Scottish Archive Network
99 Bankhead Crossway North Phone 0131 242 5800
Market analysis and assessment of the sale of documents and other archival artifacts through existing commercial websites.
Analysis and recommendation of the best commercial approach to take to allow access to the wills.
1.0 Executive Summary………………………………………………….…..3
3.0 Research: Presentation Copies………………………………………..20
4.0 Research: Online Payment Methods………………………………….29
5.0 Market Research………………………………………………………….35
List of Appendices
Appendix 3a Fulfillment House Profiles……………………………54
Appendix 4a ISO/MAP Profiles…………………………………….58
Appendix 4b ISO/MAP Rates………………………………………62
Appendix 4c SCAN Annual Costs………………………………….63
Appendix 5a Questionnaire………………………………………….64
Appendix 5b Comments from Questionnaire……………………….70
Appendix 5c Findings from Questionnaire – Graphs……………....73
My time at SCAN was divided between researching and developing several areas of interest to the company. The main theme of all of them was decide a level of pricing suitable to charge for SCAN’s products in order to provide them with enough income to continue to function as a company when funding ends in 2002.
The principal product SCAN has are the 300,000 digital images of Scottish Wills which SCAN is making available online and a price needs to be determined for these. This was to be the main concern during my placement. In addition, I was also to look at the possibility of SCAN selling other archival products to generate profits and the best method for SCAN to accept payment online.
My research has taken two principal formats: independent research via the use of the Internet and other literary resources and market research in the form of an online questionnaire distributed to our target audience. I spent the first half of my placement conducting the independent research and compiling all of the options available for SCAN in different areas followed by a recommendation of the option I felt was most suited. After conducting this research into the various areas it became apparent that we needed the input of potential users to help us determine the demand for various products and services and at what level to charge for them.
The areas I researched were:
· Determining a price for the principal product.
· Assessing the viability of selling additional products/services and determining a price for each of these.
· Exploring the best manner in which to actually sell these products/services
Determining a price for the principal product, the digital images of Scottish Wills available online, proved to be a far more complex task than it first appears. The largest impediment to simply deciding a price is the fact that there are no directly comparable products available in the world at the moment. Because SCAN is a pioneering project, other projects to follow will look to them when designing their services and pricing structures therefore the price chosen by SCAN must be thoroughly thought out and considered.
SCAN is a non-profit organization providing a public service, therefore does not wish to overcharge their customers in order to make a profit, rather wish to offer this product at a price which fully reflects the value of the product in terms of historic and personal use. The price also has to be reflective of the work that has gone into providing the product over the project’s duration. Section 2 gives some further information about the stages I went thorough in determining the chosen price, which is £7 per will (with multiples sold at a discount). This price would be fully acceptable for SCAN, but will undergo market testing to determine what potential customers think (price is amended after market testing see section 5.).
SCAN has the potential to offer far more to the customer than simply online images of Scottish Wills. In addition to offering the customer more, these opportunities would also bring in more money which SCAN would reinvest into building up more collections of archives to be available online.
The additional products and services that SCAN would be willing to pursue include:
I was concerned with the latter two (as the first is already being put into action).
For this product, I researched the possible demand for such a product, prices currently charged for similar products, the best approach to take for the sale of these documents, the price to be charged and possible problems SCAN should consider.
A copy of the report for SCAN on this topic can be found in Section 3.
The possibility of offering these high quality copies is one that I feel has huge potential. They provide a vast improvement to the existing black and white photocopy currently available and would be very simple to order via the website.
Both of these products and prices will be market tested using the questionnaire.
This concerns the possibility of using a separate and more commercial website to conduct the sale of SCAN’s products/services and the actual method by which to accept payment.
A more commercial site, I recommend should definitely be adopted. It would allow the current site to retain its educational and informative status and remain less cluttered. It also allows for a new domain name to be purchased which is more catchy and relevant to the product thanwww.scan.org.uk. Something along the lines of “ScottishWills Online” or “www.scottishtestaments.com” would be ideal.
In terms of actual online payment I considered accepting postal cheques and orders being send along with a downloadable form but in order to keep things as straightforward and less time consuming as possible (SCAN’s wishes), I felt that Credit Card payment was the only viable option. See Section 4. for my research on this.
After conducting the initial independent research it was time to market test the recommendations on products/services to offer and prices to charge for them. This is the only way to gain any effective feedback in the short time I have with SCAN.
The questions which required answers included:
· What will the demand be for Online Viewing and what price will customers be willing to pay?
· What will the demand be for Paper Copies and what price will customers be willing to pay?
· What will the demand be for Presentation Copies, what price will customers be willing to pay and which additional services would they like us to offer?
· Which method will customers prefer to make payment by?
· How will customers feel about the variable nature of the product?
These are the main answers that are required before deciding on final prices and services.
The questionnaire was designed and then converted into an online document and placed at the address www.scan.org.uk/wills_questions.htm . The target audience was then selected based on whom we felt would give us the most informed and useful feedback. They included:
· Members of the current SCAN website who expressed an interest in Scottish Wills when they registered (around 400 members).
· Members of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Family History Society, around 2000 worldwide.
· Members of Genealogy related newsgroups worldwide contacted by Ewan Steed of “Roots Consulting Services”.
The first group was sent an email informing them that SCAN was conducting some market research and if they would like to help us out to visit the address containing the questionnaire. The second group were informed via the society’s website. The third group were contacted via Ewan Steed. By doing it this way all participation was on a voluntary basis.
groups were chosen for very particular reasons.
The SCAN members are very aware and familiar with the project, therefore
they are likely to provide us with an informed and honest opinion based on
their already acquired knowledge of the product and service being offered. The second and third were chosen because people interested in
genealogy (family history) are likely to form a large part of our target market
and it will be incredibly useful to find out their thoughts on the products and
their prices. Furthermore, the society
has many members based in the
A hard copy of the questionnaire can be found in Appendix 5a, and the results from the Market Research in Section 5.
The main recommendations made to SCAN are:
· To charge around £7 per will (when viewing online). Also to offer customers the choice of buying a block of wills (5,10,20) at a slight discount and allowing an account to be set up which will allow pre-paid wills to be viewed at any date (price amended to £5/£6 after Market Research).
· To offer a service where a customer can order digital hardcopies over the Internet and receive them within 14 days. These will be A3 colour copies and priced at £2 per page. With the average will being 3 pages long, the average price will be £6 (+P&P).
· To offer Presentation copies of the wills retailing at £30 (amended to £25 after Market Research). This product will require a great deal of time and effort to set-up and as the demand cannot, as yet, be accurately predicted it would be best if SCAN waited until after the official launch before offering this product (see Sections 3 and 5 for more information).
· To adopt a more commercial domain name and use Credit Cards as the main payment method.
There are a number of other recommendations and possibilities that have been made and can be found in the remainder of the report, with the market research findings in section 5.
The first question I tackled when starting was “Why should people pay for something that they already get free of charge in the search rooms, and why should they pay a fee to view the images online when they can come into the search rooms and view the same images at no cost?”
