- eBay’s view is that cheaper, in high volume is always better.
- Amazon not so much, although the lowest price item is listed first.
- As a buyer we know that basically you get what you pay for.
- As sellers we know that we have to make money to stay in business.
- Anybody with more than three functioning brain cells knows there is no free lunch, or shipping.
The following thoughts apply equally to all sellers, antiques, vintage, collectibles, just plain junque, and brand new or commodities sellers.
A Good Deal
Yes everybody wants a good deal, but price is rarely the sole reason they decide to buy. At some time you have probably made the choice to pay a little more after reading a review or a seller’s feedback, I know I have. Keywords here are “a little more”.
Obviously it is possible to price yourself out of a sale. If you are selling an identical product to a competitor and your shipped price is 30% higher, no matter how lovable you are, how wonderful your service or how prettily you pack, you will lose sales.
Conversely, it is possible to under-price yourself out of a sale. “If it is that cheap it must be very poor quality.”
The Price War
In October we saw Amazon, Walmart, and Target get into a price war on new books. They might be able to afford a price war, the small seller can not. No matter what we charge, somebody, either because they are bigger and smarter than we are, or dumber (they have no clue what their costs are) will undercut your price.
If it is an unsustainable business model, chances are good the dumber competitor will go away fairly rapidly. Unfortunately it can damage your profitability for a while unless you can find a way to differentiate your business from theirs.
Stating how long you have been doing business, your superior service, and guarantee, can all help nudge the potential customers perception of your quality upwards. You do have a guarantee, right?
Shearing Sheep & Milking Cows
Auntie May says “You can shear a sheep for many years but you can only skin it once.” Sometimes, just to keep you on your toes she will say “You can milk a cow for may years but only eat it once.”
It is a fact that acquiring a new customer is a lot more expensive than maintaining a repeat customer. If you are a small or niche business you should seriously look at ways to encourage and reward your customer for coming back, without pestering them.
Pre Sales Event shopping invitations, non expiring discount coupons for a future purchase enclosed with the first package, a promise of whopping shipping discounts on the third purchase, reward points on purchases leading to preferred (special) customer status, and rewards for submitting product reviews are all inexpensive ways to keep that customer coming back.
A carefully calculated Customer Loyalty program can demonstrate you are a quality business that will (hopefully) attract a higher class of buyer who is willing to pay for that quality.
- Do search for your product online,
- note your competitors prices and shipping charges before setting yours.
- Don’t be ashamed to copy a business practice that makes sense.
You can always do it as a ‘limited time offer’ for a month or two. If it doesn’t work for you, quietly drop it, after all, it was a limited time promotion. If it works well, then, “due to popular demand . . . ”
Y’all come back!