To Price or Not To Price

When it comes to pricing or not pricing a catalog, there are several valid arguments for both sides and plenty of variables to consider. What is the best possible option? 

I remembered my first promo job as a junior account manager back in 2005. One of my tasks was shipping catalogs to clients with our lovely printed labels with our contact information attached to each one. Back then, most catalogs included pricing or came with a price list insert. Pricing also only changed once or twice a year when the new catalogs were printed. 

Things are different now. We are faced with supply chain disruptions, raw goods price increases, labor shortages, fuel increases, and who knows what else, which all affect the price of a product. Also, there is a push for more interaction and inspiration in the visual appeal of our marketing materials and more specific, niche style shorter books. This creates many issues, one of which is “Do you include pricing when making a catalog?”

For all these reasons, I’m of the opinion that no, you do not need to include pricing in your catalog. It gives distributors the freedom and flexibility to charge what they want. After all, distributors are becoming consultants more and more often, and no one should tell them what to charge. 

But like I said, there are arguments for both sides, so I thought I would tag some friends in the industry and get their opinions too. 


“With the ever-changing world, publishing pricing in a printed catalog is dangerous for everyone. I think the best thing to do is direct distributors to a supplier’s website. It would also allow suppliers and distributors to engage deeper.”


Tom Clouser, Bel Promo

“I am a firm believer in adding pricing to (supplier) catalogs, especially with printed catalogs.  Even with the current inflation challenges and constant price changes we (along with other industries) continue to navigate, I strongly feel listing a price as a ’suggested retail price’ is more beneficial to the distributor than not listing a price, thus leaving a product’s perceived value entirely up to the end-users imagination.  

“It’s all about educating your clients (suppliers to distributors and distributors to end-users).  Being up-front and letting your clients know pricing is subject to change due to the current economic challenges we continue to face creates an opportunity for transparent conversations and more hands-on proactivity; it creates an opportunity to build true partnerships, reinforcing the fact that we’re all still in this together.”


Amanda Delaney, Hirsch Gifts

Buying Group

“I think it is just fine when suppliers choose to include their pricing on catalogs as long as they provide distributors with the option to edit or remove it. Everyone goes to market a little differently, so when distributor salespeople have that control, it empowers and incentivizes them to use that supplier’s content when it is available.”


Taylor Borst, American Solutions for Business


“Honestly, yes. Because clients want to know the price, if they don’t have the price, then have it hyperlinked so if the client clicks for more info, it will bring up the price. But I also see the other side – pricing changes, and also, if they don’t put the price, then that gives the client a reason to reach out and ask the distributor for more info. But I like to make things as easy on me and my client as possible. I am pro-pricing.”


Shannon Walsh Loredo, Business Branders

“Things are just so crazy these days; I’m not sure it is helpful to have pricing in the catalogs.” 


Lisa Greyhill, Firebrand Promotions

So, after much deliberation and consultation, the general consensus is… “it depends.”. 

The good news is, when publishing digital catalogs through ZOOMcatalog, there are so many options for both sides of the pricing fence. 

With a digital catalog, you can link to pricing on a website the way Tom recommends, or you can update your pricing on the fly. You can even allow distributors to edit your catalog and include their own pricing. Whatever strategy you choose, a digital catalog can work with you. 

Our advice? We have really seen it all from our supplier partners. Best practices would be to offer a priced and unpriced catalog to meet the different needs of different distributors. With digital, it’s easier than ever to create and publish these two versions and increase your chances that a distributor shares your catalog. If you need some guidance or help, reach out to our team, and we can help you make it happen!