There are a whole range of reasons why SCAN has the right to charge for their products and services:
· Firstly, the index is being provided free of charge. This in itself is a huge resource and SCAN has chosen to allow it to be a free public service.
· Secondly, SCAN’s digital images are of the highest possible quality.
Thirdly, access to the images and index will be
available 24 hours a day, anywhere in the world. A vast improvement from and only in
· Fourthly, SCAN is a pioneering project, setting the standard for and encouraging future digitization projects of archival material.
· Fifthly, SCAN is helping preserve original archival documents from any further damage.
· And finally, SCAN is a Non-Profit Organization and in order for the company to carry on digitizing more documents and maintaining their service some form of income is needed.
Setting a price for SCAN’s products has proven to be a tricky process. The largest obstacle we have to simply deciding a price bracket is that there are no directly comparable products and services that a price can be based around.
SCAN has no direct competitors; the company is not out to choose a pricing structure that will place them ahead of competitors. Therefore the most important criteria for choosing a price is setting it a level, which fully reflects the value of the product (the market research carried out will help to determine at what level customers consider the cost to be value for money) and generates sufficient cash flow to enable SCAN to continue as a company and produce more services in the future.
The three primary products which must have prices decided are:
· Cost to view an online image of a Will/Testament.
· Cost to purchase a high quality hardcopy/printout of the chosen digital image.
· Cost of a Premium/Presentation Copy.
In addition to setting prices for these products, the actual method of payment also needs to be decided:
· The first concern here is how to accept payment via the Internet.
· The second is whether to allow access on a subscription basis or a pay-on-demand basis.
· The third concerns the on-demand method and questions how much should be charged for one will as compared with purchasing multiple wills.
· The fourth concerns implementing a banded price structure for will of varying lengths/condition.
· Finally, the possibility of pursuing a more commercial domain name to sell Scottish Wills.
This section of the report shall tackle these issues and present research findings from the most comparable products and services available.
Genealogy is the third most popular Internet topic. With such a large number of people interested in this subject area and with SCAN’s project being the first of its kind in the world, the site is likely to experience a great deal of interest. It is predicted that a huge number of people will be purchasing SCAN’s product. If these predictions are correct, SCAN should begin making money straight away. However, it is very important that the price closely reflects the value of the product, in terms of its historic value, information-rich value and personal value. If the price is positioned too low in the beginning, the product may be perceived as not very valuable. This could be potentially very dangerous for SCAN, as users who are not well informed will see the very low price and associate it with low value to them and low quality. However, the other danger is pricing the product too highly. Although price skimming is an accepted form of market penetration (and it will create an association with quality and value) it is not SCAN’s objective to get as much money from their customers as possible. It is SCAN’s objective to allow as many people as possible access to the written history of Scotland, the company is providing a public service and simply wants to charge a price reflective of the work that has gone into providing this service, the actual value of the product and the value of the benefits the product has upon the customer. The difficulty here is how valuable is a historic Will/Testament and what do customers believe it is worth (the questionnaire should bring us closer to realizing peoples perceived value of the product).
The figures being used as a starting point for selecting the price for viewing an online Will/Testament are:
The current average cost of a black and white photocopy ordered in the search room:
· 30p per page + handling charge + vat + P&P. Usually comes to average of £6 per Will.
· If a photocopy cannot be obtained from the original, it may be taken from microfilm, this will cost:
£1.60 per page + handling charge + vat + P&P
(All figure quoted from search room assistant at GRH)
The price charged by New Register House and their ORIGINS website.
· Origins Website:
£6 for 30 page credits of search results (each page containing 15 results)
£10 per copy of certificate (10-15 days delivery time)
£17 fee for a one-day search pass
£8 per copy of certificate (delivered within 5 working days).
There is no rush service available and your credits are only valid for 24 hours however ORIGINS can guarantee that specific information will be contained in the certificate and that it will be legible. These are the major differences between ORIGINS and SCAN’s products.
The price quoted to informants for market testing is that a will/testament will cost around £7/$10. They will be asked to inform us whether or not they feel this reflects good value for money.
I think that this service is likely to witness huge demand because there are many people who do not like to view documents on screen for prolonged periods of time, and if the product is provided at A3 size it should provide enough detail to be read clearly. Again the market research should give a more precise idea of actual demand for this product.
There are several products/services available which give us a guideline for a suitable price to charge. The actual cost in producing this product (including time taken, printing materials and paper) will be very low and is therefore not a suitable number to base the cost on. Instead here are some figures more suited:
· The costs provided above for the current cost of a photocopy, average £6 (for 3 page will). The digital printout will be in colour and of a far superior quality, but will require less effort on the search room assistant’s behalf, therefore a high handling fee should not be charged.
· The National Library of Scotland offer Reprographic Services, their prices are as follows:
Colour Laser Photocopying: A3 £2.60
Digital Imaging: A4 colour £2 (with TIFF)
A4 colour £7 (without TIFF)
· Some prices from printing services found via the Internet:
Print Team: A3 colour laser image £3.89 (1 sheet)
£4.55 (2 sheets)
Based on research the price chosen for market research is between £1.50 and £2.00 per A3 colour copy.
The price chosen for market research was £30 including a mount and P&P.
See Section 3 for more information.
See Section 4 for information.
Subscription based services are very popular with US based genealogy websites such as www.ancestry.com . Most of these sites provide basic information and services free of charge and for anything more specialised you have to subscribe; subscription is usually around $100 annually. Initially it appears to be a good idea for SCAN but after some more thought, a number of drawbacks to offering a subscription-based services emerges:
· The majority of sites that offer this are very commercial. SCAN may not wish to appear too commercial, as it could be detrimental to maintaining a quality product/service image.
· Subscription based access is unlikely to be as lucrative as on-demand access, as many people will not want to use the service frequently and even those who may wish to are likely to be willing to pay per will.
What would actual demand be for this
service? They are very popular among
members of our target
· May be popular among professional researchers. However, if they are likely to make up a significant percentage of SCAN’s users do we want to offer them discounts? There will be no alternative for them but to use the website so SCAN may wish to “cash in” on this.
· Subscription based access would mean that SCAN would have to guarantee a future level of service to customers in order to justify such charges. Owing to the short term nature of the project, this is probably impracticable.
Overall, providing a subscription based payment method does not appear to be suitable for SCAN. It would also be another worry for SCAN at the moment. Once the service is launched, if demand suffices, it may be consideration but at the moment there is no need to have a subscription service up and running as the pay-on-demand access will more than suffice.
Wills/Testaments should definitely be available for purchase either individually or in multiples (with no time-limit to expiry).
Once a price has been determined for a single will multiples (of 5, 10, 20) should be able to be purchased at a discount. The two main options for discounting would be to offer say: 1 will free for every 5 wills purchased or offer a standard discount of 10-20% off any wills purchased in multiple format.
Offering a discount should also encourage customers to purchase more wills that they had originally intended to. This will give customers a better idea of the content and value of the wills and SCAN more sales.
By offering both of these options all customers should be kept happy.
