The Importance of Consistency in the Approach to Pricing

A company has to send a consistent pricing message if it wants its customers to get its message. An example is Asda. Asda is the U.K. arm of Wal-Mart stores. Asda has always advertised itself as the home of “every day low prices.” It strayed from this message during the recession.

As the recession took hold, Asda followed its major competitors in offering promotional pricing, such as temporary price deals and two-for-one specials. (See the Perspective, “The Grasshopper and the Ant” on

This approach worked during the recession. The company gained market share. However, as the recession ended, the company lost all of the market share it had gained with its promotional pricing. It then found that its customers were confused about what its pricing tactic really was. The company has re-established its theme of “every day low pricing.” In order to emphasize that theme, it has launched a price guarantee program which guarantees the consumer that its prices will be the lowest among its competitors, whether there is a promotion or not. The program invites the customers to check receipts online, and to obtain a rebate if a competitor is offering a better deal. (See the Perspective, “How Price Kills Profits” on

It will take a while for consumers to have confidence in this renewed emphasis on every day low prices.

Posted 8/12/10