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Mystery Prices at Furniture Shows
03/04/2010
By: Seth Berman

A lot of factories do not put their prices on their products at furniture fairs in Asia.  We're curious about the reason for this.

When we go to a trade show in the U.S., the first thing that we always check is the price point to be sure that the company’s products are the right value for our customers.  Being able to quickly see if a manufacturer is a good match for my company is very helpful.

To us, there are 2 key reasons that we think factories should consider putting prices on their products.

Reason 1.  Buyers will be drawn in by low prices.  At IFFINA this year, Mathew Cameron, the owner of Cavit Kealy attracted a lot of buyers by putting prices on all his products, and adding some small stands with larger price cards.  Our booth was across from his, and we’d estimate that every day at least 5 buyers who didn’t  seem very interested at first, looked closely at the prices, and decided to take the time to inquire more about his product line and factory.  It was obvious that the pricing was attractive, and buyers looking for good value were drawn in, and they placed orders.  With his company’s good performance, they will probably become repeat customers.

Reason 2.  It helps save the buyers time.  We get frustrated when it takes 5 minutes of chatting, business card exchanging, showing the salesperson the products we like, and finally getting a price that is way out of the range we were expecting.  We feel like we not only wasted our time, but we also wasted the factories' time.

We have always assumed the reason for the factory not wanting to disclose their price is that they worry their competitors will find out.  Our suggestion is that they print the price small enough that only somebody within a few feet will be able to read the price.  There is no need to make buyers’ already-busy days even longer, because the stand next door could find out what they charge.  Buyers look for the best value, not necessarily the lowest price.  If you price is competitive, you have an attractive product line, and you care about your quality,  you will find your business will continue to grow.

On a final note: another thing that we love is when factories give us price lists in their catalogs.  If the company is afraid that prices may change in the future, then attaching a separate list printed on normal paper is fine.  The reason we like this is because our projects often come in unexpectedly; so when we go back through our files and catalogs, we’re instantly in touch with good estimations on where to start, and can reconnect with that factory.

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