Price vs. Quality: The Critical Tough Decision

Creating a product is a delicate balancing act. The seemingly conflicting goals of creating a high quality product at a low cost are difficult to achieve, no matter the economy. With some beauty products, consumers will view quality is as top priority while for other products, a low price point is a key factor in purchasing decisions. However, with all products, a quote by John Ruskin remains true, “The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”


Even manufacturers put themselves in the position of the buyer on a regular basis and when a disappointment in a purchasing decision strikes, turning an eye to your own choices in your product line is a key to success. Let’s suppose: you decide to purchase a new product over your regular brand because it was on sale (a body lotion, let’s say). It’s something you use daily anyway, so why not try something new for fun? The next day, after a long day of work, you decide to try out the product after a relaxing bath. The packaging is simple, but it says “natural” and it’s just a lotion, so no need to look into it further, right? “Hmmm,” you think, “my skin feels moisturized. It absorbs right in and smells great! I’m so glad I found this product at such an awesome price!” But, by the time your head hits the pillow, your skin starts to feel a little tight, and then worse, itchy. So you go to the bathroom, switch on the light to discover that this “steal of a deal” lotion is caked up and flaking in little patches. Not such a steal after all. You kick yourself for not realizing that the deal was too good to be true. A quick peek at the ingredients shows it contains Elastin and Mineral Oil, which not only suffocate pours, but actually dry out the skin. Now, instead of that company offering a deal to entice more customers, they were just added as an offender to another person’s list…one who will probably share their experience with all of their friends on social media!


The majority of the time, low prices that seem too good to be true are often just that. The discovery of a low quality product that a manufacturer has cut corners on doesn’t always show up on day one of the purchase, but it usually doesn’t take long to rear its ugly head, filling the consumer with a regret that leads them to return the product, never try it again, and often, spread the negative news to their network. Essentially, all the effort the company has invested into selling products at lower prices has done nothing but earn them bad press.


When you create or sell products, you have to consider the entire lifespan of the product. It costs you money to formulate the product, package the product, stock the product, market the product, sell the product, and deliver the product, so why would you create a product that the consumer is going to be dissatisfied with once they buy it? Many manufacturers put price before quality, thinking that if they can get a lot of people to buy their product just once, then they can be successful. The problem with this is that yes, the consumer bought their product because it was the least expensive compared to similar products next to it on the shelf. But, if the consumer tries it and it doesn’t work, or if it only sort of works and the a product that is a bit more pricey works a lot better, the consumer will switch to the better quality and never buy the product again. The right price point for your target market must be taken into consideration, but focusing on quality over price is often times your best bet. If the end consumer doesn’t like the product, no price will be low enough to try it again. Producing products of higher quality will increase the longevity of your company and earn you more cash in the long haul. Make the investment upfront, secure a plan for proper distribution, and market the product as a quality choice above the competition.



Focus Points for Selling Quality


  • Observe your product and make a detailed list of what you are doing better than the competing brands.


  • Educate your customer. Choose a few key elements from the list you made about what you do better than your competitors and clearly state these on your product’s packaging and in your marketing materials. If the customer can quickly and clearly understand the uniqueness of your product, they will be much more likely to choose you over the competition regardless of price point.


  • Offer sampling of your products whenever possible. In-store demonstrations, free gift with purchase, event sponsorships, editor reviews, as well as a host of other creative marketing strategies should be implemented upon launch to draw consumers to your brand. Though the image you portray surround your product is important, there is no substitute for the customer actually experiencing it firsthand.


  • Have confidence in your product and its price point, but allow room for negotiation. Be reasonable in your pricing, but be confident knowing that customers are actually paying for quality that they are getting. Some buyers will demand you sell it cheaper, but negotiating too low can compromise the credibility that you work so hard to achieve. However, upon launch, distribution is key to success and buyers will be taking a risk on a new product, so some compromise is typically necessary.


  • Provide ample opportunity for customer feedback. Customers like to feel that you want to know their opinion of your product and will use their advice towards further brand developments. Social media as well as a contact form on your website provide easy-to-access forums for this type of engagement.