Price, Quality and Value

The cost vs quality debate is one most of us encounter daily.

In the retail space, it is still common to equate quality with price. ‘You get what you pay for’, suggests that lower price items are made of cheaper materials, less robust and offer fewer features, while their more expensive counterpart stands for quality, longevity and sturdiness. For example, differences exist between various types and grades of fabric and the way garments are constructed and these variations will generally be reflected in the pricing of the finished product.  With promotional products, this simple statement may not always be completely correct, there are other factors that can increase or lower product pricing. Matters relating to the chain of supply can impact the final cost of goods, obtaining certification to prove social and environmental compliance adds cost (as well as good will) and order size can significantly reduce individual unit pricing via economies of scale.

When purchasing promotional products, of course we don’t want to overpay, we want value for money! And there is merit in comparing like products and their pricing – when we are genuinely comparing “apples with apples”. The issue with focusing solely on price is that some items may LOOK the same, but in essence be very different. This is often the case with pens. Two pens may appear identical externally, but one pen is made of plastic and the other aluminium, another pen may have a standard ink barrel, while a ‘matching’ item has a longer lasting cartridge (which will extend the life of the product by 3-4 times). Another may possess a better writing ball, making it considerably more pleasant to write with, while it looks much the same as several others! These variances are indiscernible at first glance, but the difference in the quality of the product is substantial.

One other challenge faced when selecting the right promotional product, is the retail perception by the recipient and their own judgement of “value”.  Some established product lines provide excellent retail perception, while others that are new to the market may cost more, yet have a lower ‘perceived value’. Psychological factors, such as life experience, personal views and brand perception can also affect how a promotional product is received. For example, luxury brands may hold real value for some, making them feel valued and special, while for others these products seem excessive. Recent years have seen a move toward socially responsible purchasing and an increase in the purchase of organic and other environmentally friendly products.

Buying the lowest cost item, simply to save money, is not the best way to promote your brand. In the same vein, distributing excessively expensive items isn’t necessarily going to guarantee the greatest traction either.

In my opinion, achieving balance is key – sourcing quality items, that are reasonably priced. The best approach, to ensure you achieve your desired result, is an open and honest consultation with your selected promotional product supplier.

How important is quality in your evaluation of a promotional product given to you?

“The SCOODA Quick Read” is a weekly educational series created on “all things promo”

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