhaps a blog post on a website with heavy Internet traffic highlighting such an issue may help. 🙂

      Ben,
      As you suggested in your first comment, I’m not buying or promoting products which I do not think are a good value. But I’m pretty much done with attempting to change the Corp on this product line. I really don’t care anymore. After four years of continually contacting those at the Corp about this product line (the latest being the new 2GO Twist Tubes) and prices continuing to rise, with the latest September 2nd price increase being *more* on these products than all other lines, it’s become apparent that there is a whole other game being played that I don’t understand.

      And frankly, I’m done. I think the Corp is missing tons of volume by being satisfied with only those IBOs willing to pay a premium for “opportunity.” But, whatever. It is what it is, and I’m tired about caring more about something than anyone in my upline or anyone at Amway.

  6. IBOFB, Bridget…etc. The answer is: don’t buy/promote/sell products you feel are “over-priced” or not a good value. If the products don’t sell, the company will stop producing them at some point. Also, continuing to email and call the corporation about these concerns must be kept up so they know our feelings on these issues.

    1. Ben,
      To respond to your two points (in reverse order):

      Point One
      Over at Amway North America’s Opportunity Zone blogosphere a few years ago, there was a lively discussion some IBOs and I had regarding the now re-branded Simply Nutrilite line (in particular, the bars and the juice drinks) and the pricing.

      That discussion originally stemmed from a 1,200-word letter I wrote, four years ago. The two head marketing folks for SN decided to get someone on their team to (kind of) dialogue with me via the Sales Speak and/or Ada-Tudes blogs, rather than email me back.

      That discussion wasn’t fruitful, that person is no longer with the company, Opportunity Zone has since ceased interaction with its IBOs, and the pricing on the “edibles” (i.e. bars, drinks and drink mixes) have not improved, and, in many cases, have gotten worse in these last four years.

      Point Two
      You are right–as long as IBOs are willing to pay more for a product because it contains that special ingredient called “opportunity,” then Amway will continue to charge the prices that they do. {{shrug}}

  7. IBOFB.

    Good analysis. In Australia we don’t have the Nutrilite bars – although I have tasted them, and they are delicious! We have the XS Energy bars… which recently underwent a re-formulation. The previous formulae tasted like crap! I suspect our XS bars and the Nutrilite bars are very similar, however we only get the 20% mark-up and the box of 9 is $33.75 ($3.75ea). I have had natural bodybuilding customers in the past who have not baulked at the price at all.

    I agree on the product education side of things. It is difficult to get hold of really good company produced competitive analysis and when I run in to questions that I need answers to that my team are unable to provide, or searches on the local Amway site, or even the US site (without logging in) I often contact the Product manager directly who then has access to the “technical” group who have been good at coming back with information on products such as atmosphere and espring.

    As an example, we have a product here called BeautyCycle, which features in other European markets, but I don’t think it is in the US… it fills the budget conscience market, and competes with product like revlon, nivea, and other mass market beauty products…the product comparison info sheet is made with none other than…. Artistry…. ???

    Anyway… Like we all know… it is not about being a perfect business… it is simply and by far the best vehicle around.

  8. Very good review from IBOFB.

    I just wondering, is there any history in the past that Amway reduced their price because it was VERY expensive or over-priced ??

    1. Both Amway Europe and Amway North America dropped the price of a range of products a few years ago. I don’t know about “VERY expensive” though. It’s always difficult to judge value. As Shaun points out, there’s more expensive bars than the Nutrilite ones, and they apparently can’t be beat on taste, so perhaps not “over-priced” at all. That doesn’t change the perception that can come about though.

  9. IBOFightBack, you are right. In the old days, Amagram contained articles about the special features that the products offered and also educated distributors about the active ingredients and how they work.
    For example, one article explained that Green Meadows contained a special neutralizing agent called Meelium and explained how many molecules it is able to neutralize. Pursue was another example. They showed simple graph which explained that Pursue is effective AND non-irritating. I can go on with other examples how SA8 Pre Wash can remove tough staines, concentration of Fabric Softener, phosphates, biodegradability tests that appeared in 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s Amagrams and other materials. How many today’s distributors know these facts?
    Today’s Amagram is filled with nonsense articles from people who never sold anything and even the product manuals do not contain these information.

    1. This I think is something they could be doing interactively on a blog or Facebook or perhaps even a private forum – IBOs should be able to interact directly with the experts who developed these products and ask questions and get educated. The questions and answers could remain as a knowledge base. Hmmm … maybe we should look at doing product pages on Amway Wiki?

      1. Exactly! The IBOs SHOULD have a direct contact with experts.
        Don’t know if product pages on Amway Wiki would help. An official blog with questions and experts’ answers would be much better. Do you know someone in Amway who we could contact?

  10. While I appreciate Nutrilite expanding their offerings, if they can’t compete, then they should stick with what they are good at, which are their exceptional supplements that they’ve been doing, and doing well, for over 75 years.
    The Nutrilite Supplement line and the Nutrilite Sports Nutrition line are not one in the same.

    1. You are so right Bridget – once they started on “me too” products or desperate to be in every catergory they lost the plot – it is worse in Australia than USA.