Obviously, it would be fair to customers if prices were charged depending on the condition of their chosen Will. The main issues SCAN is concerned with are the varying lengths, condition and age of Scottish Wills. Lengths can vary from 1 paragraph to 100 pages, a Will can be in impeccable condition and easily legible or it can be badly damaged and incredibly hard to decipher due to the style of handwriting. Before coming to a decision on this, each of these states should be examined further:
· Older Wills are likely to be harder to read due to the style of writing used (they may even be in Latin). However they are often very pleasing to the eye and have that “authentic feel” many customers may be looking for. They may also be badly-damaged due to their age.
· Newer Wills will generally be easier to read. They may not however be as pleasing to the eye and may, in some cases, be more badly damaged than the older ones due to extensive viewing and photocopying.
· The actual information contained in the wills and the length of them varies considerably throughout the whole series. Content and length are more dependant on the individual and the type of Will (i.e. Testamentar or Dative) than the century it is from.
From this information, it is clearly going to be very difficult to initiate a banded pricing structure. Wills cannot be priced according to date because this is no guarantee as to the condition, length or content. The only way to do this would be to go through every single will and check its length, condition and content and then decide on the best price for it – and considering the difficulty we are having in deciding one price it would be very hard to determine a price suitable for every single will.
Of course this option is a possibility but in reality SCAN does not have the time and resources to implement a system like this. Consequently the most efficient way to deal with this problem would be to provide a disclaimer for the customer stating the problems they may encounter with Scottish Wills, then provide a section of their chosen will to be viewed prior to purchase and allow the customer to make the decision themselves.
A separate commercial domain name should definitely be used for the sale of Scottish Wills. Something along the lines of Scottish Wills Online or www.scottishtestaments.com would be more appropriate. There are a number of reasons why this would be a worthy option:
· The name in itself is far more catchy and memorable than SCAN.org.uk because it is actually connected to the product itself.
· When people are conducting searches on the Internet, if the web page title actually contains the word Will or Testament it should be easier to find and stand out more.
· A separate website will allow the existing one to retain its information/educational status and not get bogged down by any commercialization. It will also provide more freedom for use of specific product-based metatags.
· A separate web page should make online payment simpler.
· The identification of a specific product with a domain name should not hamper any future plans to diversify and add other products to the same domain (look at www.bol.com or ‘books on line’ - initially selling books only, they have not been hampered by the use of such a specific domain name as they have branched out into other product areas) Far preferable to choose something memorable and descriptive.
This section provides some theoretical information concerning the positioning of your product within the market and determining a price suitable for it. Constantly emphasized in marketing literature is the view that before setting a price the company must be clear on the objectives it wishes its product to achieve: for example, does the company wish to be the price or quality leader in the market, does it wish to offer the best value for money, does it wish to force any competition out of the market etc. Once this has been decided, it is much easier to narrow down pricing strategies.
One of the key decisions to be made is where to place your product on the Price-Quality scale. The following matrix shows nine widely accepted Price-Quality Strategies:
2. High-Value 3. Super-Value Strategy Strategy Strategy 4. Overcharging 5. Medium-Value
6. Good-Value Strategy
Strategy Strategy 7.
Rip-Off 8. False
Economy 9. Economy Strategy Strategy Strategy
1. Premium 2. High-Value 3. Super-Value
Strategy Strategy Strategy
4. Overcharging 5. Medium-Value 6. Good-Value
Strategy Strategy Strategy
7. Rip-Off 8. False Economy 9. Economy
Strategy Strategy Strategy
SCAN would be looking to place its products in the first three strategies, maintaining that quality is always of the highest possible in terms of both product and service and price should reflect the quality accurately (bearing in mind that a low price although suggesting good value for money, may infer inferior quality).
Philip Kotler gives a Six-Step Procedure in his text “Marketing Management” (Prentice Hall, 2000), as a step-by-step guide when setting a pricing policy/strategy:
3. ESTIMATING COSTS
5. SELECTING A PRICING METHOD
It is stated that the clearer a company’s objective, the easier it is to set a price. The five main objectives given are: survival, maximum current profit, maximum market share, maximum market skimming and product-quality leadership. Non-Profit organizations may look to recover partial costs or break-even. Whatever the chosen objective, Kotler states “Businesses that use price as a strategic tool will profit more than those who simply let costs or the market determine their pricing.” (pp459)
As we know it is very difficult for SCAN to predict demand for their product. An estimate was given that 750 wills could be expected to sell annually, however this is purely guesswork. Therefore, rather than estimate a figure, SCAN can examine a number of factors that will help in determining demand and in turn the price.
· Customer’s sensitivity to price is an important factor. Generally, it is a given that the higher the price the lower the demand. However this is not the case for all products and certainly not for SCAN’s. SCAN falls into the category of a number of factors that render the customer less price sensitive. These include:
1. The Unique-Value Effect: SCAN’s product is very distinctive thus buyers will not be so sensitive to high prices.
2. Substitute-Awareness Effect: There are no substitutes for SCAN’s products so substitute awareness is not an issue. This again will make customers less price sensitive.
3. End-Benefit Effect: Buyers are less price sensitive the smaller their expenditure on your product is compared to the total cost of the end product. It is likely that the end product for most of SCAN’s customers will be their Family Tree/Family History. This could have taken someone hours of work and possibly a great deal of money, therefore the purchased wills shall only account for a small cost and buyers will be less price sensitive.
4. Price-Quality Effect: Buyers will be less price sensitive when the product is assumed to have more quality, prestige or exclusiveness and these three attributes can easily be boasted by Scottish Wills.
The selected price should, at the very least, cover costs and provide some form of return on the effort invested. For SCAN the actual cost of providing the wills to view is minimal therefore not a realistic bracket in which to set the price. What should, however, be taken into consideration are the fixed and variable costs incurred by SCAN on an annual basis.
Both these costs are shown in Appendix 4c.
From these estimates, it is clear that SCAN is highly unlikely to recover all of their running costs from the sale of wills only and clearly wills cannot be sold at an unrealistically high price to recover these costs. Therefore, the most valuable information that can be taken from these estimated costs is that a relatively high price must be charged. Wills cannot be sold for pennies when it is considered that to remain in business for one year will cost SCAN in the region of £650 000.
This is one of the most difficult tasks that SCAN faces in setting their pricing policy. SCAN has no competitors who sell directly comparable products. Therefore, the main guidance used when determining a price are the current costs to order a photocopy of a will (save £6) and the prices charged by GROS (£10 per copy of certificate + £6 per search).
Once Demand, Cost and Competitors Pricing has been taken into consideration, a pricing method can be decided.
Kotler presents some standard price-setting methods. This section shall briefly explain them and suggest which would be suitable for SCAN:
Markup Pricing, involves adding a standard markup to the cost to produce the product. This would not be suitable for SCAN as the cost to produce an image on screen to be viewed, a hardcopy or even a presentation copy will be minimal once the images are complete. Therefore a huge markup would need to be added.
Going-Rate Pricing is a price based largely on competitor’s prices. Although SCAN is using other products as a starting point and guideline for setting a pricing policy, we are not looking to charge the “going-rate”, rather a price fully reflective of the value of the product.
Sealed-Bid Pricing, could be useful for SCAN’s digital imaging service. It involves submitting a bid for a job based on expected competitors price rather than the firm’s costs and demand ratio.
