Understanding store pricing policy and decisions for your store

BY Australian Retailers Association
28 January 2020

As retailers have varying product and service offers, providing customers with a choice in product quality, appearance and functionality, it is understandable that approaches to pricing differ.

It would be naïve to assume, however, that all retail pricing is based upon the cost of goods sold calculation with a consistently applied mark-up that provides for business profit. Interestingly pricing is often a highly strategic decision, at times relatively unrelated to the cost of goods.

Some retailers running a volume business survive on small margins and many sales, others employ luxury pricing with significant margins on low volume. Some incredibly fortunate businesses benefit from volume sales at luxury pricing. It all depends on the sector and the business model.

Pricing is a big consideration for retailers because all other elements of the retail strategy are impacted by it. As a rule of thumb, retailers develop their pricing policy to get the maximum sale price for their products. A handful of major influences determines their ability to do so. These include:

1. Customer: What customers are willing to pay for the perceived value, product desirability

2. Competitors: For commodity products, competitor pricing is an important consideration as customers can easily go elsewhere for the same product

3. Government: Taxes and duties

4. Manufacturers and wholesalers: The price of products, the primary cost of operations, overheads, staff salaries and wages all head towards profit margin and must be applied to devise the final product price.

For retailers to make sense of factors impacting their pricing policy decisions it can be helpful to investigate their market and customers buying sentiments.

The following questions provide a good starting point:

  • How important is price stability?
  • How long do prices ideally need to be maintained?
  • Do prices need to be flexible to accommodate changes in costs and customer demand?
  • It is necessary for the same prices to be charged for all customers buying under the same conditions?
  • It a customer’s ability to bargain a necessary element of pricing?
  • Is strategic pricing an effective approach to draw customer traffic?
  • It is necessary that customers be eligible for discounts for purchasing in quantity?
  • Is it advantageous for pricing practices to vary by department, store or product line?

Taking the time to answer these questions can provide insight into which considerations are most important for each retailer when developing their approach to pricing. Ensuring alignment with business strategy is the key to developing an approach that both works for business and appeals to their target customer.

Want to learn more about pricing products for your store? The ARA Retail Institute runs courses on everything retail from managing daily operations to skills on customers service, leadership and team culture. Click on 'training workshops' below to find the perfect fit for you and your business. 


About ARA Retail Institute

ARA Retail Institute is Australia’s leading retail training provider for both accredited and non-accredited learning programs. For more information, please visit: www.retailinstitute.org.au

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Australian Retailers Association

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association representing Australia’s $320 billion sector, which employs more than 1.3 million people. As the retail industry’s peak representative body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating, and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

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