To Price or Not to Price Catalogs and Flyers?

To price, or not to price, that is the question. 

Shakespeare might not have been in the promo industry, but the Bard definitely knew how to brand himself. Poetry references aside, the question of whether or not to include prices in your catalogs and flyers is a hotly-debated and complicated topic. 

According to our recent industry survey, suppliers are split down the middle: 50% are upfront with their pricing, putting it in their catalogs. The other half like to keep mention of price out of their catalogs, and leave those decisions to distributors.  

The question becomes easier to tackle when we look at catalogs and flyers for what they are: tools to educate and sell. 

Who uses these tools? Distributors, of course. They use them to educate not only themselves, but also their end-buyers, and that education leads to sales. 

When choosing whether or not to include prices in your digital marketing materials, your first and last thoughts should always be, what do distributors want to put in front of their end-buyers?

How do priced and unpriced catalogs and flyers affect distributors? How will seeing the prices (or not seeing them) impact their end-buyer’s perception of the products?

Choosing between the two options is no small task, so let’s break it down.

Pros of Pricing 

There are very few people in the world who have the luxury of ignoring cost altogether, so the majority of people out there–whether they’re distributors, end-buyers, or just your average shopper looking for a deal–consider price before they make a purchase. 

Upfront transparency with your pricing makes it easier for distributors and end-buyers to choose the products that fit best into their project budgets. Clear pricing coupled with strong product photography and detailed feature information keeps all of your need-to-know info in one easily referenced location. 

Pricing your catalogs helps when distributors are doing their initial research, and if they use priced catalogs in their own sales efforts, the prices can help set expectations with end-buyers, helping them make informed decisions.

Common Pricing Options

So if you decide to go the pricing route, what’s the best way to show prices? Will you use a quantity and price grid or opt for “starting at” pricing? A pricing grid is more comprehensive and is the most descriptive method, but it can create confusion if the end-buyer isn’t used to reading these types of charts and they aren’t familiar with added costs, such as setup fees and run charges. There may also be drawbacks for distributors who want to vary margins at different quantity levels or even remove lower quantities altogether.

“Starting at” pricing is a good middle ground. It gives the customer a general idea of the cost, but leaves some leeway for the distributor to adjust the final quantity breaks and pricing they present.

Pros of NOT Pricing

On the other hand, creating an unpriced catalog frees end-buyers from the initial question of cost and allows them to focus on impact. It’s a great conversation starter, opening the door to exploration before budget realities come into play. An unpriced catalog allows distributors to later set quantity and pricing levels that will work for a given project and avoid the sticker shock factor when their end-buyer is presented with an estimate. 

Another benefit of unpriced catalogs: they don’t have to be updated to account for pricing changes, and we could all use one less thing to worry about throughout our days. However, ZOOMcatalogs are quick and easy to update when the need arises. 

What About Both? 

It’s not uncommon for suppliers to create two versions of their catalogs–one priced, the other unpriced. This is a great strategy! In fact, it’s the ideal scenario. Especially in the digital world where information can be easily updated whenever necessary.

However, if you find you don’t have the resources to produce and maintain two separate catalogs, we suggest speaking with your team and top customers to see which direction they prefer. Because, as our survey shows, there’s no definitive answer or one-size-fits-all solution for every supplier.

PRO TIP: If you offer ZOOMstudio to distributors they have complete flexibility when it comes to pricing. It can be turned on or off, markups can be added, and they can switch between a grid or “starting at” pricing convention. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about empowering your team and customers with these tools.

Learn more about ZOOMcustom and find out how you can put this powerful tool in the hands of your customers. Contact your ZOOMcatalog rep.