Perceived-Value Pricing, the key here is to base your price on the customer’s perceived value of your product. This approach is becoming increasingly popular in the market place. Marketing and advertising campaigns are launched to instill in customers the value of the product and once this is achieved then the company can charge their desired price.
Value Pricing, here a low price is charged for a high-quality offering and the result should be that the customer perceives the product to be high value for money.
Perceived-Value Pricing would be a very suitable approach for SCAN to take. The majority of customers are likely to be familiar with archival documents and their value and therefore willing to pay a reasonable price. For those who aren’t so knowledgeable, SCAN must make sure that their products are marketed in such a way to accumulate high-perceived value. This can be done, at the simplest level, via the website: by simply promoting the fact that SCAN is a pioneering project and re-stating the benefits of using the site as opposed to any other search method. Additional marketing and advertising will also need to carried out in conjunction with this, prior to and after the launch of the website.
By this stage your pricing options should have been narrowed greatly. Now, other factors need to be considered:
Psychological Pricing: this includes issues such as the association buyers have between price and quality. Generally, the higher the price, the higher the perceived quality. Other factors include odd-end pricing which involves having the price end in an odd number. This often makes the buyer believe the product is cheaper (eg £299 will often be chosen over £300), however Kotler suggests that if you want your product to have a high-price image rather than a low-price image then odd numbers should be avoided.
Company Charging Policies, such as those of the National Archives of Scotland, may need to be taken into consideration.
Finally, the impact your price will have on other parties will also have to be considered. As SCAN is a pioneering project and many others are likely to follow, the price chosen by SCAN must be as accurate a reflection as possible of the work involved and quality of the product, as others are likely to base their prices around it.
SCAN wishes that some further research is conducted into the possibility of selling presentation copies of wills. This section of the report shall provide information concerning:
· The demand for such a product.
· Overview of prices charged for similar products via other existing websites.
· Best approach to take for the sale of these products.
· Determined price for SCAN’s product.
· Possible Problems and Suggestions.
With a multitude of businesses participating in E-Commerce, there is clearly a demand for products to be sold via the Internet. More specifically, there are a huge variety of websites dedicated to the sale of Scottish Products, Historical Documents, Heraldry and numerous Genealogy related products and services. All of these factors indicate that there will be a large enough demand for SCAN to endorse selling this product.
Nevertheless, there is nothing quite like SCAN’s product. Most other display documents available are legible and contain only condensed and important information. Unfortunately SCAN cannot manipulate its product in any way, therefore it will have to be sold in its original state.
Furthermore, SCAN has to consider how exactly the product is going to be presented. If a will is over one page long do we send the entire will or just the first page for framing purposes and if the will is only a paragraph long does only that paragraph get sent or does the entire page get sent.
The only way in which more definite answers can be gained
is by conducting some market research on our target audience. This would be best done by consulting some
genealogical websites and groups, as our target audience are most likely to
reside in the
Alba Publishing (www.tumpline.co.uk/alba/info), sell “Historically important documents, reproduced in fine facsimile and intended for framing”. Their products are advertised in the Sunday Times and sold via their website, they are also claimed to not normally be available to the general public.
Some of the documents currently available on their website are:
· A descriptive engraving of the procession to the state opening of the Scottish Parliament, 14x22inches:
£45 each if ordering 2-4 copies
· Signet Press Game and Wildlife Ltd edition prints, signed and numbered by Roger McPhail, 10x13inches:
each includes shipping and
Alba accepts online credit card payments by Visa or MasterCard. Products are then dispatched within 21 days of receipt of order.
Alternatively, a form can be printed out and sent off with a cheque or postal order. Products will be dispatched within 7 days.
www.Traceit.com sell presentation copies of family history scrolls. They accept online payment and provide an online order-tracking device. Some of their products and prices are as follows:
Family History Scroll (11x17inches) £14.30 £24.90 (framed)
Coat of Arms Framed (15x19inches) £35.71
Family Tree Chart Framed (11x17inches) £24.90
(3 items framed: history of surname £100.00
Coat of arms & certificate of authenticity)
SCAN’s products will be far superior to these in that they are originals but they are not likely to be nearly as legible.
The Scottish Lion sell a variety of Scottish-related gifts, including:
Embroidered Coat of Arms (framed) $65 (£45)
6-8 weeks delivery
Clan Print, presented with a brief history $39 (£27.50)
3 weeks delivery
www.Alberene.com, again sell a variety of Scottish gifts.
Framed $99.95 (£70.50)
www.GaelicDreams.com offers an overnight/next day service for delivery of their products, for a slightly higher fee.
They charge $3.00 for delivery of unframed items.
International orders must be a minimum of $10
They also offer a “Drop Shipping” service to send gifts directly to a friend, there is no additional charge for this service.
Scrolls (unframed) $14.99 (£10.50)
Historic Maps $39.99 - $44.99 (£28 - £32)
www.thetreemaker.com offer a service, whereby they use a computer to print a large presentation copy of your family tree in calligraphy style handwriting.
The copy is 18x32 inches and costs a basic $19.95 (£14)
An additional 79c is charged per full name entered. (60p)
US shipping and handling $6.95 (£5)
14.5 x 23.5 inches £24.99
Borders Rivers Map £27.99
(These are their 3 most popular items)
To the rest of the world £5
All dispatched within 2-3 days.
Maintaining inventory and meeting customer demand and expectations are absolute essentials in the business environment today, therefore SCAN must choose the option that will enable them to provide the best possible customer service.
There are, principally, two options available to SCAN for the taking, preparation and distribution of orders. The first is they do it all themselves and the second involves contracting the job out to a fulfillment house.
The first option, known as Inventory, involves storing your own product and shipping it yourself. It involves a great deal more work on SCAN’s behalf but may prove to be cheaper. If SCAN did choose to run this service from TTH, several things would need to done:
· All orders would have to be processed manually- an order would be received on the website then passed to the person who prepared the order.
· Someone may have to be hired solely to do the job of preparing the order, depending on sales volume.
· The image will have to be found and then printed.
· It will then need to be packaged appropriately (scroll case, frame etc.) and dispatched.
· If SCAN does choose this option it will involve dealing with any queries regarding the product from customers, quality checking the product and maintaining correct inventory.
If SCAN were to choose this method, UPS, DHL, FedEx, Airborne and the United States Postal Service all offer e-commerce shipping solutions that will enable you to fulfill orders until demand increases.
With this option, SCAN has complete control over the procedure and will not pay any added costs to a fulfillment house, however depending on generated sales it may be difficult for SCAN to dispatch orders quickly and priority orders may prove very difficult.
This is the alternative solution for processing presentation copy orders. In recent years these companies have expanded considerably, this is due to the fact that companies selling goods are increasingly contracting out this aspect of business therefore allowing them to concentrate on their core strengths (even firms as large as Nike are operating this way). This could be a very good reason for SCAN to contract out because as order volume grows the amount of time spent fulfilling orders in-house could prove detrimental to the overall running and growth of the business.
