Pricing decisions or pricing policies are decided based on numerous external factors. One of the primary external factors to influence pricing policies is demand. In the wake of the corona virus pandemic, we have seen major dips in demand and some disruptions in supply. Airlines, Electronics, Hospitality and Manufacturing are among those industries forced to lie low.

On the other hand, in the essential items and medical products sector, we saw an unprecedented rise in demand.

So, how have our local businesses dealt with pricing during this situation? The ideal solution is to find a pricing policy that takes into consideration customer pain points while sustaining businesses, in the short and long term.

Here are some ways in which pricing policies have been decided and managed during the pandemic:

1) Regular Pricing Updates

Since these are unpredictable times, top businesses have been reviewing their product or service prices every 2 or 3 months to ensure they are working. The same rules don’t apply to every sector as we already know. This has lead to prices being lowered and raised at individual business levels. It has also meant that the same product is available at completely different price points, by two different websites.

Lowered prices are being communicated as limited offers, discounts or loyalty benefits, for a limited period of time. It’s all a part of a long term customer retaining strategy.

2) New Business Models

To maintain pricing policies as they were before the pandemic, many businesses have adapted their business models to save on capital expenses. These include adopting the work from home format or moving from a brick and mortar establishment to an online marketplace.

Some e-commerce websites have also begun providing new products and services to boost their customer base, without affecting pricing for the existing ones.

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3) Customer Analytics and Data

The most resilient companies are investing during these times in upgrading their algorithms and data collection. These insights offer a much better view into customer’s ability and willingness to pay for certain commodities and services. Information based on consumer behaviour in real time assessments of pricing dynamics and win/loss ratio lead businesses to place appropriate value on their offerings.

Data is also being used to quickly gauge customer reactions to new pricing policies. Are customers accepting the new prices? Which product categories are working the best? Which marketplaces and payment options do they prefer?

4) Ethical Initiatives

A helpful guide in deciding pricing policies for some enterprises has been to show some empathy for their customers during these trying times. The world is going through economic upheaval. Instead of raising prices to an exorbitant rate, suppliers have used innovative methods such as collaborating with other players.

They have ensured they do not resort to unfair trade or pricing practices and have created win- win situations for customers and their businesses alike. Ethical standards have also been maintained in areas of employee management in an attempt to maintain long term relationships.

5) Value Through Customer Support

For product areas that have introduced higher rates, brands offering these are going a few steps ahead to give customers more than they expect. Special attention to consumer problems, better communication and grievance control, support with product usage are some of the areas which have been able to justify slightly higher price points. 

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Though businesses have experimented and implemented various pricing strategies to deal with the prevalent pandemic, the best ones are those that will continue to work, long after this lockdown. The trick is to adapt to the current situation while being able to adjust and evolve, without causing drastic disruptions in pricing.

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