Life in today’s world is fast-paced and consumers are looking for quick eating options. With this growing demand, the Indian market has seen a strong insurgence of ready-to-eat food, which is fast gaining popularity among the masses. These products are being well marketed by companies that have been in the FMCG arena for years selling a wide variety of products, and also by companies, which have recently made their mark in the industry for ready-to-eat segment.
Factors for growth
According to the report by Euromonitor International, a market research company, major social, economic and demographic changes over recent years have had great influence on the food Indian consumers eat, and on where, when and how they do so. As a result, the convenience food sector has grown by 70 per cent over the last decade, creating a huge market. Convenience foods are foods that are designed to save the consumer’s time in the kitchen and reduce costs due to spoilage. These foods require minimum preparation, typically just heating, and are packaged for a long shelf life with little loss of flavour and nutrients over time.
Ritu Mukherji, Marketing Manager, McCain Foods India, says, “According to market estimates, the branded frozen foods market in India is pegged at Rs 1,000 crore.” McCain Foods India is a part of the Canada-based $6 billion McCain Foods. It produces a wide range of frozen products, including potato specialties, pizzas, ready meals, deserts, vegetables and beverages.
The RTE segment now occupies a decent portion of every household’s shopping basket. Consumers are always looking for a convenient source of food, as cooking has become more of a chore today. Moreover, with microwaves and ovens becoming a part of the Indian kitchens, consumers are not thinking twice before purchasing RTE products.
“RTE is growing in India. This product line was largely export driven, but rapid evolution of our society and economy is aiding the demand as well as the need for RTE products. Our young population, strong middle-class spending power, as well as the rise of dual income families are fuelling RTE sales. Diminishing culinary skills, as well as scarcity of domestic helps and cooks are other reasons why RTE products are needed,” says Sahil Gilani, Director, Gits Food Products Pvt Ltd.
|Gits Food Products Pvt Ltd
|Bachelors & nuclear families
|Dals, rice products, desserts including halwa, combo meals
|250 to 300 gms
|Rs 50 onwards
|McCain Foods India
|Women & families with children
|Potato-based snacks, idli sambar, cheese-based snacks
|450 gms (regular packs) and 750 gms (value packs)
|Rs 29 (trial packs) – Rs 190
Reaching out to consumers
The companies have been following various methods to popularise their range of RTE products. What has come across as the best way to get to consumers is launching products that are well suited to their taste buds.
The RTE arena has lately seen a wide array of variants being launched. Companies are launching foods, including snacks, lentils, dishes and even combo meals. Along with bringing in mass popular dishes, companies are also launching products that are not just country specific, but also region specific. Region specific special dishes, though a niche market, find many takers.
“We, at McCain, offer a range of international favourites and local products like McCain Aloo Tikki, McCain Chilli Garlic Potato Bites, McCain Veggie Burger and McCain Idli Sambar Combo Pack to cater to local tastes and preferences in the Indian market. In fact, we have introduced trial packs at Rs 29 to induce trials,” says Mukherji.
Gilani says, “Apart from the usual range of Dals, Rice products, Pav Bhaji, etc, there are some unique products in our range, including a range of Halwas, specialty products like Dhansak, which is a popular Parsi dish, and also combo meals. The combo meals are a combination of rice complimented with a gravy item (Dal or Rajma). This provides a complete meal for one.”
The companies are also working hard towards marketing these products in a proper manner. It is a well known fact that people prefer food items that are tried and tasted; this holds well in the case of RTE as well, wherein companies launch trial packs and also conduct demos for consumers at modern trade shops. Moreover, McCain has tied up with several RWAs (Residents’ Welfare Associations) in Delhi and has been conducting in-home kitty parties to reach out to homemakers.
On the retail front, the need is to reach out to the right consumers. The RTE segment mostly attracts the youth or the working moms, so a right placement is needed. Consumers tend to do a quick pick of chips and biscuits, so the RTE packs should be kept along with the quick picks in order to grab more eyeballs. Moreover, the retailers should also tie-up with companies and run awareness, marketing and testing drives so as to raise the consumption numbers.
