If you’re just starting out, or you’re reevaluating your soap business, there are certain questions you can’t avoid. Depending on which of these two you are, the most basic of questions can be asked a couple of ways: “What should I charge?” or “Am I charging the right price?”
We’d love to have a rock-solid answer that would be perfect in all situations. But we don’t. We do have a great working price, based on product costs and shipping with consideration given to packaging and marketing, but your final price depends a lot on where and how you’re selling.
Our working price is $4.99, which is great for a lot of situations. If you’re going to be on store shelves next to other soaps, or if you’re going to be at trade shows and farmers markets where you’re one of several soaps to choose from, this price will put you in a good, competitive position.
Modern Soap Selling
These days, though, there are other venues to consider. Online sales are different than retail and in-person sales. Prices can vary widely, depending on whether you have your own online store or you’re featured in an online marketplace. Based on circumstances, costs, and business models, we’ve seen the same soaps sold online for prices ranging from $6.00 to $12.00.
We’ve also seen what might appear to be extreme pricing – $23.00 for a bar wrapped in paper and twine with an elegant, minimal logo. Elsewhere it would have sold much closer to the $6.00 to $12.00 range, but $23.00 was the price at a high-end boutique in Palm Springs, California. All other luxury soaps in the shop (organic becomes “luxury” in certain environments) were in the low-to-mid $20’s.
In that store, it was clear that price was equated with quality. To undersell the other soaps in the store – the right thing to do in many other contexts– would have been a mistake. A lower price would have meant lower quality and discouraged buying.
General market behavior is one thing. There is also the wide-ranging organic and natural products world to consider, where quality is a bedrock, appearance can be highly important, and price can be part of appearance. If you’re on variety-store shelves with lots of other soaps, a price ending in “.99” makes perfect sense. If you’re in a natural food store, though, “.99″‘s can be seen as shallow and manipulative, like corporate products and marketing. In these situations, round numbers – $5.00, $6.00 – will serve you much better.