Netflix simplemente cambió silenciosamente sus precios. Millones de clientes ni siquiera se dieron cuenta

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¿Tiene una suscripción a Netflix? Piense en el momento en que se registró. ¿Obtuviste una prueba gratuita?

Lo pregunto porque supuestamente Netflix detuvo las pruebas gratuitas de 30 días el mes pasado. Esta es una decisión clara y cuantitativa de una gran empresa que cotiza en bolsa que puede brindar una oportunidad de aprendizaje para las personas que dirigen empresas de todos los tamaños.

Netflix no anunció el final de las pruebas gratuitas, pero los clientes y periodistas con ojos de águila notaron la desaparición y Netflix finalmente confirmó el cambio.

«Las pruebas gratuitas no están disponibles», dice en el sitio web de Netflix. «Sin embargo, aún puede registrarse y aprovechar todas las ofertas de Netflix. No hay contratos, tarifas de cancelación ni obligaciones. Puede realizar cambios con total libertad». Siempre puede cancelar su plan en línea si decide que Netflix no es para usted. «

Ahora ya tengo una cuenta de Netflix, así que no tengo un perro persiguiendo si la compañía debería ofrecer pruebas gratuitas o no. Tal vez no.

Vale la pena señalar que Netflix ha intentado todo tipo de cosas con sus ofertas de precios y suscripción: incluida la prohibición de nuevos clientes de Netflix a través de aplicaciones para teléfonos inteligentes (para evitar pagar comisiones a Apple o Google), aumentar los precios e incluso ofrecer un país entero (India) dos días de transmisión gratuita.

Independientemente del tipo de negocio en el que se encuentre, tiene sentido tener cuidado aquí.

Porque la fijación de precios es un desafío constante para muchos emprendedores, y hay Nada es más triste, al menos a ojos de tu director financiero, que una empresa que subestima sus productos o servicios, dejando dinero sobre la mesa (o si prefieres no sacar ningún valor).

Al mismo tiempo, no querrás ponerte fuera de un mercado o incluso enviar señales no intencionales y adversas sobre la calidad de tu producto al subestimarlo.

Lo que me gusta de Netflix como ejemplo para las empresas más pequeñas es que es tan grande y tan fácil de decidir que casi puedes hacer los cálculos sin tener acceso a los números.

En otras palabras, no puedo decirle cuántos nuevos clientes potenciales no se registrarán para obtener una nueva cuenta de Netflix si no hay una prueba gratuita disponible, o cuántos nuevos «clientes» (las ofertas están previstas) que de otra manera podrían intentar Las pruebas inalámbricas que siempre se ejecutan juntas ahora pagan una suscripción.

Pero apuesto a que Netflix tiene muy buenas ideas sobre cómo resultarán estas dos variables, y si no fue antes, estas estimaciones se compilarán en breve. Aquí también se beneficia del hecho de que se trata de una decisión de precios que solo afecta a los nuevos clientes: la mayoría de los millones de clientes existentes probablemente nunca se darían cuenta o no les importaría.

Quizás Estas son las preguntas que también debes hacerte en tu empresa.

No es que imitar a Netflix sea como una plantilla de precios. Hay otros factores y problemas de escala que probablemente cuestionarían los números específicos de su empresa de todos modos.

Pero incluso saber qué preguntas hacer puede resultar difícil.

Y si alguna vez ha estado en ese momento tratando de encontrar la mejor estrategia de precios para un nuevo producto o servicio, entonces puede seguir los pasos demostrados públicamente de una importante compañía de servicios digitales como Netflix y tener un poco más de confianza en el suyo. Decisiones.

Las opiniones expresadas por los columnistas de Inc.com aquí son las suyas, no las de Inc.com.

"Free trials are not available," the Netflix website now says, "but you can still sign up and take advantage of all Netflix has to offer. There are no contracts, no cancellation fees, and no commitments. You have the freedom to change your plan or cancel online at any time if you decide Netflix isn't for you."

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Now, I already have a Netflix account, so I don't have a dog in the hunt about whether the company should or shouldn't offer free trials. Maybe you don't, either.

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And it's worth noting that Netflix has been trying all kinds of things with its pricing and subscription offerings: including not allowing new customers to sign up for Netflix via smartphone apps (so as to avoid paying commissions to Apple or Google), raising prices, and even offering an entire country (India) two days of free streaming.

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But, no matter what kind of business you're running, it makes sense to pay attention here.

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Because pricing is a perpetual challenge for many entrepreneurs, and there's nothing sadder, at least in the eyes of your CFO, than a business that prices its products or services too low, thus leaving money on the table (or if you prefer, failing to capture value).

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At the same time, you also don't want to price yourself out of a market, or even send unintentional and disadvantageous signals about the quality of your product by pricing it too low.

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What I like about Netflix as an example for smaller businesses is that its scale is so large, and the decision so simple, that you can almost do the math without having access to the numbers.

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In other words, I can't tell you how many potential new customers might balk at signing up for a new Netflix account now based on no free trial--or how many new "customers" (quotes are intentional) who might otherwise attempt to string free trials together perpetually, will now pay for a subscription.

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But I'll bet Netflix has pretty good ideas what both of those variables will turn out to be -- and if it didn't before, it will compile those estimates shortly. Also, it benefits here from the fact that this is a pricing decision affecting only new customers--most of its millions of existing customers would probably never even notice or care.

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Perhaps these are the kinds of questions you should be asking, too, in your business.

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Look, it's not as if imitating Netflix is like having a pricing template. There are other factors and questions of scale that probably would make the specific numbers moot for your company, anyway.

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But even knowing what questions to ask can be difficult.   

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And if you've ever been in that moment--trying to come up with your best guess for the best pricing strategy for a new product or service--then following the publicly demonstrated moves of a big, commodity service digital company like Netflix can make you a bit more confident in your decisions.

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