Somedays you just want a little treat, something to reward yourself with. Feeling like this yesterday I stopped by my local cheese shop to pick up a tasty morsel. It’s a pretty cheese shop, small, crammed with goodies and everything is beautifully arranged.
There were no prices on anything. Hm.
Being in a good mood I ignored that fact even though it usually makes me nervous. I discussed a few cheeses with the very nice guy and picked out a very small piece.
“That is $17.00,” he said and I just about fell over. $17????? I was looking for a treat but not that much of a treat.
Was this my fault for not asking first? I hate discussing price. I bought the cheese, it was excellent and yet I will most likely not return to that store. I felt ripped off. I dislike having to ask the price of every single item before making my decision.
Last weekend as I took a quick stroll around the craft show I was exhibiting at I saw a piece of pottery I quite liked. Again, no pricing on anything. I wasn’t wearing my vendor badge and didn’t know the maker. She chatted to me briefly before I asked the price of the cup.
“It’s usually $35 but for you it’s $25”, she said.
Huh? Why was she giving me a special price? Is it usually $25 but she tried to make me feel like I was getting a deal? This sort of pricing made me question all sorts of things and I wasn’t in the mood for haggling. I wondered if someone else was going to be offered $20. Or $40. I just wanted to buy a cup not wonder if I was being ripped off. Too complicated and so I left. No cup.
Customers shouldn’t have to ask the price of an item. You can only talk to one person at a time, what do you do if there are 2 customers at once who are interested? Put your prices on your work. It’s your job to communicate with the customers, don’t make them do your work.
While we’re on the subject of pricing, let’s talk about consistent pricing. Imagine you visit a craft show and see a gorgeous pair of earrings. Even though they are expensive you buy them and feel great. When you get home you go to the makers website to learn more about her. And there are your earrings, at a lower price. Not feeling so great now are you.
Pricing needs to be consistent across all your sales venues in order to make your customers experience consistent. If you change your pricing at each different craft show, or in your retail outlets, or on your website, the customer doesn’t know when or where to buy to get the best deal. Customers who feel like they didn’t get a good deal are not happy customers. Customers who aren’t happy do not become repeat customers.
Consistent pricing is especially important when you are selling in stores. For example, you make a necklace and put it on consignment in a store for $100. With a standard consignment arrangement of 50/50 you will be paid $50 for this necklace. You exhibit at a craft show and you decide to sell the necklace for $75, much more than you're getting from the store. Now imagine a customer who buys it at the store for $100 and then sees it cheaper at your booth. Now there is an unhappy customer who feels ripped off by the store. Now the customer doesn’t return to the store. Now the store is unhappy. Now you don’t have a store outlet.
Never EVERY undercut the retail outlets that carry your work.
How you communicate your pricing is of course entirely up to you and how you like to run your business. A solid business brand is built on consistency. You should start with your pricing. When customers know what to expect they can spend more time enjoying your work, not wondering if they can afford it.
And I did enjoy my cheese. Even if I had to wash a little bit of sticker shock down with a wine chaser.