The Indian government has well set the food and safety laws under the Food Safety and Standards Act. The Indian Parliament had recently passed the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 that overrides all other food related laws. It will specifically repeal eight laws:
These laws are in place and look almost perfect, but they exist only on papers. The real need of the hour is to properly implement these laws. According to previous reports, it was ideated to the government that the laws need to be worked upon to make them stringent, but all that is needed is the right implementation and consumer awareness of the existing laws. Bejon Misra, Founder of Healthy You Foundation and former member of FSSAI, says, “It is essential to create awareness among people, especially children, as they are the individuals who drive the buying patterns of parents, depending on what kind of awareness is shared with the children.”
He adds, “The number of unorganised players in the market is huge; this not only lowers the quality of products being sold to consumers, but also kills the market share of the organised players, who adhere to the laws and regulations. We have been apprising the government of this situation, but the politicisation of things makes it a difficult situation to overcome. Right now, the ball is in the government’s court to get better implementation of the existing laws.”
Bejon Misra has been into the consumer awareness domain for the last 28 years.
The market for ready to eat market is set to grow in India, as consumer demand for this product is high. With more and more people becoming a part of the corporate culture and working awkward hours, these packs are coming across as the panacea to their cooking woes. With more delicacies being launched and the right marketing strategy being adopted, the future looks promising for the ready-to-eat segment.
Imagine you're walking through a grocery store, overwhelmed by choices. A sea of similar products beckons, each with a price tag whispering its value proposition. But how do these prices come to be? The answer lies in the fascinating world of retail pricing, a strategic dance between profitability, customer perception, and market competition. This comprehensive guide, packed with facts, data, statistics, engaging testimonials, and practical examples, dives deep into the world of retail pricing, empowering retailers, owners, and entrepreneurs to unlock its full potential.
Retail Price: The Definition and Its Significance
The retail price, also known as the selling price or the end-user price, is the final price at which a product is offered to consumers in a retail setting. It's the price you see on the shelf, the one that determines how much your customers pay at the checkout counter. This price encompasses not just the product's cost but also factors in various expenses incurred by the retailer, such as transportation, storage, marketing, and a profit margin to ensure the business remains viable.
Budgeting and Decision-Making: Customers use the retail price to compare products, evaluate their value proposition, and make informed purchasing decisions within their budget constraints. A study by the National Retail Federation [https://nrf.com/] found that 64% of consumers consider price to be the most important factor when deciding where to shop. This emphasizes the significant role retail price plays in customer purchasing decisions.
Perceived Value: The price tag often influences a customer's perception of a product's quality and worth. Higher prices can lead to perceptions of higher quality, while lower prices might lead to concerns about quality. For example, a customer might be willing to pay a premium price for a pair of designer sunglasses due to the perceived higher quality and brand association, compared to a generic pair of sunglasses at a much lower price.
Price Sensitivity: Customers exhibit varying degrees of price sensitivity, meaning they are more or less willing to pay specific prices depending on the product category, brand perception, and individual needs. For instance, customers might be more price sensitive when purchasing everyday items like groceries, while they might be willing to pay a premium for luxury goods or experiences.
Data-Driven Decisions: Analyzing Competitor Prices
Utilizing online tools and resources, or even physically visiting competitor stores, can provide valuable insights into their pricing strategies. This information can be used to set your prices competitively.
For example, an electronics store owner might monitor online retailers like Amazon and Best Buy to track price fluctuations on popular laptops, allowing them to adjust their prices accordingly to remain competitive.
Strategic Undercutting: Offering a Lower Price
This strategy involves setting your retail price slightly lower than competitors for similar products. It can be a good tactic to attract price-sensitive customers and gain market share, but it's crucial to ensure you can still maintain profitability with this lower price point.
Example: A grocery store might undercut competitor pricing on a specific brand of cereal by a few cents to entice customers to switch and potentially purchase other items while in the store.
Premium Pricing: Commanding a Higher Price Through Value
This strategy involves setting a higher retail price than competitors, often justified by factors like superior quality, unique features, or exclusive brand perception.
For example, a high-end clothing store might price its designer garments significantly higher than competitors due to the premium materials, craftsmanship, and brand reputation associated with the products.
Identifying Customer Needs and Pain Points
Understanding your target audience's needs, wants, and pain points is crucial for this strategy. By effectively addressing these concerns through your product's features and benefits, you can justify a higher price based on the perceived value delivered.
