Looking the part


During a recent trip to the grocery store, one of the items on my shopping list was frozen broccoli. As I scanned the freezer shelves, I saw a great deal on one brand, which was selling for less than a dollar per pound. However, I was a little bit confused, since the same brand appeared to offer three different kinds of frozen broccoli — chopped, cuts, and florets — but only two of those versions had prices marked on the shelf.

When I brought the broccoli to the checkout lane, I learned that the florets were more than twice the price of the other kinds, so I respectfully declined to purchase them. And since the packages of each version look very similar, I doubt I’m the first shopper to be puzzled by the widely divergent pricing.

What’s the takeaway here? If you sell several products that are similar to one another, but one of those variants is considerably more expensive, then don’t give the more costly version the same packaging as the cheaper ones. Perhaps the top-of-the-line product can be labeled as “Premium”, or have a different color package. Either way, it pays to give customers a visual cue so they can differentiate more expensive products from cheaper ones, since otherwise you run the risk of setting low price expectations that will be impossible to meet.