There’s a scene in one of my favorite movies, Casablanca, where, Ilse Lund, played by Ingrid Bergman, is in the marketplace. The vendors have their goods displayed on tables under wide tents, flapping in the gentle breeze. Ilse is absentmindedly looking at a lace tablecloth. The merchant picks up the lace tablecloth along with a price card, and announces a price. Rick, (Humphrey Bogart) approaches and begins a conversation with Ilse. The merchant announces a “Special Price for friends of Rick,” which is significantly lower than the original price. Ilse and Rick discuss her visit to Rick’s apartment the previous evening. Hearing this, the merchant announces a further price discount for “Special Friends of Rick’s.”
I was reminded of this scene when I visited a large local craft store recently. Naturally, I was drawn to the ‘bead’ section. There I found some of the very items that we carry in our store. The big difference was the posted price for these items. The regular prices shown were significantly higher than the everyday prices at our store. But, not to worry, large signs proclaimed 20 to 40% discounts on these items. The only problem was that the “discounted” prices at the large craft store were still higher than the everyday prices in our shop.
It is an old technique in retailing to mark a price up, before marking it down. Psychologically, the buyer believes they have scored a bargain. The business sells a product at the price they need to continue in business. Something similar operates when you feel good about buying gas at $3.99 .9, rather than $4 a gallon.
At BDC, we try to price our items as fairly as we can to cover our costs, pay our employees, and generate a small profit. We don’t always have the lowest price on every item. But then, every shop in the bead business may price things differently because they face different costs for their overhead, volume discounts, etc. Our goal is to provide you with the best possible beading products and components, at the fairest, most consistent price. We believe that is the best way to earn your trust, and your business, long term.
In the movie, Ilse does not end up buying the tablecloth, even at the deeply discounted price she was offered, because price was not what was on her mind.
The lesson, then, is that ultimately price is not always the determining factor in a customer’s buying decision. There are many other considerations when making a purchasing decision.
Most importantly, the customer always makes the final decision about whether or not the price and the product are an appropriate fit to their individual needs.
Meeting both of these needs is our business.