Price, Service, Quality – Make price last not first

Posted by Tom LarsenDec 03, 2014 Marketing, Planning, Product Development 2 Comments

This is an old concept that bares a revisit. Fundamentally, these are the three attributes that constitute value in any transaction: price, service and quality. When you want a dress or a pair of shoes, there are numerous places, designs, prices and qualities that are inherent in the overall buying experience and eventual satisfaction with the dress or shoes and your satisfaction with the outcome. Value is after all an assessment of the “worth” that something holds for the buyer.


The internet has disrupted our sense of “worth” and therefore value by placing an increasing focus on price as the distinguishing variable. Why pay 90 when you can get it for 88 is a fair question? But, to determine value over time, I want to be able to look at quality and service first and price last.

When you stay at certain hotels, the experience is much different than at other hotels. Addressing a problem is much different. Even the sleep you get may be much different. Simply speaking, the quality of the experience and the services that can be provided can be vastly different.

The same is true of clothing. The experience you have with a garment or shoes over time – washing, fading, stitching, etc. can be very different from one garment or shoes to another. Therefore, knowing what you are seeking in the quality and service variables FIRST will guide you to price levels for the wearing/washing/lasting/looking experience you will have with the garment.

The internet makes it all too easy to sort by price and push decisions to be price based. I see purveyors of upmarket products continually shopping online for the “lowest price” and then being frustrated that some aspect of the “experience” goes badly.

If you are simply buying commodities, by all means, get the best price for that commodity. If you are buying things that will have “value” then make price the last consideration. Nothing makes tomorrow any more difficult that having a bad night’s sleep, so don’t blame the low priced hotel located next to a nightclub for your bad night’s sleep. If you want to sleep well, figure out what that is worth to you (value) and then always be comfortable paying for it. When you don’t get the value at the price, that’s a different story.

  • Above all, remember that you are voting with your dollar. If you want to vote to improve the economy, vote for American jobs, by purchasing American made items. If you want to vote against GMOs, pay a little more for organic. I could go on.

    • Elsie Ackerly brings up an interesting point. In my view, we are all buyers and sellers all the time. I feel it is too often easier to put price in front of Quality and Service, whether that is a local purchase or an import purchase. I strongly subscribe to the concept that it is up to the vendor to meet the Quality and the Service needs of the market first. If that happens to be more expensive to produce locally then that becomes part of the final price. If there are factors like freight or travel time or quality risks at play, the two parties should consider the entire cost, not just one component. We are all buying and selling outcomes after all.

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