Example: A company selling organic, locally sourced vegetables might highlight the health benefits, environmental sustainability, and support for local farmers to justify their premium pricing compared to conventional grocery stores.
Quantifying the Value Proposition of Your Product
Once you understand your customer's needs, translate the benefits your product offers into quantifiable value. This could involve highlighting time saved, convenience offered, or improved quality of life achieved through using the product.
For example, a fitness tracker company might showcase how their product helps users track steps, monitor sleep patterns, and achieve fitness goals, justifying their price point compared to a simpler pedometer.
Setting a Price that Reflects Perceived Value
Based on your understanding of customer needs and the quantified value proposition, set a retail price that reflects the perceived value your product offers. This price should be high enough to cover costs and generate profit while remaining attractive to your target audience.
Example: A company selling a premium coffee blend might highlight its unique sourcing, roasting process, and exceptional flavor profile to justify a higher price compared to mass-produced coffee brands.
Odd-Ending Prices: The Allure of $9.99
Studies suggest that customers perceive odd-ending prices (e.g., $9.99) as being slightly lower than round numbers (e.g., $10), even though the difference is minimal. This tactic can create a subconscious perception of a better deal.
Example: An online clothing retailer might price a t-shirt at $19.99 instead of $20 to leverage the psychological effect of odd-ending prices.
Bundling and Discounts: Encouraging Larger Purchases
Offering product bundles or discounts for purchasing multiple items can incentivize customers to spend more. This strategy can increase your average order value and boost overall sales.
For example, a software company might offer a discount on a bundled subscription package that includes multiple software applications, encouraging customers to purchase the entire package instead of individual products.
Strategic Sales and Discounts: Temporary Price Reductions
Offering temporary price reductions through sales or discounts is a popular strategy to stimulate sales, clear out inventory, or attract new customers.
For example, a department store might hold a seasonal sale to clear out summer clothing before the fall collection arrives.
Coupons and Loyalty Programs: Rewarding Repeat Customers
Providing coupons and loyalty programs can incentivize repeat purchases and build customer loyalty. This strategy can help you retain existing customers and encourage them to spend more over time.
For example, a coffee shop might offer a loyalty program where customers earn points with each purchase, which can be redeemed for free drinks or discounts on future purchases.
Factors Influencing the Retail Price Equation: A Deeper Look
Every retail price you set is influenced by a combination of internal and external factors. Understanding these factors is crucial for making informed pricing decisions.
This refers to the direct cost of acquiring the product, including manufacturing, materials, labor, and transportation. It's the starting point for calculating your markup rate and, ultimately, the retail price.
For example, a bakery might factor in the cost of flour, sugar, eggs, and other ingredients, as well as the labor costs associated with baking, to determine the COGS of a loaf of bread.
Operational Costs: Beyond the Product Itself
These are the indirect expenses associated with running your business, such as rent, utilities, employee wages, marketing, and administrative costs. These costs need to be incorporated into your pricing strategy to ensure profitability.
For example, a clothing store owner might consider the cost of rent for the storefront, employee salaries, and marketing expenses when determining the retail price of their clothing items.
Target Market and Customer Price Sensitivity: Understanding Your Audience
It's crucial to understand your target market and their price sensitivity. This involves considering factors like demographics, income levels, and shopping habits. Customers with higher disposable income might be more receptive to premium pricing, while budget-conscious customers might prioritize value pricing.
For example, a high-end jewelry store might cater to a niche market willing to pay premium prices for luxury items, while a discount clothing store might target a broader audience seeking affordable fashion options.
Brand Image and Positioning: The Value of Your Brand
The perceived value and image associated with your brand can influence the price premium you can command. Strong brand recognition and positive customer perception can allow you to set higher prices compared to lesser-known brands offering similar products.
For example, Apple products often command premium prices due to their brand image of innovation, quality, and exclusivity.
Supply and Demand: The Market Forces at Play
Market forces like supply and demand play a significant role in determining the optimal retail price. When the supply of a product is limited, and demand is high, you might be able to justify a higher price point. Conversely, if there is an abundance of a product and low demand, you might need to lower your price to remain competitive.
For example, the price of a popular video game might be higher during its initial release due to high demand and limited availability. However, the price might decrease as the game becomes readily available and the initial hype subsides.
