Amazon is following in the footsteps of brick-and-mortar retailers with an offer customers aren't likely to refuse -- a $50 credit to individuals who purchased HD-DVD players. Best Buy and Wal-Mart have already implemented similar policies.
Sony's Blu-ray recently achieved a permanent victory over rival high-definition format HD DVD. With Blu-ray backed by almost every major Hollywood studio, Toshiba raised the white flag on HD DVD. That left thousands of consumers with a device that will soon become obsolete as the industry distributes movies on Blu-ray discs.
Amazon is offering consumers who purchased an HD-DVD player before Feb. 23 a little consolation, a $50 coupon good for anything Amazon sells. Feb. 23 is when Toshiba announced it would stop making HD-DVD players.
"New technologies don't always work out as planned. We at Amazon.com value our customer relationships more than anything and would like to support customers who purchased these players by offering a credit good for $50 off any products sold by Amazon.com," the company said in an e-mail to customers who purchased the HD-DVD machines.
Priming the Pump
Amazon offered a promotional code for consumers to use during the checkout process. It's not an indefinite offer, though. The deal expires on April 9, 2009. There's one more catch -- purchases from third-party merchants on the site are not eligible.
The offer can't be used to pay for special-order titles, e-books or downloadable e-content, wireless service plans, gift certificates, gift wrap, taxes, or shipping and handling. The maximum credit for consumers who may have purchased multiple units is $500 for 10 players.
Amazon also took the opportunity to share some of its top offers on Blu-ray discs, HDTVs and other high-definition technology. The company also reminded customers that the Amazon Marketplace is open for them to sell items they might not want as they upgrade to new ones.
Amazon is not the first retailer to try to appease consumers who purchased HD-DVD players. Last month, Best Buy launched a similar program, awarding $50 to customers who purchased HD-DVD players. On Tuesday Wal-Mart said it is extending its return policy from 90 days to six months on HD-DVD players. Meanwhile, many retailers continue to sell the HD-DVD players they have in stock.
Amazon's Customer-Friendly Moves
"Amazon.com has always attempted to establish a reputation as a Boy Scout for online merchants," said Phil Leigh, senior analyst at Inside Digital Media. "This is just another item of evidence that it is continuing that philosophy."
The philosophy serves Amazon well, he noted, because it has instilled consumer trust and helped establish the e-tailer as a clear leader. Customers have an expectation that Amazon will treat them well, Leigh said.
"Amazon has put together a reputation for treating their customers well. That has led customers to be loyal to them and gravitate toward the Web site, even if they can find lower prices elsewhere," Leigh said. "This move is just another step in that direction."