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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Pricing trap, how much is your product worth ?

The Pricing game, is one of the hardest tasks a company developing a new entrant into a market, if you set it to low, you are stuck there, if you set it too high you won't develop a market or even worse the customer will buy until they find a cheaper alternative and move there custom. This article by Will from the Go big network will give you an in site into his thought process.

The Truth about Pricing

By Will Schroder
Any Entrepreneur that’s ever tried to bring a new product to market has had to deal with one frustrating fact – no one knows what to charge for it! No matter how well you think you can predict the market or how much research you’ve done, until people start paying for your product you’re still just guessing.Even then, when people are actually forking over their hard earned cash for your product, you still don’t know if you’ve optimized for the best possible price to generate the greatest number of sales. Fortunately there are some simple strategies you can employ to quickly arrive at a happy medium and give yourself a little piece of mind.

The Binary Nature of Pricing
The first pass you’ll want to take at pricing is to eliminate all of the people that weren’t going to pay you to begin with. What may shock you is that when it comes to a consumer’s perception of pricing, it’s not always the actual amount that scares people; it’s whether or not they have to pay at all. Pricing is more or less binary for consumers – they are either going to pay or they won’t – the actual price is incidental.Having launched ten companies myself, all in different industries ranging from automotive to financial services to television casting, I’ve found that in each case you get a group of consumers that are willing to pay just about any reasonable price for the product, and a group of consumers that won’t ever pay a penny.There’s something that goes off in a customer’s head when they have to pull out their wallet. Up until that point the value you were providing may have gone relatively un-noticed. But when the customer has to break out their credit card and start typing in those 16 magical numbers, they think twice about the value of your product. Instead of developing your pricing to lure the group of people that just aren’t willing to pay for your product, focus on maximizing the yield of the customer who will pay for your product. It’s a lot easier to get someone to pay 10% more for your product than it is to reduce the price of your product and get more people to pay for it.

The “Freemium” Model
Next you’ll want to figure out how to separate the paying customers from the non-paying customers, without alienating either.
Leave it to the overzealous Internet nerds like me to invent a word like “Freemium” to explain a basic price gateway model. Freemium is a word used to describe giving a portion of your product away for free in order to attract interest, then charging the most passionate customers for premium benefits. I’m not entirely sure, but I think this model was pioneered by Baskin Robbins every time they handed me a free sample of chocolate ice cream in order to convince me to buy an entire cone. These days the freemium model appears when I want to sample a song on iTunes but have to pay to download the whole song onto my iPod.The beauty of the freemium model is that allows you to test two pricing strategies simultaneously. You get to see how many customers would be interested in your product for nothing at all to gauge the overall interest in your product. It then allows you to learn exactly what about your product people are most interested in paying money for.
Try every Possible Price
Once you’ve separated the paying customers from the non-paying customers, you still need to settle on the right price to charge them. There’s one simple answer here: try every possible price.I’ll give you an example. At Swapalease.com, a site that allows people who want to get out of a car lease to connect with people who wanted to get into a car lease, we charged people to post their car leases on-line. The problem was, we didn’t know how much to charge them, so we tried every possible price.Our early estimates figured we would probably get around $24.95 per posting on the site. We constantly tried new pricing strategies to figure out what would be the right price that consumers would accept. Wouldn’t you know that after six months of testing we found out the number was over $100 per post!The only thing that kept us from simply making four times as much per sale was our willingness to test the sensitivity of price. Had we gone with our gut instincts we would have vastly undervalued the product and left a whole lot of money on the table.
It Pays to Try Everything
The only thing you can rely on when picking the price of your product is having to change it – a lot.
If you can develop a system to test as many possible price points with as many consumers as possible, you can hopefully uncover that hidden gem that is your perfect price. Until then, keep trying something new. It’s the only surefire way to win.

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