Everyone can find you - set your prices with this in mind  


A few months ago we sold some bags to a shop that hasn't dealt with us before. When they received their shipment I got a worrying email in which they said they were disappointed that our messengers show our online shop address. They wanted to sell our bags for more than we charge and felt that customers would be turned off if they found out the retail price we charge.

How did I write back? By explaining that we are not keen to sell non-branded pieces (we work hard to build our brand) but also that nowadays, whether or not you put a website address on a tag is largely irrelevant. People will find you by your brand name anyway - or more simply by googling some of your more distinctive features. We would love to go on working with this shop, and I hope they've thought about this and will order again.

I tested our what I said recently by guessing what a customer googling for us would be likely to do. Here's the result of "cats baroque prague" (our care and origin labels say that the bags are made in Prague, even if you ignore the Baba Studio brand).

If you are wholesaling to other shops you'll hit this pricing issue time and again. Because, as I explained to the shop owners, with or without a website address, customers will probably be able to find the designers of most products (provided they are pretty distinct) if they really want to. Things have changed totally - and now a large part of the world is well and truly networked. Nowhere to hide, even if you wanted to!

So what do you do? Do you charge your own price and let retailers set theirs - and risk annoying the retailer if you end up under-cutting them? Do you charge the retailers' retail price from your own shop - and risk scaring off customers because the price is too high?

Do you refuse to wholesale? (many now do) This certainly solves the problem but may be very limiting -and a bad business decision in a recession.

There is no definite answer. But if you hope ever to sell your pieces through shops you will need to begin with pricing levels that shops could live with. And be aware that customers will be able to make comparisons - whether you or the shops want them to or not.

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