Pricing is often one of the most difficult things to get right in business. There are several factors a business needs to consider in setting a price:
- Competitors – a huge impact on pricing decisions. The relative market shares (or market strength) of competitors influences whether a business can set prices independently, or whether it has to follow the lead shown by competitors
- Costs – a business cannot ignore the cost of production or buying a product when it comes to setting a selling price. In the long-term, a business will fail if it sells for less than cost, or if its gross profit margin is too low to cover the fixed costs of the business.
- The state of the market for the product – if there is a high demand for the product, but a shortage of supply, then the business can put prices up.
- The state of the economy – some products are more sensitive to changes in unemployment and workers wages than others. Makers of luxury products will need to drop prices especially when the economy is in a downturn.
- The bargaining power of customers in the target market – who are the buyers of the product? Do they have any bargaining power over the price set? An individual consumer has little bargaining power over a supermarket (though they can take their custom elsewhere). However, an industrial customer that buys substantial quantities of a product from a business may be able to negotiate lower or special prices.
- Other elements of the marketing mix – it is important to understand that prices cannot be set without reference to other parts of the marketing mix. The distribution channels used will affect price – different prices might be charged for the same product sold direct to consumers or via intermediaries. The price of a product in the decline stage of its product life-cycle will need to be lower than when it was first launched.