Tempted to cut prices? You’re not alone. With slumping sales, many businesses have been quick to offer discounts. “Cutting prices is by far the easiest marketing technique you can use,” says Frank Luby, a partner in Simon-Kucher & Partners, a pricing and marketing consultancy. But price cuts raise some tough questions: Will deep discounts cheapen your brand? Once you cut prices, can you raise them again? How do you deal with narrower margins? Says Luby: “I try to get my clients to think about where they want to be as a brand when things turn around.”
Here are three companies that made big pricing changes and the results of those decisions.
Jeremy Shepherd started to get concerned last summer. The founder of PearlParadise.com, an online retailer in Los Angeles, Shepherd noticed that sales of high-end pearl necklaces were slipping, and he worried that might foreshadow a dismal holiday season. The company relies on sales of $1,000 to $5,000 pearl necklaces during the crucial end-of-year months, which typically account for about 40 percent of annual sales. But though Web traffic was up, many customers were favoring jewelry priced well under $1,000.
Instead of promoting his higher-priced items, Shepherd decided to boost sales by appealing to his customers’ thriftiness. He created a “luxury for less” campaign and priced his strands of Tahitian pearls, which usually sell for $500 to $700, at $300 each. Then Shepherd spent $75,000 to promote the sale. He also revamped his website, placing lower-cost items on the home page.
Orders began to pick up. …read more at Recession Pricing Strategies – How Low Can You Really Go? – at Inc.com, published 1 March 2009.
Flickr photo credit: Harpersbizarre