September 9th, 2013
Today as I was browsing my Facebook account aimlessly my eyeballs came across a little post from DJI. It read “We’re happy to announce a change to the price of the Phantom!” My first thought was “Oh no, please no — now we’re going to have even more irresponsible people buying these ready to fly (RTF) QuadCopters and operating them without regard for persons or property on the ground.” Then I thought about a little similar looking copter recently released by Walkera in the beginning of August. I tried to remember the price for that little beast. The copter is the Walkera QR X350 and it is priced at $449 in a RTF configuration similar to that of the DJI Phantom. It is one of three potential competitors out there at the moment for DJI’s Phantom. The other two are the Blade 350 QX priced at $469, and the IdeaFly Apollo, priced at $569. Up until today, all were priced below the DJI Phantom’s going rate of $679.
How does DJI welcome new entrants to the Market? By crushing the competition with a drastic price cut. DJI dropped the price of the Phantom from the original $679 by $200 to $479. In my personal opinion, that is going to pretty much take Walkera’s, IdeaFly’s, and Horizon Hobbies’ entrants out of the picture. For those that were on the fence between purchasing one of these little white plastic abominations, the choice has just been made even easier. There’s no longer any need to spend an extra $200 or so. Now if you want to procure the QuadCopter with the larger user base and longer list of available accessories the price is much more reasonable. So will people experiment with the new kids on the block or just go with a solution that is already proven to some extent? DJI knows the answer to that question. Smart business move, right? Market share is everything. Or is it?
Well…if I purchased a DJI Phantom a month ago or even a week ago for $679, I’d be one pretty pissed off camper right now. But hold on, DJI cares about all you past suckers (customers) out there. They want to make you happy if you’re someone who purchased a Phantom before September 9th, 2013. They’re not going to leave you hanging in the prop wash. DJI is offering those unlucky saps that purchased a Phantom before September 9th a credit voucher of $150!!! Great right? Well, it doesn’t equal the $200 price drop, but it’s something. Something is better than nothing, so now at least you can spend that money on something else that’s useful. Wrong. The voucher is only good if you use it to purchase the brand new DJI Phantom II or Phantom Vision.
It seems to me that DJI doesn’t think its current customers are too intelligent. They also seem to think that if you purchase a DJI product it must mean that you’d like to shackled with a ball and chain so that you’ll keep purchasing DJI products. If I had personally purchased a Phantom before September 9th, I wouldn’t be too happy with DJI right now. I’d also have no desire to use my $150 voucher to purchase a new, improved Phantom that they’ll probably just cut the price of in a few months. Customers like to trust the companies they purchase products from, and moves like this cause consumers to quickly lose trust and feel taken. Nice Job DJI.
DJI’s official release can be read here.