Pricing Your Products: How Apple can charge a whopping $69 for an iPad case (and get away with it)
Emily Saka | January 24, 2014
Let's face it: pricing your products is hard. Your customers are exposed to more choices and lower prices than ever before, and coming up with innovative strategies to combat this isn't easy.
But there are some brands, like Apple, that can somehow seem to charge infinite sums of money for their products and make people excited to buy them. In this post - a tale about my quest for an iPad mini case - I discuss why.
(Hint: it isn't just because it's Apple.)
Part 1: Disbelief at the Apple Store
When I first picked up my brand-new iPad mini, the bubbly Apple Store employee swiping my credit card suggested I purchase a $69 Smart Case to go with it. They're THE BEST, she claimed. But after quickly scanning the product in question, and some of its peers while I was at it, I politely declined and left the store.
Why? The prices just seemed too astronomically high for the products I saw on the shelf.
If you've ever shopped for an iPad case, you know that they all generally make the same, rather underwhelming first impression. In this scenario, gleaning little from their appearance about what made these Apple Smart Cases worth $69, I was pretty unwilling to make a purchase.
But if you're currently sitting at the other end of the situation and trying to find ways to differentiate your brand's top-quality, appropriately-priced products (perhaps even iPad cases) from the competition, there's good news from this tale yet:
Great product marketing can not only help justify the price of an item, but also make a more expensive item desirable for consumers.
I just had to go online before I figured it out for myself.
Part 2: How An Online Feature-by-Feature Overview Won Me Over
A month went by before I realized that I had yet to buy my iPad case. My device had places to go and people to see - it wouldn't stay cooped up in my house for much longer.
Time for some retail therapy.
Just like most of the physical products I saw at the Apple Store a month prior, virtually none of the iPad cases I found made a compelling pitch for their price. For whatever reason, these companies thought that simply providing a place to keep my device warm at night was worth...wait, HOW MUCH?
I figured it was worth a shot to return to Apple, online this time. And while the prices were just as intimidating as ever, the website was able to do something the bubbly employee couldn't do for me in-store: convincingly market the product.
Through a unique combination of bullet points, descriptive paragraphs, and colorful icons, Apple milks every bit of marketing fodder out of its Smart Cases for their online product pages. Every detail - from the case's automatic power on-off capabilities down to the simple fact that the case (unlike the cover) protects the entire iPad - is called upon to pitch for the product.
The price of the Apple Smart Case still towered above the other over-priced, similar-looking products saturating the market. But after a half hour of looking at bland descriptions that were as identical to one another as their corresponding products, the creativity on the Apple site was a change of pace that made me take notice.
This kind of feature-by-feature marketing is especially effective for products - like iPad cases - for which this kind of marketing appears counterintuitive. Other brands simply won't go through the extra effort.
While there are other iPad cases that have power on-off capabilities, for example, Apple was the only site to take that information from a single-lined bullet point into a mini paragraph and an icon. I would have gotten the point without that level of detail, but it left a persuasive impression of the quality of the product, and the brand as a whole.
While your product may physically look like many others in the market, creatively marketing your product can make all the difference for folks conducting aggressive research before a purchase.
No matter what, pricing will always be difficult. But here's the good news: If you can effectively describe - creatively and down to the finest detail - all the reasons why a customer should buy your product, you can sell anything. Even a $69 iPad case.