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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Will there be a price war? Should you join it?

This week, a local CBS TV station ran a comparison-shopping story in which they bought the same toys at both a local Target store and a Toys R Us store just a few blocks away.  Who won is not important (unless you’re one of those stores), but you can see the story by clicking here, if you like.

Another story--from yesterday’s Marketing Daily--also dives into the price-point issue, as it explains the new price guarantee tactic that has been launched by Wal-Mart for the 2011 holiday season.   (Click here to see that story.)

Implications:   This raises the important question about whether a company should join a price war if such a conflict should erupt.  The answer is, “Maybe.”  Consider joining the price war… if you know you can win it and still harvest overall profits that help keep you in business.  But if you are in no position to take on the big discounters, it can be a wiser strategy to carefully tune-in to what your customers want most, and make sure you’re delivering on those core benefits.

How does your company distinguish itself and the value proposition it offers?  In what ways might you shift the conversation to value, not just in terms of cost, but in the way your product, service or company adds value to the consumer’s family, household, and life? 

If you cannot win on price alone… change battlefields.

Mike Anderson, for the Elm Street Economics consumer trends blog. A service of The Center for Sales Strategy, Inc.

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