    1. As ibofightback points out in his first comment, these bars aren’t even organic. Clif makes a bar that’s organic and charges 1/2 the price?
      I’m speaking from a U.S. perspective, so maybe Canada is different. But here, I’ve got a Whole Foods Market less than a mile from me. We call it Whole Pay Check because the place is pricey–a natural foods grocery store. They offer over a dozen different brands of bars, and about 100 different flavors.
      The price of these bars, comparable in size to Nutrilite’s, are about a dollar to $1.50 each. I’ve had several different ones and they taste great. I’ve compared ingredients. Similar, and sometimes better.
      Yes, it’s true that when Amway/Quixtar first came out with a protein bar in late 2000, it did taste so much better than the competition *then*. But here we are almost 11 years later, and the competition has caught up–in terms of taste, texture, ingredients, and value.
      While I and my family do eat some of these Nutrilite bars–energy, meal replacement, protein–however, our consumption is steadily dwindling as the price continues to rise, and just-as-good-or-even-better bars are being offered down the street (with no back order issues). 🙂

  11. I wanted to give my take on this post because this is something I’m very passionate about since I use the energy bars and have used energy bars even before getting involved with Amway. I’m an avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast. I work out a lot during the week and also during the winter I ski so I’ve used energy bars for a while now.

    I’ll tell you hands down what it is that people like me and people who use energy bars look for. It’s not price, it’s not necessarily ingredients, it’s TASTE. It’s 100% taste because NOBODY likes chewing cardboard and I’ll tell you one thing, 98% of these taste like cardboard. It wasn’t until getting involved with Amway and having tasted the Chocolate Nut Roll Energy Bar that I fell in love with it. I stopped with the Cliff Bars and Power Bars and started eating or bars.

    So to give you some examples of prices here in Canada, check out Mountain Equipment Co-Op. http://www.mec.ca/Search/search.jsp?Ns=p_max_sale_price|1&Ne=1000&N=10+1195 This is where majority of Canadians shop for hiking, camping, climbing gear and is quite an amazing store. It’s satisfaction guarantee rivals Amway’s to be honest. Aside from that you’ll see bars go as high as $3.40 and as cheap as $1.40. The Chocolate Nut Roll Bar here in Canada goes for $2.75. The fact that our bar actually tastes good is a HUGE plus and is what makes us successful selling it to people like us and other athletes.

    The next thing people actually do look at is the protein content and these Chocolate Nut Roll Bars are on average higher than most but not the highest. The $3.40 Power Bar Protein Plus has 25 Grams of Protein and ours have 15. So when priced accordingly at $2.75 they are on par as far as I am concerned.

    Again I cannot stress enough the taste is the key on this market hands down. People honestly don’t care what the cost is because after tasting the garbage that is Power Bar, they come running to our Energy Bars. I wish you could get some over in the UK, you’d know by the taste why people love them.

    I will agree the price increase that we are about to undergo is a bit much and I’m not impressed with that. That and the fact free shipping qualification is rising is not something I’m happy about.

    Canada has suffered a lot of back order issues due to the increase demand of the products and we just got a message down from Kate they are almost through the backorder issues. We also found out that we are getting the two other energy bars that you have in your picture. Right now we just have the Chocolate Nut Roll.

    Good post, but for us in Canada we are on par with the quality and price, at least when compared with a place like MEC.ca

    1. Shaun,
      While I agree with you that taste is important, it isn’t so important that folks will pay *whatever* price. Yes, they may once, twice, maybe even three times. But after a while, they will stop buying that particular bar *and* may even then question other products, or not be open to trying other products.
      It’s easy to sell someone once, but in order to have repeat orders, whether from a customer or downline IBOs, the product needs to be cost-competitive.

      1. I agree cost is a factor, but as I pointed out in the link to a very popular place here in Canada, the Chocolate Nut Roll Bar is on par with other brands and not the most expensive. Do you think people would continue to spend $3.00+ per bar? MEC knows people would and do otherwise they wouldn’t be carrying that bar. That $3.00+ bar has been at MEC for over 3 years now and I’ve tried it and it tastes like crap, however is still better than your sub $2.00 bars

        Price is a factor to an extent, these Energy Bars are not for your average consumer. They are for people who want performance and want to pay for it. You’d be surprised what outdoor enthusiasts will pay for.

        I don’t always agree with all the pricing Amway has and the increases, but I’ve done my homework on this bar and it’s well priced for what it tastes like and the content when compared to other brands here in Canada.

        1. “They are for people who want performance and want to pay for it.”

          The Whey Protein Bar, SKU#110305 is a more accurate comparison to the bar you are mentioning, than the Energy Chocolate Nut Roll Bar. The Nut Roll has 15 grams of protein, while the Whey Protein Bar has 25 grams.
          And the article mentions the Mixed Berry Smooth Energy Bar as well, which has only 8 grams of protein.
          These bars aren’t really for athletes. They’re for your “average” work out person who wants to *feel* like an athlete. 🙂

  12. That is a tricky one. I would say it depends on how serious of a runner/triathloner they are. If they are very very serious price may not matter. And does one really want customers that only care about Price? OR customers that take time to educate themselves on the products they consume.

    Yeah being “out of stock” or “back order” is flat wrong. “Estimated ship date” with realistic date is how that should be written.

    1. But how does it depend? If there’s no reason to believe the product is better, why would you buy it? What matters to the athlete? The Honey Stinger Waffle is endorsed (according to the mag) by Lance Amstrong and 100% organic. The Clif Bar is highlighted as 70% organic. The carbs/calories/protein levels vary between products, but they vary even within the Nutrilite range. In the review Nutrilite antioxidants are highlighted, but the Clif Bar is almost a buck cheaper and also has selenium and vitamin C – along with other vitamins and minerals that the Nutrilite bar doesn’t have.

      Nutrilite energy bars may be great products, and from my experience it probably is better than the competitors, but it’s got to be a hard sell hasn’t it? How do you justify the price difference to a customer? And the price is going up to $22.65 in a few of days! ($2.52/bar)

      1. Now there’s a surprise! Over priced ( for no reason) Amway product. Oh yes there is a reason – Amway’s greed and their mantra – IBO’s will buy anything.

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