Prices should differ across different countries, but companies must not only reap the benefits (The Good) but also manage the costs (The Bad) and avoid the pitfalls (The Ugly)
Prices are almost never the same in international markets. They vary due to taxes, cost structures, local market needs, currency exchange rates, tariffs, differences in competitive situations and a myriad of other reasons. They even vary because this is the way it has always been. If looking at different industries, consumer products (CPG/FMCG) have more than 100% difference in prices, with even regional differences in e.g. the European Union of up to 50% for the same product. Car manufacturers are well-known for their price differences and even relatively global products such as computer software has had a number of bad PR cases where e.g. Australians would pay twice as much for Adobe software as US customers.
But international price differences are more good than bad. Here is why.
Being a founder or senior manager in a start-up involves a very diverse set of projects, tasks and challenges. Anything from big strategic thinking over sales, marketing, HR, technology, admin and myriads of other things. So it can sometimes be easy to overlook pricing, even if price is one of the most important decision areas to focus on as a start-up or scale-up. Here are 10 reasons why:
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.
Value-based pricing requires data and insights. Without understanding what customers value, or are willing to pay, it very easily ends up being just a more sophisticated version of guesswork. Leading companies applying value-based pricing fully understand this. But there is still a trap when it comes to the willingness-to-pay data collected: because market research used to be expensive there could be a tendency to either skip some markets or generalising results from one key market to all other markets.
Perishable goods exist in many forms and situations. There is of course food products that have an expiry date after which they should not be sold. But also event or sports tickets, airline tickets and many other types of businesses. They all have in common that after a certain date the product or service cannot be sold any longer.
Barriers to entry and the difficulty of doing business abroad have reduced considerably over the last two decades, thanks to technologies such as the Internet. This means it is much easier to do business around the globe but also that brand and product communication is increasingly global. Customers or consumers in Germany can now see product features, prices and discounts offered in USA or Singapore, and may create bad publicity if they feel that what they pay for locally is not of the same value. International prices are also considerably more transparent than ever before. On the other hand, both willingness-to-pay and actual prices do differ considerably around the globe, be it of similar of even identical products. What an Indian or Brazilian customer is willing to pay for Product A may not be the same. Or, a German customer may value Feature B over Feature A whereas the Canadian or Danish customer really only cares about Feature B and maybe Feature C that is not even available in Germany.