Think of products that have been introduced in the last decade and how products were priced when they first entered the market. Remember when the iPhone was first introduced, its price was almost $700. Since then, the price has dropped considerably even for new models. The same is true for DVD players, LCD televisions, digital cameras, and many high-tech products. As mentioned in Chapter 7 "Developing and Managing Offerings", a skimming price strategy is when a company sets a high initial price for a product. The idea is to go after consumers who are willing to pay a high price (top of the market) and buy products early. This way, a company recoups its investment in the product faster.
The easy way to remember a skimming approach is to think of the turkey gravy at Thanksgiving. When the gravy is chilled, the fat rises to the top and is often “skimmed” off before serving. Price skimming is a pricing approach designed to skim that top part of the gravy, or the top of the market. Over time, the price of the product goes down as competitors enter the market and more consumers are willing to purchase the offering.
In contrast to a skimming approach, a penetration pricing strategy is one in which a low initial price is set. Often, many competitive products are already in the market. The goal is to get as much of the market as possible to try the product. Penetration pricing is used on many new food products, health and beauty supplies, and paper products sold in grocery stores and mass merchandise stores such as Walmart, Target, and Kmart.
Another approach companies use when they introduce a new product is everyday low prices. That is, the price initially set is the price the seller expects to charge throughout the product’s life cycle. Companies like Walmart and Lowe’s use everyday low pricing. Lowe’s emphasizes their everyday low pricing strategy with the letters in their name plus the letter “t” (Lowest).