It’s a golden age for selling your own products and services. Understanding good-better-best pricing will help you develop strategies around your prices, and position you to win… consistently!
What is the Good-Better-Best Pricing Model?
Have you ever been to a Best Buy and noticed how they always seem to have three of something in every category? This is part of their retail mix strategy — picking products to sell that appeal to a wide range of consumers with an even wider set of expectations.
Understanding why retailers price this way and what consumers buy will help you further understand which category is crucial for your business.
Good, better, best is exactly what it sounds like:
- Good products offer value, with acceptable quality. They have the lowest price.
- Better products are more expensive than good ones but are not the most expensive.
- Best products are the most expensive in their category and tend to have higher quality and/or brand equity attached.
Cables are a great example:
- You can buy a cheap, generic cable with no branding. It’s “good”.
- You can buy a gold Monster cable with a ton of certifications and strange stamps that sound serious for 4x the price. This is “best”.
And… then there’s a product that looks like the Monster cable but doesn’t have the brand name, with a price point in the middle.
Consumers act accordingly:
- Some always buy the cheapest thing.
- Others opt for the middle because they believe paying a little bit more will get them the kind of quality that lasts. This user’s purchases tend to vary from product to product.
- And then there are people that will always pay for the best.
There are benefits to each category. If you’re in the “good” category and have the lowest price in your offering, and you have good distribution to ensure your product is seen… you WILL make sales. Lots of them. Low price is always a strategy that works for sales.
The downsides of the low price?
- Building the brand often falls to the wayside (there are success stories though — like Arizona Iced Tea).
- Margins are much lower.
- Customer loyalty is fickle.
- Someone can steal your category from your partners and customers just by pricing even lower.
Medium price is tough. It’s cut-throat:
- A lot of products end up here because they want more margin than a value product, but don’t have the acumen to build a premium brand.
- This category tends to be ultra-crowded — many are forced into it, and I always avoid it.
- The way to win in medium/better is to really lock in a niche that others don’t have or execute top-tier marketing to drive sales.
It’s a grind at this level. The medium niche is where the soda wars happen:
- Stores sell their “good” products as default branded sodas.
- Coke and Pepsi compete over “better” with massive marketing fights.
- Boutique brands in glass or natural sodas get the “best” category.
“Best” products price at the highest level. Way more people choose this category than you’d think, especially in the social media era where “best” brands are statements.
The challenge is… the quality needs to match and stay at that quality, and the brand has to be excellent.
To succeed at the “best” category everything about the product and brand needs to be perfect… this is an extremely tall order. Customer service, packaging, product experience, in-store displays… everything must be the best.
Lessons Learned About Good-Better-Best Pricing
– If you’re a retailer or selling other products, this is an excellent, tried-and-true method for building out your product mix. Also, having all three options is proven to sell more across the board!
– If you’re starting your brand or have a product in the market, you need to pick a niche you feel you can survive in.
– Once your brand is considered on one end of the spectrum, it takes an act of god to move it across categories (although tiers and offshoots can work well).
If you want to be the cheapest, be prepared to keep that up and keep lowering as completion comes in. It’s your only moat.
If you want to be in the middle, you better believe your marketing can dominate the competition, or help you carve out a direct niche or demographic different than others.
If you want to be the best… you need to have that experience around every aspect of your company… and you can NEVER let your standards fall.
Hope this post helped with understanding good-better-best pricing. If you’re interested in modern brand building, looking for inspiration, or are interested in supply chain content, shoot me a follow @orenmeetsworld
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