How competitors price and sell their products will have a tremendous effect on a firm’s pricing decisions. If you wanted to buy a certain pair of shoes, but the price was 30 percent less at one store than another, what would you do? Because companies want to establish and maintain loyal customers, they will often match their competitors’ prices. Some retailers, such as Home Depot, will give you an extra discount if you find the same product for less somewhere else. Similarly, if one company offers you free shipping, you might discover other companies will, too. With so many products sold online, consumers can compare the prices of many merchants before making a purchase decision.
The availability of substitute products affects a company’s pricing decisions as well. If you can find a similar pair of shoes selling for 50 percent less at a third store, would you buy them? There’s a good chance you might. Recall from the five forces model discussed in Chapter 2 "Strategic Planning" that merchants must look at substitutes and potential entrants as well as direct competitors.