- Identify pricing strategies that are appropriate for new and existing products.
The second of the four Ps in the marketing mix is price. Pricing a product involves a certain amount of trial and error because there are so many factors to consider. If you price too high, a lot of people simply won’t buy your product. Or you might find yourself facing competition from some other supplier that thinks it can beat your price. On the other hand, if you price too low, you might not make enough profit to stay in business. So how do you decide on a price? Let’s look at several pricing options that were available to those marketers at Wow Wee who were responsible for pricing Robosapien. We’ll begin by discussing two strategies that are particularly applicable to products that are being newly introduced.
New Product Pricing Strategies
When Robosapien was introduced into the market, it had little direct competition in its product category. True, there were some “toy” robots available, but they were not nearly as sophisticated. Sony offered a pet dog robot called Aibo, but its price tag of $1,800 was really high. Even higher up the price-point scale was the $3,600 iRobi robot made by the Korean company Yujin Robotics to entertain kids and even teach them foreign languages. Parents could also monitor kids’ interactions with the robot through its own video-camera eyes; in fact, they could even use the robot itself to relay video messages telling kids to shut it off and go to sleep (Edwards, 2004).
Skimming and Penetration Pricing
Because Wow Wee was introducing an innovative product in an emerging market with few direct competitors, it considered one of two pricing strategies:
- With skimming pricing, Wow Wee would start off with the highest price that keenly interested customers would pay. This approach would generate early profits, but when competition enters—and it will, because healthy profits can be made in the market—Wow Wee would have to lower its price.
- Using penetration pricing, Wow Wee would initially charge a low price, both to discourage competition and to grab a sizable share of the market. This strategy might give the company some competitive breathing room (potential competitors won’t be attracted to low prices and modest profits). Over time, as its growing market discourages competition, Wow Wee could push up its prices.