Government Regulations: Ensuring Compliance
Certain products might be subject to government regulations that impact pricing. These regulations can include minimum pricing requirements, taxes, and labeling requirements. It's essential to be aware of and comply with any relevant regulations when setting your retail prices.
For example, some countries have minimum pricing regulations for alcohol or tobacco products to discourage consumption.
Now that you understand the various factors influencing retail price, let's delve into the basic formula used to calculate it:
Retail Price = Cost Price + Markup Rate
Cost Price: This includes all the direct costs associated with acquiring the product, as mentioned earlier.
Markup Rate: This is the percentage you add to the cost price to cover your operational expenses and generate a desired profit margin.
Let's say the cost price of a T-shirt is $10 and you desire a 40% markup rate.
Markup Amount = Cost Price x Markup Rate = $10 x 40% = $4
Retail Price = Cost Price + Markup Amount = $10 + $4 = $14
It's important to note that this is a simplified formula, and more complex pricing models might be used in practice, considering factors like discounts, variable costs, and competitor pricing.
As you gain experience and navigate the dynamic world of retail, you can explore advanced pricing techniques to optimize your strategies:
Dynamic Pricing: Adjusting Prices Based on Real-Time Data
This involves using technology to adjust your retail prices in real-time based on factors like customer behavior, competitor pricing, and market demand. This can help you maximize your profit potential and cater to dynamic market conditions.
For example, an airline might use dynamic pricing to adjust ticket prices based on seat availability, day of the week, and booking time.
Penetration Pricing: Entering a New Market with Low Prices
This strategy involves setting initially low prices to gain market share and brand recognition in a new market. Once established, you can gradually increase your prices as you establish your brand and customer loyalty.
For example, a new streaming service might offer a lower subscription price initially to attract users and compete with established players in the market.
Price Skimming: Targeting Early Adopters with Premium Prices
This strategy involves setting a high initial price for a new product to capitalize on early adopters willing to pay a premium for exclusivity and innovation. As the product matures and becomes more widely available, the price can be gradually lowered to reach a broader customer base.
For example, a company releasing a new smartphone with cutting-edge technology might initially set a high price point to target early adopters and tech enthusiasts, before lowering the price as the product reaches a wider market.
In today's digital age, various tools and technologies can empower you to make informed pricing decisions:
By utilizing these tools and technologies effectively, you can gain valuable insights and make data-driven decisions that improve your overall pricing strategy.
As you've seen, retail pricing is a complex and multifaceted area that requires careful consideration of various factors. By understanding the different strategies, formulas, and advanced techniques, you can equip yourself with the knowledge and tools to set effective retail prices that optimize profitability, attract customers, and ensure the sustainable success of your business. Remember, the key is to constantly learn, adapt, and refine your pricing strategies based on market trends, customer behavior, and your evolving business goals.
Answer: Imagine a product takes a journey from manufacturer to your shopping cart. The retail price is the final price tag you see in the store, the one you pay at checkout. This price incorporates various costs:
Therefore, the retail price is typically higher than the wholesale price because it factors in these additional costs and the retailer's profit margin. The wholesale price, on the other hand, is the price at which the manufacturer or distributor sells the product in bulk to retailers. This price allows retailers to add their markup and still make a profit when they sell the product to individual customers.
Answer: MSRP stands for manufacturer's suggested retail price. It's essentially a recommendation by the manufacturer on what the retail price of a product should be. Think of it as a suggestion, not a rule.
Retailers are not obligated to follow the MSRP and have the freedom to set their own retail price based on various factors, including:
Therefore, while the MSRP can provide a starting point, retailers have the flexibility to adjust the price based on their specific circumstances and target market.
Setting an effective retail price requires careful consideration of several factors:
By carefully considering these factors, you can set a retail price that balances profitability with customer value and market competitiveness.
Retailers use various strategies to attract customers and maximize profits. Here are some popular approaches:
Choosing the right pricing strategy depends on your specific product, target market, and business goals. Experimenting with different strategies and analyzing their effectiveness can help you find the approach that works best for your business.
In today's digital age, various tools can empower retailers to make informed pricing decisions:
Utilizing these technological tools can provide valuable data and insights, empowering you to make more informed and data-driven pricing decisions that optimize profitability and customer satisfaction.
The key to successful retail pricing is not a one-time fix. It's an ongoing process of learning and adaptation. Here's what you can do:
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