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Glossary
19.03.2024
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What Is the Retail Price? Retail Pricing in 2024

Retail prices directly impact a company’s financial metrics, determining revenue, profit margin, and overall financial stability. Setting appropriate prices is crucial for managing demand, maximizing profits, and ensuring long-term business stability. On the flip side, issues with retail pricing can lead to substantial financial setbacks, customer attrition, diminished sales volumes, slim profit margins, and reputational damage.

Setting the optimal retail price requires balancing competitiveness, market price sensitivity, and sustainable profits. Is it challenging? Yes. However, you can do it with the right approach.

In this article, you’ll discover what the retail price is and learn pricing strategies that will help you succeed in the market and gain a sustainable competitive advantage.

Contents:

What Is the Retail Price?

Factors Influencing Retail Pricing

How Can You Calculate the Retail Price?

Examples of Retail Pricing Strategies

What Is the Retail Price?

The retail price is the amount paid by the final customer for a product or service, enabling the seller to cover associated expenses and generate a profit. In the classic retail model, the retailer purchases goods from a distributor at wholesale prices and then sells them to the consumer at retail prices. The primary goal of the retailer is to set a price that the consumer is willing to pay while maximizing profit. Inefficient retail pricing can lead a seller to incur losses, highlighting the importance of a well-balanced retail pricing strategy.

It’s crucial to understand that within the supply chain, the retail price, distributor’s price, and manufacturer’s price are distinct from one another, with the retail price typically incorporating multiple markups. Retailers set the retail price to ensure profit after factoring in all associated costs of purchasing and selling the product. At the same time, popular items may sometimes be sold at prices set to attract customers to the store, even if it means selling them at a loss.

Factors Influencing Retail Pricing

Setting the retail price is a complex and multifaceted process that involves considering numerous factors. These can be broadly categorized into two groups:

  • Internal Factors: Those within the business’s control, including production costs, personnel, marketing, importing, and delivery.
  • External Factors: Those that can have a significant impact but are challenging to predict and control, including macro trends, global or regional economic crises, and changes in purchasing power.

Here are some factors that can significantly influence pricing:

  • Market Positioning Strategy: Retailers targeting the premium segment may set higher prices to emphasize the high quality and status of their products, even with roughly similar production or procurement costs.
  • Competition in the Niche: In a saturated market, price can become a key competitive advantage. For instance, an online store might offer lower prices to attract a price-sensitive audience.
  • Profit Margins: The desired profit margin influences the price set. For example, if a retailer focuses on high margins in a specific product category, prices the retailer sets for items in that category may be higher compared to prices for similar items offered by competitors.

How Can You Calculate the Retail Price?

There are various approaches to calculating the retail price. One option is the absorption pricing method, which allows brands to determine the minimum recommended retail price. It consists of seven steps:

  1. Calculate Total Costs: Identify all costs involved in producing or purchasing the product. This includes direct costs for materials, labor, and manufacturing overhead, as well as indirect costs for things such as administration and marketing.
  2. Determine Cost per Unit: Divide the total cost by the number of units produced or purchased to calculate the cost per unit. This figure represents the cost incurred for each individual item.
  3. Add the Desired Profit Margin: Decide on the desired profit margin for the product (the amount of profit you aim to generate from each sale). Add this profit margin to the cost per unit to determine the minimum revenue required per unit.
  4. Consider Market Factors: Assess market conditions, competitor pricing, and customer demand. While absorption pricing aims to cover costs and provide profit, the recommended retail price should also be competitive enough to attract customers.
  5. Account for Distribution Channel Costs: If applicable, consider any additional costs associated with the distribution channel, such as retailer margins, shipping costs, or distributor fees. Ensure these costs are factored into the minimum recommended retail price.
  6. Set the Minimum Recommended Retail Price: Based on the previous calculations and market analysis, establish the minimum recommended retail price. It should cover production or purchase costs, operating expenses, profit margin, and any distribution channel costs.
  7. Monitor and Adjust: Continuously monitor market conditions and performance metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of the minimum recommended retail price. Adjust the price as needed to remain competitive and profitable.

By following these steps, businesses can use the absorption pricing method to determine a minimum recommended retail price that covers costs and generates the desired level of profit while remaining competitive.

Examples of Retail Pricing Strategies

Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)

This is a beneficial strategy for enterprises producing consumer goods or electronics. A product’s MSRP is set uniformly for all retailers and distributors; this is the price at which the brand suggests selling the product to the customer through retail channels. 

For controlling e-commerce price positioning, top brands use automated tools such as Pricer24’s MSRP monitoring software.

Advantages: Brand protection; marketing support; ensuring profit margins

Disadvantages: Low flexibility; risk of losing market share; can’t actually prevent price reductions (іn contrast to MAP).

Dynamic Pricing

A flexible strategy for retailers involves adjusting product prices based on various factors such as supply and demand, seasonality, customer purchasing power, geolocation, and competitor promotions. Dynamic pricing is typically implemented through specialized software solutions for monitoring and analyzing market data. Real-time pricing adjustments help businesses quickly optimize prices for the greatest return.