Fulfillment Houses can be found all over the world, their core functions include:
· Receiving the product
· Storing it
· Picking it to fulfill customer orders
· Packing and Shipping it to the customer
There are, however, fulfillment houses that offer a great deal more services to their customers, including:
· Returns Processing
· 24 hour Customer Enquiry Line (the call centers will be fully trained in knowledge of your company to allow them to answer calls as efficiently as possible)
· Gift Wrapping Service
· Priority Orders
· Shopping Carts and Credit Card Processing
· Merchant Account setup assistance
Effectively, you should be able to choose which services you require and which you don’t, bear in mind that some of these will cost extra.
Fulfillment Houses base their fees on the number of orders your business receives every month, the extent of handling and storage space required and any extra services you wish to use. A problem SCAN may come across, as with ISOs, is that an accurate prediction of sales per month cannot be provided.
Another potential problem for SCAN obtaining a contract is the nature of the product. The majority of fulfillment houses appear to deal with very physical goods and prices are often partly based on the storage space these goods accumulate within their warehouse. With the presentation copies, however, not a great deal would need to be stored (the only physical products would be the paper, presentation cases, packaging etc). Your chosen fulfillment house would have to be contacted in order to determine how the product would actually be produced: Would they have access to your database in order to print the requested will, would SCAN send digital images to them ready for printing on demand or would SCAN print the will onto presentation paper and then forward it for packaging? I feel that the second option would be the most proficient and secure.
A further decision SCAN will have to make is where their
fulfillment house should be located. It
is sometimes recommended that a company have two in different locations in the
world, thus enabling all markets to be filled as quickly as possible. I feel it would be advisable for SCAN to work
with one fulfillment house in the
Appendix 3a gives some brief profiles on a selection of Fulfillment Houses.
As seen in the profiles, many fulfillment houses offer credit card processing services. It is likely to be simplest and most cost effective for SCAN to use their own Merchant Account Provider (MAP) for the sale of both the wills to view and the wills to present, however it may be worthwhile looking into the services offered by these fulfillment houses for the sale of the presentation product only.
Merchantworkz provide some useful guidelines on fulfillment houses. In their pages they provide a list of questions worth asking any company you are considering doing business with. Here are some of the key questions:
· What type of products is the vendor experienced in handling?
· Does the vendor require an exclusive arrangement to fill all your orders or does it allow you to use another fulfillment house in conjunction with them?
· Does the vendor have minimum volumes?
· How quickly can you expect orders to be filled?
· What hardware/software might you need to install to integrate with the vendor’s backend systems for order processing and real time inventory information?
· How will your customers track orders?
· How will non-internet orders be handled?
· How scalable is the vendor? i.e. will they be able to grow with your business?
· How will returns and disputes be handled?
· Does the vendor handle international orders, and if so, how?
· Does the vendor offer gift-wrapping or any other special services
· Will you be able to include catalogues or other branding materials or special offers in shipments?
The final price for a presentation copy of one of SCAN’s wills will be dependant on a number of factors:
· The actual cost of producing the copy.
· The type of packaging chosen, i.e. flat packed, a scroll case or framed.
· Whether only one page or the entire will is bought. If the entire will is bought does the customer pay a flat fee or per page costs?
Additional aspects to consider are services such as drop shipping, priority order, postage and packing and gift-wrapping. Prices will have to be determined for these extra services. This would be best done once a fulfillment house is chosen. I feel that SCAN should aim to make their profit on the base cost of the product and when it comes to charging for these services the prices should be set at as low a level as possible (possibly only the cost the fulfillment house itself charges), by doing it this way customers will feel that they are getting a fair deal.
From analyzing prices charged for similar products via the
Internet and comparing their offerings to that of the SCAN product, I would
suggest that a price be chosen between £25 and £30 for the basic print (if only
1-3 pages required). Obviously, as this
is a commercial product that is being sold we are looking to set the price at a
rounded number with which the customer associates good value for money. The price we set, in
Using the online xe.com currency converter the prices are as follows:
· £25 = $35
· £28 = $40
· £30 = $42
What remains to be decided is in which currency we wish our most attractive, commercial price to be set in. I would suggest that we price the product based around the US Dollar price, as they are likely to be the largest purchasing group.
By choosing to price the product in a manner that will
Providing Presentation Copies of Wills and Testaments is definitely a very viable and lucrative option, however there are going to be problems that SCAN will incur. As with the online payment options there is the problem of providing fulfillment houses with accurate sales predictions. Although there are companies that will still provide a service for you, it may not be in SCAN’s best interests to tie themselves into a formal contract with a fulfillment house if the outcome (being sales) is unknown. If sales do not meet initial expectations SCAN may still have to pay fulfillment house fees, until they do. This could cost SCAN dearly.
Nevertheless, this product clearly has huge potential as an income generator for SCAN and the idea should not be dismissed.
One suggestion to overcome this would involve offering only a very small selection of presentation copies available for sale in order to monitor and help predict demand. If this option was chosen it could easily be operated from Thomas Thomson House (TTH) to begin with. I would suggest that only 5-10 testaments be offered to the customer, with limited services (possibly only offer the document presented in a scroll case or mounted, perhaps framed) initially. These products are most likely to sell if they are of interest to a customer, therefore the testaments chosen for this limited promotion should either be: incredibly pleasing/interesting to view, incredibly old (therefore perceived as very valuable), of comic value or of subject matter which a large spread of buyers will be interested in such as famous/notorious Scots.
By offering only these limited products and services when the site is first launched, it will enable SCAN to concentrate most efforts into the core purpose of the site and ensure the highest possible product/service is given. However, some form of the presentation copy is still being offered and if demand permits, the product/service could be extended later if chosen.
In 1999, $900 billion consumer purchases were carried out by credit card and it is expected that by 2002 credit card transactions will account for 98% of Internet sales. With such a number of transactions being conducted it makes sense that SCAN’s main method of payment via the Internet should be by credit card. However, if the company wished to, other forms of online purchasing could be adopted in addition. These include Internet cheques, Smart Cards etc. however, they do tend to involve more start up cash and I would suggest that initially SCAN solely uses credit cards and further down the line, if there is the demand and once actual sales are more accurately known then these may be possibilities you would wish to consider.
A further bonus of credit card payment is that it encourages impulse buying. Impulse buying could have a positive impact on SCAN: if someone who is interested in genealogy/family history/Scotland etc, is using the SCAN index they are going to want to be able to view some of the high quality images (especially if it is their first time using it) and if all they have to do is fill out a simple online form then I believe that they are likely to do so. Even if they only order one out of sheer interest that could amount to thousands of pounds for SCAN and an ignited interest in the product among consumers.
There are a huge variety of options available to SCAN for accepting online payments. This section will give some introductory information on the process of accepting payments, outline the different choices available to SCAN and provide several brief profiles on some of the companies that would be suited to SCAN’s needs.
In order to process credit cards online SCAN will require:
· Merchant Account with a Bank
· A Secure Sever
· Middleman – Credit Card Clearing/processing service
· Shopping Cart Software
Many companies can offer an all-in service that will fulfill all of these necessary requirements (these will be discussed later).
