Ask catalog or Internet retailers what a return cost them, and they will likely be able to cite some very specific numbers reflecting shipping costs, processing labor, damaged packaging, and so on. But it turns out there’s a specific value that customers apply to returns, or, more accurately, the OPTION of returning a product. That value varies by the type of product, the product price, and other factors. […]
What makes a luxury brand? In The Luxury Strategy, Jean-Noel Kapferer and Vincent Bastien tell us in great detail what distinguishes "luxury" from "premium" and the merely expensive. And, as one might expect, our emotions play a huge role in the way we perceive luxury.
Book Review: Differentiate or Die by Jack Trout (Second Edition)
If someone asked you what set your product or brand apart from the competition, would you answer “quality” or “customer orientation?” If your answer is “yes,” you might be in for a rude awakeing… […]
Why a logical product lineup may not be the most profitable
When marketers plan a company’s product offerings, they usually try to do so in the most logical way possible. Several levels of product may be offered – a stripped-down, basic version, a more capable better version, and perhaps a “best” version. These would normally be priced at quite different levels, probably based in part on the relative manufacturing costs of the products. In one of my most-read posts, Decoy Marketing, I described research that showed how a seemingly irrational pricing strategy, i.e., pricing an inferior product either the same or almost the same as a better one, could boost sales of the better product by making it look like a bargain. (In that case, the inferior product is the decoy.)
Now, let’s look at a different kind of decoy: a new high-end product that, even if it sells poorly, can boost sales of the next product in the lineup. Stanford Business describes how this can work: […]
In my time as a catalog marketer, I almost always priced products just below the next dollar increment – a cheap item might be $9.97 rather than $10, while a more expensive item may have been $499, or even $499.99, instead of $500. My strategy was based on a couple of assumptions. First, I thought that there was probably something desirable about offering, say, a “nine-dollar-and-change” price vs. a “ten-dollar” price, i.e., even though the difference was only a few pennies, some customers would perceive the $9.97 price to offer more substantial savings. Second, I observed that big marketers like Sears, who could afford to test any number of pricing options, tended to stick with the “just below the next increment” approach. As it turns out, I was right, but for the wrong reason. New research points us toward the reasons why consumers respond better to a $499 price vs. a $500 price, and it has more to do with the apparent precision of the odd number: […]