Quicken publisher Reckon has once again overhauled its business model, launching a new pricing structure and marketing strategy for the newest version of its financial software, Quickbooks 2002.
The substantial price changes mean the company will have to work hard to appease its channel, which has been bombarded by distribution and support changes over the past 12 months.
"They are increasing their best-selling product, Quickbooks, by 73 per cent," said one reseller. "The RRP was $259 and it will jump to $449.95. Combined with their huge price increases last year for support makes it very difficult to sell their product. In fact, we may stop altogether."
The price hike has been exacerbated by Quicken removing a number of versions from its product line-up, including the entry-level product, which carried a price tag of just $199. Quicken has also completely revamped its software for the latest release of Quickbooks, according to marketing manager Philip Henry.
"The product has changed substantially. We are talking about a completely different code-base," he said, adding that the new software built upon more than 15 key features to add more functionality and integration. The new arrangement will make it simpler for resellers to offer upgrades and will also introduce a 12-month subscription program for $199.
"We have really rationalised [the range]," said national sales manager Glenn Roberts. "Previously we had all these upgrades and cross-grades -- it was just crazy. Now it is simpler and customers can upgrade from any version, to any version."
Quicken is taking its new product on a roadshow across the country to resellers and end users, comparing the new software to its chief rival in the market, MYOB. The seminar is due to hit Sydney on June 12.
In a special promotion for resellers, Quicken will bundle Quickbooks 2002 with its new OnlineStore software, a do-it-yourself e-tailing site builder which also links back into the company's financial software. The title normally retails for $199.95, but will be bundled as a free offer until December.
Roberts said the overall feedback from the seminars has been very positive. "There is nothing more striking than hearing accounts from end users," he said. "We've spent the last eight years making a better product and never really saying it."
Quicken has also overhauled its product packaging to stand out on retail shelves and is working with large retailers to provide point-of sale-material and support. It is the largest stock rotation ever for the company.
"It had the potential to go really, really wrong," Quicken business development manager Steve Batten said. "But the changes -- in the range and in the business model -- have had a very positive reaction, because it creates a lot of interest within the store."