1. Firstly, the most important thing you require is an Internet Merchant Account (these are normally banks and are often referred to as an “acquiring bank”). The purpose of this account is to have deposited in it, any credit acquired through the sale of goods and/or services via the Internet. This may seem like a very straightforward task, but as with everything related to online transactions, there are a number of ways in which your business could go about this and a whole list of pros and cons to match each option.
Banks (if possible your local bank) are usually the most safe and secure option, however they can charge high rates and are often very picky about whom they allow to open a Merchant Account. The main reason they operate this way is because e-commerce is viewed as incredibly risky, and some of the risks a bank (or indeed any MAP) will identify in your company are:
Credit Risk Generally, the more money your business makes in sales per month the more risky you are for your account provider.
Fraud Risk The main concern here are charge backs incurred due to fraudulent use of credit cards. In this instance the law heavily favors the customer and if any claim of fraudulent use is made the bank must return the credit to the customer. Therefore, at this point the bank assumes all the risk before passing it on to the merchant. Unfortunately, charge backs are even more common in international transactions.
In addition to these two determinants your company will also be assessed on the following material:
The length of time you have been in business Generally the longer the less risky you are deemed to be.
Type of Product Intangible products are considered more risky than tangible products.
Personal Credit History & Tax Returns will also be assessed.
From these criteria SCAN is not likely to have too much trouble in obtaining a Merchant Account from its local bank. The company has been established for 3 years, there is money in the bank and there is no bad past credit history. However the product for sale may be deemed risky due to its intangibility, unique nature and undefined content. The only way of determining whether this product will be acceptable is to contact the bank. Bank of Scotland (SCAN’s current account provider) do offer Internet Merchant Accounts but you have to contact them directly to obtain any further information (www.bankofscotland.co.uk or tel: 01383 743 734).
2. A secure server is needed to take the information provided by the cardholder on the merchant’s website and send it to the processor. A merchant can choose to have this information sent to them and process it manually before dispatching it to have it verified by the cardholder’s bank or it can be done in real time. Having the information processed in real time means the information provided by the customer goes straight to your MAP or ISO (whichever method you choose to handle your online processing), through software. The ISO/MAP will electronically have this information verified and send the merchant and customer a response in a matter of seconds. Only after authorization from the merchant will any money be transferred.
3. Credit Card clearers or processors verify the cards and check sufficient funds are available before transferring them from one bank to another. If you choose to use an ISO/MAP then they can provide this service by acting as a reseller of another company’s service (the most widely used credit card processors are Authorise.NET and CyberCash). As the merchant you do not participate in this activity but contract it out and the payments are transferred into the ISO/MAP’s account and they pay you it back, after deducting their fee, on either an instant, weekly, bi-monthly or monthly basis. If you wish you could deal with a processor directly but then you would require the necessary software and time to process any orders and then forward the information to them. This can be a time-consuming process, especially if there are a large number of orders therefore it would probably be simpler for SCAN to allow someone else to do it.
4. Shopping cart software is the last prerequisite to enable a merchant to engage in e-commerce. Again, this can all be provided by the ISO/MAP or if you wish to use your own most of the companies are compatible with the most popular software.
The terms ISO (Independent Sales Organisation) and MAP (Merchant Account Provider) are thrown around an awful lot in the industry and are often describing the same thing. Although a true MAP is a bank, however, some companies refer to themselves as MAPs when essentially they provide the same service as an ISO. An ISO is a company you contract to act as a middleman between you and your acquiring bank. The services many of them offer can be tailored to suit your own specific needs: i.e. if you cannot obtain a merchant account some of them will provide one for you, they can provide shopping cart solutions, shop front solutions and take care of the entire transaction for you – of course for a fee. If you do choose to take this route it will render you with a fairly stress-free way of managing these matters. Most companies will accept the information filled out by the customer, encrypt it and take it to a secure server where it will be authorized by both participating banks and the monies transferred, they will also deal with any billing enquiries leaving your website free from the clutter of any queries concerning payment.
There are a number of pitfalls that you must be aware of when examining these companies:
· Some advertise very low fees and wait until you are tied into a contract before announcing a whole number of hidden fees.
· Be very wary of any which do not require you to have a merchant account, it could mean the company are engaging in some illegal activity.
· Complaints about many ISO practices are increasing therefore the main issue is to be overly cautious or choose a reputable company.
· Many of the companies offer complete services, although these are much easier for the merchant it is worth costing the process if you were to do it without an ISO all-in service. As SCAN has an IT department working directly for them, they may be better-placed to advise you.
There are a number of costs associated with online payment. The following list provides an outline of some of the fees you may encounter (these fees will vary depending on the company and package you choose):
An Application/Set-up Fee Depending on whether you choose to lease or purchase the necessary hardware and software: $0 - $1500 (£0 - £1070)
Monthly Minimum Fee Some providers insist on a monthly minimum be paid to them irrespective of what you sell. SCAN may be faced with this as there is no accurate way of predicting how many copies of wills are going to be sold.
$0 - $50 (£0 - £35.50)
Discount Rate This is the main source of revenue an ISO/MAP has. Credit Card Companies charge the ISO/MAP 1.8%-1.85% so you are unlikely to find anything less than this.
The average discount rate charged is 2.5% - 3% per transaction.
The Discount Rate charged will be dependent on the merchant’s annual sales volume, average ticket size, industry size and the type of cards accepted.
Per-Transaction Fee Not all providers use this fee, but if they don’t the discount rate is likely to be high. This fee is a set figure that you must pay per transaction, usually:
$0.25 - $1.00 (18p – 70p)
If a company is likely to be selling low cost products in abundance then a low transaction fee with a slightly higher discount rate may be advisable. SCAN may wish to consider this approach, as their product is not likely to be regarded as highly priced.
Monthly Statement Fee Depending on the information you wish to be included in the statement, it is likely to cost:
$0 - $50 (£0 - £35.50)
Monthly Gateway Fee The fee charged for access to the secure site and for processing credit card transactions.
$15 -$50 (£10 - £35.50)
There is another option which I feel may be of interest to SCAN: 3rd Party Payment Processors. This provides a short cut for businesses wishing to accept credit cards online. 3rd Party Processors take care of the entire process from shopping cart software, credit card authorization, customer service, billing enquiries and the merchant account. The way they work is by using their own merchant account, thereby allowing you not to have one. They then take care of every aspect of the transaction and pay you back your sales profits bi-weekly.
On average, they do charge a higher discount rate than most ISOs, usually 4%-15%, but this is the only fee that you will pay. By working this way you pay less for small orders and nothing when you are not selling.
Although in the long run this would not be an advisable option, it could be a definite possibility to begin with. If SCAN does not have the time and resources to get an online payment system in place before the launch of the commercial website then this simple process could be ideal until more time can be devoted to the cause. One thing to watch out for if this option is taken is that many providers do not deal with intangible goods. http://www.iBill.com is one that does allow the sale of both products and services.
As previously mentioned, the largest problems SCAN is likely to face include:
· Problems encountered by being unable to predict accurate sales figures for SCAN’s products prior to their launch.
· Possible problems due to the intangibility of SCAN’s premier product.