Advantages: Clearer and faster response to changes in the market situation; price personalization; profit maximization

Disadvantages: Complex to implement and manage, making it difficult for small and midsize enterprises

Keystone Pricing

Using this pricing method, the vendor sets the retail price at double the product’s purchase price. For example, if the wholesale price is $100, the retailer sets the regular retail price at $200.

While this approach is clear-cut and simple to understand, in practice, businesses need to consider many other factors: competitors’ prices, the perceived value of the product, the product positioning strategy, etc.

Advantages: Efficient for in-demand and rare goods; easy to calculate; high profitability

Disadvantages: Little flexibility to swiftly adapt to market changes; risk that customers might reject products because of their high price, leading them to seek alternatives

Discount Pricing

This strategy involves retailers temporarily selling products at a lower price to attract attention, stimulate demand, or clear inventory. The goal is to attract as many customers as possible and increase sales volumes. This tactic is often used by electronics and home appliance stores.

Advantages: Rapid increase in sales volumes; ability to attract a new customer segment; effectiveness for new brands if discounts are aligned with market positioning strategy

Disadvantages: Potential negative impact on brand perception and perceived product quality

Psychological Pricing

This strategy leverages psychological effects and triggers to encourage consumer purchases. It is based on the idea that consumers make purchasing decisions not only based on objective information but also based on emotions and subjective perceptions of value. For example:

  • Prices ending in 9 ($9.99 instead of $10.00) are perceived as more attractive.
  • Prices with “magic numbers” associated with success, such as $7.77, can subconsciously stimulate purchases.

With psychological pricing, the retailer aims to create a perception of the price that motivates consumers to buy. This strategy is actively employed in both physical retail locations and online stores.

Advantages: Ability to manage price perception; creates a sense of value; can increase sales volumes

Disadvantages: Dependence on market conditions; not the best choice for every product category; risk of losing audience trust

Competitive Pricing

When practicing competitive pricing, the retailer establishes prices by taking into account the prices of similar goods among competitors. The goal of this strategy is to maintain attractiveness to the target audience by carefully balancing price levels with product prices set by competitors. Implementing this approach involves detailed competitive pricing analysis, tracking competitors’ promotions and discounts, and having a deep understanding of the market and trends.

Advantages: Attractive for customers; quick response to market changes; effective at stimulating sales

Disadvantages: Reliance on competitors’ actions and market conditions; potential for decreased profitability with improper implementation; ongoing need to balance competitiveness and sustainability

Bundle Pricing

This pricing strategy involves combining several goods into a single bundle for one price. Instead of setting individual prices for each item, the buyer receives a bundled offer, which is perceived as more advantageous. People find it simpler psychologically to decide on purchasing a bundle rather than a single item. Bundle pricing helps businesses provide affordable prices for sets of products.

Advantages: Simplifies the choice for buyers; stimulates sales; increases the average check size and sales of less popular items

Disadvantages: Deep understanding of the target audience and customers’ needs is required to correctly formulate a bundled offer; risk of decreased profit resulting from selling products in bundles at a reduced price; complexity of inventory management

Penetration Pricing

With penetration pricing, items are priced low in order to enter the market quickly and gain market share. This strategy is typically used in the early stages of a product’s life cycle or when entering a new market.

Lower prices compared to competitors allow for attracting more customers and rapidly increasing sales volumes. This approach helps overcome resistance among users transitioning from familiar products to a new brand. Additionally, low prices stimulate demand among price-sensitive consumers. However, companies employing this strategy must have sufficient financial resources to maintain financial stability in the initial stages.

Advantages: Rapid acquisition of market share; ability to overcome competition; demand stimulation; swift growth of the customer base

Disadvantages: Low profit margins; challenges in transitioning to higher prices; possible short-term losses, especially if sales volumes do not offset profit reductions

Premium Pricing

Establishing premium positioning for luxury goods or high-quality, high-cost products is the fundamental component of the premium pricing strategy. It aims to create an impression of high quality, exclusivity, or uniqueness to stimulate demand in the relevant audience segment and maximize profit. Premium pricing is often associated with strong brand promotion, focusing on the product’s status, and is used by companies including Apple, Ferrari, and Cartier.

Advantages: High profit margins; brand reinforcement; premium product positioning in the market

Disadvantages: Potential narrowing of the target audience; reduced sales volumes, as high prices may act as a barrier to purchase; demand sensitivity to macroeconomic fluctuations and downturns

Conclusion

Choosing a retail pricing strategy requires careful market analysis along with a clear understanding of audience characteristics. One key component is understanding buyers’ price sensitivity.

When retailers choose a retail pricing strategy, it’s crucial to exhibit flexibility, promptly respond to shifts in the competitive landscape, and tailor pricing principles to the distinctive characteristics of the product and brand.

FAQ

What are other terms for retail price?

Alternative terms for retail price include selling price and list price.

Why is retail pricing important in 2024?

Retail pricing is crucial in 2024, as it determines the competitiveness, profitability, and customer perception of products and services in an ever-evolving market landscape.

How does retail pricing work?

Retail pricing is a complex process influenced by factors such as production costs, market demand, competition, and strategic objectives. It typically includes cost analysis, pricing strategy development, and price adjustments based on market dynamics.

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