One of the hottest topics coming out of the Foresight Funeral and Cemetery Consumer Behavior Study has been Pricing. Gabe Ngo, Director of Business Development, provides some insights on how to be more transparent with pricing.
Question #1: How do we best address price transparency, given the complex design of the GPL?
Question #2: How do I put my complicated FTC mandated pricing online in a way the consumer will understand and not drive the consumer away?
Gabe Ngo: These are two great questions that I would like to attempt to tackle in answering them together. Yes, General Price List (GPL) requirements are complex and complicated—most notably for the lay person and consumer to follow and understand. On the surface, it is actually quite easy to just have your GPL scanned and posted on your website in the name of pricing transparency. But that is not quite the right answer, is it?
Therefore, I urge you to start thinking about online pricing transparency in the most strategic way. And this adds additional layers of complexity to the equation, especially if you have not ever thought about these things before. In order to achieve pricing transparency in the most effective manner that helps you achieve your desired goals and objectives, you first have to understand your pricing, its financial effects on your operations, and be confident in your pricing—even before you begin to think about posting your prices online. And this starts with a few very simple questions—a) whether you believe the services you provide to your client families to be a commodity, and b) if you don’t believe that what you do is a commodity, then how are you different and unique from your competitors? Thus, a thorough understanding of and a firm confidence in how you are properly priced is a must before you should even think about tackling the complexity of the GPL requirements and how to post your prices online.
And this leads right into the next layer of complexity: if you believe in the noble value and high quality of the service that you provide as a differentiator from your competitors, how is this then represented on your website? There are many instances of high-quality funeral businesses that provide the most excellent level of services to their client families. And yet, their websites do not reflect this quality and value—quite frankly their websites often represent anonymous, commoditized faces to the world who come upon them on the internet. Your funeral business is your true business, but your website is also your funeral business…just virtually to anyone with internet access performing a search for funeral-related services. And in the virtual world, your competition is not restricted by mileage, distance, or parochialism as potential barriers of protection or to entry. Therefore, if you do not already present yourself and your business well by putting your best face forward via your website, posting your prices on your website could potentially serve to further have the commoditizing effect on your business.
Transparent pricing online is ultimately the strategic and purposeful result of your understanding, grasp, confidence, and firm command of who you are as a distinguished, high value personal service business and how you’ve translated, presented, and positioned this unique value onto your website. Only then will you have the necessary foundations for online pricing transparency to further set you apart as a competitive advantage. I am so very proud and confident in our team here at Foresight and how we can ably and positively help guide our clients’ thinking and decision-making, via our Strategic Business Analysis and Accounting consulting services, through all the complexity I have just spoken about—from properly setting and understanding the power of pricing, to improving your online website presence and effectiveness, to finally establishing your transparent online pricing as a differentiator.
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