· Problems encountered due to fraudulent use of credit cards:
i. Fraudulent use is likely to occur more often during international transactions.
ii. An enquiry worth being made directly to the company would be their policy towards fraud claims. As SCAN’s product is intangible and it is provided immediately after payment is made what happens when two weeks later a fraud claim is made against that transaction? The product cannot be returned as it has already been viewed. SCAN could lose out heavily here.
In order to determine the best providers to use and the best fee structure to choose for your online payment transactions, it is essential that you thoroughly consider the nature of your product. As previously mentioned there are some companies who will not process transactions for intangible goods. SCAN will need to ensure that their provider will be equipped to sell both tangible and intangible goods. In addition, providers will almost always ask for predicted sales figures in order to set their fees. This may prove difficult for SCAN, as there are no sales projections yet. All of these points make it very clear that this is not going to be a quick and easy set-up for SCAN and more time will need to be spent discussing with providers the unique nature of your product and trying to determine the best possible option for the company.
I would advise SCAN to set up their own merchant account, with their current bank if possible and then make use of a reputable ISO such as PlanetPayment for the additional services, although initially you may wish to consider using a 3rd Party Processor.
Appendix 4a. Provides some brief profiles about some of the providers I think may be of interest to SCAN.
The questionnaire, a copy of which can be seen in appendix 5a, was designed to be as user friendly as possible and at the same enable us to extract the information deemed necessary. It was placed online at www.scan.org.uk/wills_questions.htm . An email was forwarded to the following groups, asking them to partake in a short questionnaire to help SCAN design its final product based on the requirements of its target audience:
· Members of the SCAN website who expressed an interest in Scottish Wills when registering (around 400 members).
· Members of the Glasgow and West of Scotland Family History Society (have around 2000 members worldwide).
· To a variety of people who have an interest in genealogy, and have previously visited “Roots Consultancy Services”, forwarded by Ewan Steed.
The response we received was
phenomenal, receiving over 360 responses from all over the world, including
countries as far afield as
The remainder of this section will concentrate on presenting the results received from each section and recommending future actions based on both these results and any prior knowledge of SCAN’s resources, expectations and limitations.
1.2 Where do you live?
The graph below shows the
breakdown of respondents from each of the areas of the world. As shown, most of the responses came from the
1.4 Do you regularly use the Internet for research purposes?
YES: 96% NO: 4%
We already know that genealogy is a very popular Internet topic and these figures support this. With so many people choosing to use the Internet for family research SCAN is sure to receive a huge number of interest when the site is launched.
The sites most used were: Scots Origins, Ancestry.com, Rootsweb and Cyndi’s List.
1.6 Have you ever ordered photocopies from a Scottish Archive before?
51% said YES
With over half the respondents having ordered and viewed Scottish archival material before, there is clearly a demand for the service among our target market. In addition, demand is likely to increase when SCAN is launched due the new ease with which the documents will be obtained (some respondents made comments along these lines).
This figure also tells us that over half our informants were knowledgeable about SCAN’s product (Archival Material) and therefore their answers should be very well informed and useful to SCAN.
1.8 For what purpose might you want to use Scottish Wills?
81% chose genealogy as their main purpose for using Scottish Wills. This is good news for SCAN as the site is already relevant to the user who is interested in Family History, in other words the site will be accommodating for the target market.
With only such a small percentage of the 360 respondents choosing these latter purposes, it appears clear that the greater part of SCAN’s custom and revenue is going to be from the average researcher. Therefore, pricing structures, payment methods and special offers should be aimed at them and not professional or academic researchers.
2.1 How do you feel SCAN’s colour image compares to that of the black and white photocopy?
The digital image did not come across, in the questionnaire, nearly as well as it will online but 44% still thought that it was a vast improvement on the black and white image and only 1% thought it wasn’t as good.
This shows that SCAN has nothing to worry about in terms of the quality of their digital image. It is clearly high enough for customers and few complaints are likely to made in this area.
2.2 Do you think that you will use SCAN’s new online service for Scottish Wills?
This is a terrific response to this question, showing that there is huge demand for the SCAN site. The remainder of the questionnaire answers will focus on determining demand for more specific products and services.
2.3 If yes, how often do you think you would use it?
52% stating that they would use the service either very or fairly regularly.
Only 3% stating One Off.
These responses show that clearly we have a repeat business situation, before this research we were unsure about the frequency at which people would use SCAN but now we have a better idea.
Due to the higher frequency at which people are likely to use the site, I feel that there will definitely be a need to have a customer account system in place. Although not everyone wished to purchase Wills in large quantity (see question 3.2) I think if they are going to be using the site weekly they will not want to have to go through the entire payment system every time. Therefore, it would be most convenient for the frequent user to be able to pay into an account and use the credits whenever they wish (no time limit).
2.4 It is SCAN’s policy to reproduce these documents in their original state, therefore we cannot guarantee that they will be easy to read in all cases. How do you think that you would feel if the Will (s) you ordered fell into any of these categories?
We were very unsure about how customers would react to damaged/hard to read Wills. These figures give a far clearer indication of reaction.
Only 20% stated they would be disappointed/very disappointed.
SCAN’s concerns about receiving floods of complaints concerning the variable nature of Wills can be dismissed, according to these figures. However, it would remain best practice to place a disclaimer on the site warning buyers about the nature of the product and a preview box should definitely still be used to view the chosen document before purchase.
I would also suggest, that as the majority of respondents did not appear to mind about damaged/hard to read Wills then there is no need to go to the length of implementing a banded price structure. As the Pricing Section (section 2) section shows, it would be a very complicated thing to do and a waste of valuable time and resources if customers are willing to pay for a Will despite its condition.
2.5 If you did purchase a Will online that you were unable to read due to old Scots handwriting, would you:
With 61% stating they would try to read/learn to read their Will, a number of options present themselves to SCAN:
§ SCAN should continue and expand their page on the website offering help and advice on reading Old Scots. In the disclaimer at the point of purchase when the variable nature of the product is described, it should be stated that help can be found on the SCAN site.
Demand for courses may increase and SCAN could
provide the service, running courses at TTH
(with 80% of
SCAN could also consider providing a course on
With 27% stating they would hire someone to transcribe their Will, it is difficult to suggest one definite action. At such a small proportion, it would seem unworthy to offer such a service. However, as only 33 people had actually viewed a Will before, I feel that many were unaware of just how taxing transcribing can be. I think that when people attempt to read them themselves they will run into far more difficulty than imagined and will then consider using a professional.
The only definite recommendation that can be made here is to keep this option very much open and wait to see what the actual demand is before contacting palaeographers and setting up the service.
2.6 If you decided to go for option B – hire someone to transcribe it for you, would you want them to:
With the figures being so similar, if this service was offered it would be necessary to offer the customer the choice of both options. However, here again I feel that when customers realize the costs involved in purchasing a full transcription they are more likely to opt for the summary.
2.7 If a digital image of a Will online cost around £7/$10 (regardless of the number of pages), do you think this represents good value for money?
81% felt that £7 represented either Good or Very Good value for money.
These figures imply that the price was pitched in the correct region to engage a feeling of value for money among customers.
