You’ve done your mystery shopping, you’ve kept an eye on your competitors AND you’ve taken the time to get your pricing right…problem is, you’ve realised that you’re the most expensive one around by far. So should you lower your prices to be more in line with the others? As I see it, this situation has one more thing to think about. Be honest – does your product or service justify the price? Are you offering something better, different or frankly more marketable than your competitors are?
If you know for sure that what you offer IS in fact better than your competitors, then you need to make sure you are marketing yourself as having better quality/service/etc so that the price is easily reflected in what they get from you. Being the most expensive isn’t a bad thing at all, it’s just something to be aware of because the people who are buying from you will want to know why things cost what they cost. Like when we go to the supermarket or buy a TV, we know there is more than one available model, so we want to know why we should bother to pay more for one than the other. There is a reason why electronics shops that sell 100 different televisions or computers will often have a sticker on them with a list of the features they offer – they are educating the customer on why one is better than another. Same holds true for every other business in the world, the customer needs to feel the added cost is worth it and it’s your job to make that obvious to them.
Knowing WHY your prices are better (service, product, and so on) in marketing speak is called your USP – Unique Selling Point. It’s important to know this so that you have an answer for when people ask why your prices are higher if they can get pretty much the same thing elsewhere for less.
What happens if your product or service is NOT better than your competitors? In this case you need to examine your pricing structure again because it might not be a good reflection of where your business is at. Figure out what part of your pricing is the highest. If it’s labour – then you’ve got to work on moving faster or re-consider your hourly rate. After all, we don’t pay more for painting just because the painter is one-handed and works slower, right? We pay by the task not by the hour. We would however be willing to pay more if that painter was a famous artist versus a normal house painter. Your hourly rate is flexible and will increase as your reputation increases. No, I don’t want you earning minimum wage but if your prices are so high you’re not getting any customers, you’ve got a bigger problem than a low hourly rate. I am astounded when I see people on social media charging quite high amounts …then claim it’s only their second or third cake of that style and as a result the finish is not brilliant. Those people tend to price based on what OTHER CAKE MAKERS have told them it’s worth when in reality, it’s the customer whose opinion matters.
If your cost issue is in ingredients – consider buying in bulk or wholesale, sharing with another cake maker. Find ways to reduce those costs without compromising on quality. If your cost issue is overheads, this is a much harder one to lower, so take a minute to check those numbers are accurate and again try to pinpoint where the problem lies. If your cost issue is in profit margin, then it might be worth lowering that temporarily, massively upping your marketing game and then revisiting that figure in the future. Profit is directly connected to marketing – the more customers know about and hear from you, the more they see your skills and service grow, the more they’ll trust you and therefore pay more for the privilege of your products.
Just because you THINK you’re worth something doesn’t mean you are worth that, but similarly you don’t need to lower your prices because people around you are cheaper. To a large degree your prices are determined by your market and what they are willing to pay for what you have on offer, so make it your business to communicate that value well. As the saying goes, if they’re not buying, you’re not selling.