Last week, you learned that service is a print-buyer need you can’t afford to overlook or ignore.
This week, we’ll take a look at that ever-taboo topic of price.
While talking about pricing can put even the calmest of business owners on edge, did you know that 60% of customers will consider price before anything else?
Remember, we’re not talking about what’s best for business owners, we’re talking about the needs of print buyers. (Psst… it really does work out in your favor though.)
So, why is the “p-word” such a big deal?
It’s because many printers believe that price is an area where they can’t compete. The overwhelming fear of having website visitors discover their printshop’s prices and then run the other direction leaves them believing that keeping their prices hidden will give them a fighting chance.
On the other hand, some printers take a different approach and believe so strongly that they shouldn’t be judged on price alone, they’ll do all they can to make sure it’s a non-issue.
Whether you agree with it or not, pricing is an area where you can’t afford to stick your head in the sand. Here are some things to keep in mind to meet the price need of your print buyers.
Your print buyers want (and need) to know exactly what they’re paying up front. Surprises won’t be well received in this case.
Whether your prices land above or below the industry average, the key thing is to let your buyers know what they’re getting for their money. For example, to some customers, paper choice isn’t a big deal and they’ll choose less quality and more affordability. To others, they might demand the highest quality and will pay anything to convey the prestige their brand is aiming for. The point is to put your cards out on the table and let your print buyer make the choice.
To flip the idea of transparency on its head, consider the impact when you choose not to list your prices online:
- When consumers can’t find a price, they tend to move on – as in, on to your competition.
- Even if your price is higher, you’ll get a better result by listing your price because it at least begs the question, “Why? Why is the price higher? Is it higher quality? Maybe I should research this more to find out what added value they’re bringing.”
- No listed prices screams to your prospects, “This is going to be expensive. If I have to ask, there’s a good chance I won’t be able to afford it.”
Eventually, you’re going to have to tell your customers the price anyway. So, wouldn’t it be better to give the gift of transparency without leaving room for surprises later?
Your “fighting chance” begins when you stop conceding to the competition by allowing prospects to overlook you because they don’t have the information they’re searching for.
Understand Commodity Thinking
Hearing printing described as a commodity probably makes you cringe.
After all, this is a way of life you have dedicated yourself to, not just a commodity. Printing is a continually-perfected craft, and those in the industry know better than to reduce it to a commodity.
But, here’s the thing. As print owners, you have to look beyond how you see things and instead learn to see things through the eyes of your print buyer. If you were to ask your print buyers if they thought printing was a commodity, many of them would say, “Yes.”
This discrepancy means it’s time to be honest with ourselves and understand that any item that appears on a website’s order form (including printing!) so often has a mass-produced, “commodity” feel.
This commodity thinking can cause your print buyers to focus on price more than you would prefer. After all, if printing is viewed as a commodity rather than a service or a solution, it’s understandable for print buyers to want to compare prices by comparing apples to apples.
To combat this and meet the needs of your print buyers, you’ll need to upset that apple cart! Start offering oranges or bananas or grapes. (You get the idea.) Set yourself apart by using your ability to customize as a value-added service. For example:
- Try presenting different customizing options on your website’s order form, such as adding a “Customize” selection next to your paper options.
- Then, reaffirm their choice to go custom by adding a message similar to, “Congratulations! You’ve made the smart choice to stand out with a unique, custom paper.”
- Highlight what you can do that the big-box printers can’t by offering a free, custom marketing consultation for their business.
“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.”
– Warren Buffet
As you brainstorm ways to bring additional value to your print buyers, capitalize on those personal, unique, custom service options that will make getting hung up on the price a thing of the past.
Are Your Prices Too High?
In today’s online world, the ability to order print marketing from across town or across the globe has made price more of an issue.
It’s unrealistic to assume that your print buyers won’t be on the lookout for the best price that will match their needs. Just like you, and just like all of us, they’re trying to be good stewards of their money and make wise purchasing decisions.
This means no matter the specific amount you’re charging for a particular service, it needs to be fair to BOTH the print buyer and you. To put this another way, you won’t be meeting your print buyers’ needs if you go out business because you’re giving away your services or not charging enough.
So, how do you know your prices are on point? Research the competition.
Why Competition Matters
As the economy begins to pick up, chances are you’ll start to review your prices and question if you’re on track to meet your goals quickly.
While price anchoring isn’t necessarily the best way to decide on your pricing, it is important to understand how your prices compare with your competitors. If you find that you’re charging a lot more than your competitors, take the time to understand why by evaluating whether what you offer is better than what they do.
Do you offer better customer service, free shipping, a loyalty program, or convenience? Keep in mind, it is ok to charge more, but your higher price point (or any price) needs to be justified in the eyes of your print buyers.
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”
– Benjamin Franklin