What are the factors affecting determination of the price of a product or service? Explain.
Price refers to the money paid by the customers to obtain a product and this price affects its demand. Thereby, pricing plays an important role in the marketing of goods. The price charged by a firm for its product affects it revenue and profits as well. In addition to this, pricing also acts as a competitive tool. Firms producing similar substitutable products compete with each other on the basis of price. Thus, the firms must pay due emphasis on proper pricing of their products. The marketers must analyse properly the various factors that determine the price and decide a suitable price for the product.
The following are the factors that affect the determination of the price of a product or a service.
1. Cost of Product :- Cost of the product plays an important role in determining the price. It comprises of cost involved in production, distribution and sale of the product. Cost of product can be classified into three broad categories, namely, fixed cost, variable cost and semi variable cost. Fixed cost refers to those cost that do not vary with the level of output produced. For example, for the production of a good, a firm incurs cost on the purchase of machinery, land, etc. Such costs are fixed cost. On the other hand, variable cost refers to those costs that vary in direct proportion with the volume of production. That is, as the level of output increases, the variable cost also increase. For example, the cost incurred on labour, raw material, etc. are variable cost. Semi variable cost refers to those costs that vary with the level of output but not in direct proportion. For example, commission paid to intermediaries for the sale of good is a semi-variable cost.
Generally, the firms decide the price of a product such that they are able to cover all their cost. In addition, they also aim at earning some profit over and above the cost incurred by them. Thus, the firms decide upon the price keeping in consideration the cost as well as the profit factor.
2. Demand for the Product :- While determining the price, a firm must also consider the demand for its product. Herein, the elasticity of demand plays an important role. Elasticity of demand refers to the proportionate change in demand due to a given proportionate change in price. If due to small proportionate a change in price, the demand changes by a larger proportion, the demand is said to be elastic. That is, demand is said to be elastic, if a small rise (or, fall) in price leads to a relatively large fall (or, rise) in price. In this case, the firm cannot charge a higher price as it would lead to a large fall in the demand. On the other hand, demand is said to be inelastic, if a change in price does not affect the demand much. In this case, the firm has the privilege of charging a higher price, as even at a higher price, the demand would not fall much. Thus, price for goods having elastic demand is generally lower than price for goods having inelastic demand.
3. Degree of Competition in the Market :- Generally, higher the competition in the market, the lower is the price that a firm can charge for its product. This is because in case of high competition, if a firm attempts to charge a high price, it would lose its customers to the competitors. On the other hand, if a firm faces very little competition for its product then it has the freedom of charging a higher price.
4. Government Regulations :- At times to protect the interest of public at large, the government intervenes in the determination of price. For example, in case of essential commodities, the government can declare a maximum price that can be charged.
5. Objectives of Pricing :- Every firm has various pricing objectives which it considers while deciding a price. The following are some of the objectives of pricing.
i. Profit Maximisation :- Every firm aims at profit maximisation. However, if the firm aims at maximising profits only in the short run, then it may decide to charge a higher price and increase its revenue. On the other hand, if the firm aims to maximise profit in the long run, it would charge a lower price so as to acquire a greater share of the market and benefit from larger sales.
ii. Acquiring Market Share :- If a firm desires to capture a greater market share, it would charge a lower price so as to attract a greater number of customers towards its product.
iii. Surviving Competition :- In face of high competition, a firm would keep the price for its product lower. This is because if it charges a higher price, it would lose its customers to the competitors.
iv. Focus on Quality :- If the firm emphasis on enhancing the quality of the product, it charges a higher price to cover the additional cost incurred.
6. Method of Marketing :- Methods of marketing used by the firm such as distribution, advertisement, customer services, branding, etc. also affect the determination of prices. For example, if the firm uses intense advertising for the promotion of the product, then it would charge a higher price.