More companies than not increased prices in the past 12 months, reasons ranging from increases in input material costs to a general expectation that it was now easier as competitors raised their prices, and often the "market" (read: the customers) expected it due to high inflation. If not now, then never, seemed to be the sentiment.
Many companies too price increases last year, as they watched raw material prices go up, or saw an opportunity to increase prices along with the rest of the market. So far in 2022, some companies increased (again) while some vendors are now asking themselves when market resistance will be too difficult to ignore. Surely, some customers or retail partners, e.g. Tesco in United Kingdom, have made some very public disputes with vendors whom they considered to be increasing their prices by too much.
At PriceBeam we work with a range of vendors around the globe, covering a variety of industries. Here are some considerations we see for the next 12 months when it comes to increasing prices further.
In these inflationary times many vendors ask themselves whether to increase their own prices or not, given what the market is doing. Of course, a straightforward price increase across the board can be a solution, but a better approach is to look for those consumers who are willing to pay more and then through market differentiation and product segmentation to differentiate the areas of the business that takes the price increase.
Pricing is the strongest profit driver available to management. One percent improvement in price yields much higher operating profit improvement than e.g. one percent improvement in units sold, unit costs or fixed costs. Therefore, price increases should come regularly and at the very least annually. Also, almost all countries and markets have inflation, so as a minimum you should plan price increases in line with inflation. But a true price increase strategy reflects the value perceived by customers and price you as a result can harvest.
The end of the year remains the time where many businesses plan and execute price increases for the coming year. By how much, when and what product or market scope are then key questions. By getting market facts through price research instead of guessing what are the best areas to increase in, companies can improve the likely success of such increases tremendously. It can help a business get a firm grip on what product features are more important, what customer are willing to pay for a certain product or service, and analyse what competitors are charging for their products.
2018 has been a year where tariffs were a key topic in the news. The US government imposing tariffs on Chinese goods and the Chinese government doing the same to US goods had and will continue to have serious ramifications for businesses. Even though the first round of these tariffs were for steel and aluminium, consumers buy many products that contain steel or aluminium, which also drives the price up of ordinary consumer goods. Tariffs impact consumer goods the most and businesses are left with a tough decision to either hike the prices of their products or reduce their profit margins. This will result in a decline in retail volumes for many companies, with companies such as Pepsi and Coca-Cola having to raise prices for the consumer side in order to cope with the extra costs. Tariffs have seen the average cost of washing machines in the US jump by 17%.
These tariffs imposed by the Trump administration will impact two types of companies:
The 29th of March, 2019, the day the United Kingdom officially leaves the European Union, is fast approaching. It is important for businesses to know the impacts Brexit will have on pricing for their products and how they can prepare for post-Brexit. Food prices are expected to go up after Brexit and some have even encouraged the government to cut tariffs on international products. Adding to that, a "no-deal" Brexit could have huge consequences for businesses as they risk potentially going bust in the event of no trade deal being secured. Despite this, some companies can actually gain from Brexit if they know how to retain their customers when the prices will be impacted by Brexit and thus become out of sync with consumer/customer willingness to pay for certain goods.
As we are approaching the last quarter of the year many companies look at increasing their prices for the coming year, in particular in B2B industries with cyclical negotiation cycles. But price increases are not always easy to implement and more than half of all price increases either fail outright or get neutralized by heavy discounting.
Most people working in the pricing department is aware that pricing is a very powerful tool. Yet still, when engaging with other departments or discussing the overall strategy of the company, price improvements are sometimes ignored, or at least its full value is not appreciated.