Natural Foods Merchandiser
Jeanie Wells CDS Consulting Co-op

How are you communicating your pricing strategy to your staff?

The bottom line for surviving new competition is to engage your staff and help them understand all the different ways you are working to bring great value to the community.

Is your staff ready for your new competitor? Employees can be the most effective resource in surviving in the new landscape, so help them feel ready! Your overall pricing strategy will include several key components. Some of that planning work may have been done by specific teams or people, but now it is time to make sure your whole staff knows about the different tactics, and to enlist their help in shaping the image you want. 

Promotions

Use easily accessible promotional planning calendars so that all staff can see what deals will be showcased on your endcaps each week. The more they know about the deals, the better they can promote them with customers, and that can turn a potentially negative price image situation into a positive one instantly. Showing a great deal to a customer makes the customer and the staff person feel great. Staff also must have a good understanding of promotional plans in order to build effective displays and ensure proper signage, so make sure they know what’s coming each week. 

Balance in the the categories

Each of your key categories should have a mix of premium, mid-tier and lower cost items. Some refer to this strategy as “Good, Better, Best,” and we see this used in many different kinds of retail stores. Make sure your staff knows the best values in each category. When an employee knows that a new great value brand of juice was just added into the set, and can say, “We just started carrying this great new juice and look at this great price!” she has just made the customer’s day and helped build a positive price image.  

Everyday low prices

In order to maintain ongoing competitiveness on some frequently purchased commodities, your organization will need a system of weekly or quarterly price comparisons. Staff should know which items those are in their departments. Secondly, take the time to explain to the staff how the price comps are done and how that information is used to make pricing decisions. This is important because the staff needs to know your store is actively engaged in offering some good value all the time—not only so that they feel proud to work there, but also so that they have some context to draw on in customer interactions. We want our staff to feel confident enough to say: “Check out this new half-gallon milk price. It’s one of the best in town!”

The bottom line for surviving new competition is to engage your staff in the work and help them understand all the different ways you are working to bring great value to the community. Your everyday floor staff are the ones most likely to interact with shoppers, so take the time to invest in their understanding. It builds the price image you want with your community, and it builds knowledge, engagement and pride in your workers. 

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