The price should not be increased anymore. However, I think it would be wise to lower it slightly – to £5/£6 per Will. By doing this more people are likely to think that the price represents Very Good value for money. If the price is set at one of these levels SCAN will be thought of as providing a very high quality product/service at very good value and this image will bring customers back time and time again and ensure the majority are satisfied.
3.1 If you did decide to purchase a Will online, by which methods would you prefer to make your payment?
With 90% choosing their preferred method of payment to be by Credit Card clearly this is the only option to go with.
By not accepting cheques, postal orders or smart cards SCAN will not be losing a great deal of custom. In addition, by using just one method of payment the process will be less costly and time consuming for SCAN. See section 4 for information on accepting Credit card payment online.
3.2 How would you prefer to purchase the service?
Although the majority have chosen to purchase the Wills by a flat fee I still feel that it would be wise to offer both of the purchase options, particularly for people using the site frequently, see question 2.3.
Another useful piece of information that emerges from these figures concerns implications for credit card charges. These are more fully described in section 4. The main concern for SCAN is choosing an ISO with charges most suitable to SCAN’s selling conditions:
The main charge is either in the form of a higher Per-Transaction Fee or a higher Discount Rate. If most customers are going to purchase Wills for a flat fee then it would be SCAN’s best interest to opt for a company with a lower Per-Transaction Fee, and slightly higher Discount Rate in order to incur the lowest possible charges.
4.1 Would you prefer to:
At 68%, clearly SCAN must offer both these services.
4.2 For what purposes would you require a digital hard copy / printout?
This question informs us that there is a demand for this service. The majority of people chose the “Prefer Paper” option, and commented that they liked having a hardcopy to keep alongside all their other genealogy documentation and research or because they do not trust computers entirely.
4.2 The price for this product is likely to be £1.50 - £2.00 per A3 colour page... Do you think that this represents good value for money?
The price charged for purchasing hardcopies from SCAN should be at the higher end of the one quoted in the questionnaire. I feel that £2.00 per A3 colour page is a reasonable price to charge.
Evidence suggesting why this is an appropriate price:
This graph shows that only 2% of informants who chose to purchase their hardcopies from SCAN felt the price was not very good value for money. Because the vast majority believe the price is good or very good value for money, SCAN can definitely charge £2.00 per page and ensure customers are happy.
Of those informants who chose to printout hard copies from their computer:
21% Very Good
17% Not Very Good
The people chose to printout from their own PC do not seem to think that SCAN’s price is unreasonable. This suggests that their motivation for not choosing SCAN has nothing to do with money but is more likely to do with issues such as speed and convenience.
This last point, again supports charging £2.00 per page.
There were a number of people who only partially completed this section, this is most likely to be because it was the last part of the questionnaire and people wanted to finish. For these purposes I shall only use the answers provided by people who said in the first instance that they were interested in the product.
5.1 Would you be interested in purchasing this product if it were available?
The demand for this product is not as high as I had thought it would be, however some of this may be due to the above reasoning.
Nevertheless, half of all the responses did show an interest in the product and therefore SCAN should definitely look to sell presentation copies.
5.2 If yes, would you be interested in presentation copies of the Wills of:
The suggestion made previously in this report concerning the sale of a limited number of Wills of Famous/Notorious Scots does not appear to be such a viable option anymore. Only 16% requested both and 0% requested Famous/Notorious Scots. If this service were to be offered on a temporary basis to allow SCAN to monitor demand it is unlikely that it would predict actual demand as the category most customers desire will not be on offer and it would be very difficult to offer a limited umber of ancestors.
The only practical option for SCAN is to have a page on the website asking users if they would, in the future, wish to purchase a presentation copy (giving details of services, price etc). Although this is essentially what has just been done, it may bring back more accurate information on actual demand. Because SCAN does not wish to spend the time it would take to get this service in operation prior to the launch, this is the only means for further prediction of demand.
5.2 Which of these services would you be interested in if SCAN were to provide them?
This shows that SCAN should concentrate on providing
Framed Copies of Wills and copies of Wills presented in Scroll Cases. This means that when this product is first
launched by SCAN, they will not need to spend the time providing a whole array
of services. By simply concentrating on
these two the majority of customers should be satisfied. However, SCAN may wish to operate the “Send
to a Friend” option during major holidays (particularly
5.3 Many Wills are more than 1 page long, in the case of presentation copies would you wish to purchase:
Clearly SCAN is going to have to provide both options in order to meet customer requirements. However, once Wills are being chosen that run above 10 pages in length a proportionally higher price should be charged. This could be in the form of a premium that may be for every extra page or extra 10 pages.
5.4 If a presentation copy of a Will costs around £30 including a mount and P&P, do you think this represents good value for money?
Over half the respondents interested in presentation copies felt that £30 represented Good value for money. However, over 30% did not think this.
I recommend that SCAN lower the price a little. £25 would be more indicative of good value for money. If the price is not lowered, SCAN risks losing at least 30% of potential sales.
The following graph shows what those people who did not express an interest in purchasing a presentation copy thought about the price:
68% felt that £30 definitely did not represent good value for money. This implies that for many respondents, their reasons for not wanting to purchase a presentation copy was the price to be charged for them.
Based on the data and implications drawn from these graphs, in order for SCAN to generate the maximum revenue possible (based on maximum sales), the price would be best to be lowered to £25 per presentation copy including a mount and P&P.
A copy of all the relevant comments made can be found in Appendix 5b. These are arranged by country and were generally very useful and encouraging.
Although there may appear to be quite a number of comments concerning the price, these only accounted for a very small proportion of the respondents and there were far more who were entirely satisfied with the prices quoted.
One recommendation that has arisen from some comments is the need to re-emphasise that SCAN is a NPO, and that all profits made from the sale of Wills and other products/services will be reinvested in the company and used to provide more services for the public.
Appendix 5c provides a breakdown of the most important questions by country.
The main conclusions to be drawn from the responses are:
89% felt that the digital image was an improvement or vast improvement.
99% would use SCAN’s online service.
52% would use it fairly or very regularly, with the largest user group being “Once in a While” (45%).
Only 20% would be disappointed/very disappointed if they could not read their will.
81% felt that £7 represented very good/good value for money.
£5/£6 should be charged per Will.
90% chose credit card as their preferred means of payment.
75% chose to pay by a flat fee per Will.
Customers should have the option of purchasing wills for a flat fee or in a larger quantity.
68% would prefer to be able to purchase from SCAN and printout from their PC.
98% of respondents who chose SCAN though £1.50-£2.00 represented very good/good value for money.
83% of respondents, who chose PC, felt SCAN’s price was very good/good value for money.
£2.00 should be charged per A3 colour copy.
50% of informants showed an interest in purchasing a presentation copy.
Of those 50%, 69% felt £30 represented very good/good value for money.
Of the 50% who were not interested, 68% felt that £30 definitely did not represent good value for money.
£25 should be charge for a Presentation copy of a Will.
In, conclusion this market research has proved very useful in helping determine Pricing and Product Structures along with receiving general feedback from our target markets, most of which was very positive and encouraging.