Price War!

by Robert

We're dropping our prices this week. There's no more room in the refrigerator, so we need to drum up some extra sales. Since there are other egg vendors at the Saturday Farmer's Market, undercutting their cheapest eggs with our cheapest eggs ought to draw in some bargain-conscious customers.

Setting prices is a screwy business. Most farmers are too insecure to do it well, and end up setting their prices too low, increasing the odds that they will fail. Just the concept of, "What's the right price?" is pretty much an imponderable: a question with so many ramifications that your mind can spin around in tight little circles forever.

So we let our refrigerator set our prices for us. The process is almost entirely brainless. It works like this: If our refrigerator is full of unsold eggs, it's time to lower prices. If there are tumbleweeds blowing through an empty refrigerator, it's time to raise prices. That's all there is to it.

Once you let the prices float, your attention shifts to more important things, namely: "What can I do so customers enthusiastically help to empty my refrigerator in spite of high prices?"

Step One is to have the best eggs ever. Life is way easier if your customers stick to you like glue and spread the news by word-of-mouth because your product is so good.

Step Two is to get people to notice. Let's face it, eggs have zero mindshare with most people. If your refrigerator is bulging with eggs, one effect of lowering your prices is to draw in some skeptics who wouldn't try your product at the old price. If your stuff is the best, some of the skeptics will become converts. Sales are the simplest way to move this process along.

Step Three is to scatter instantly grasped indicators of what you are, so people get it. Wearing overalls and a straw hat at the farmers' market, having pictures of happy hens on green grass, smiling, and not being a jerk to your customers are all good. (Don't wear clothes that feel too much like a costume, though, unless you like that sort of thing. If you go all stiff and unnatural, it doesn't help.) People have this range of mental images of what a farmer ought to be. If you happen to fit one of them, flaunt it.

But avoid slickness. If you live on a real farm, slickness tends to be outside your grasp anyway, because everything you own gets muddied, faded, and battered. Customers are aware of this on some level.

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