Facts for Business
Good Pricing Practices? SCAN DO
It's no secret that good pricing practices are good for business. They increase customer satisfaction, increase profits and go a long way toward assuring compliance with the law.
While satisfied customers generally mean repeat business, price errors that stem from haphazard or inefficient pricing practices can cost stores money. For one thing, the dollar amount of undercharges often exceeds the dollar amount of the overcharges. For another, it is against the law to charge more than the advertised shelf price. Stores that do may be subject to civil and criminal fines.
The Federal Trade Commission and the National Conference on Weights and Measures say it can be relatively easy to improve pricing practices -- and in the process, boost customer satisfaction, your bottom line and compliance with the law. Here are their step-by-step suggestions:
Develop written procedures for all forms of pricing activity in your store. Include ways to ensure that the price in the store's computer matches the posted or advertised price. Remember that your customer expects to receive the lowest price posted or advertised.
Develop training programs for store employees that stress your commitment to accurate pricing.
Designate a pricing coordinator for your store.
Give one employee responsibility for the accuracy of prices of all Direct Sale Delivery items. Make sure DSD vendors check with the pricing coordinator before they do any pricing.
Check prices of a random sample of items - 50 or so - every day to ensure that the price in the store's computer matches the posted or advertised price. Use the NCWM price verification procedure.
Make sure prices in every aisle, section or area of the store are checked several times a year. This is the only way you will find all of the undercharges.
Have the inventory audit team conduct a pricing audit while they're doing an inventory audit.
Use hand-held scanners to speed price audits. Your wholesaler may be able to provide them.
Use a portable label printer during price audits to immediately replace incorrect or missing shelf labels.
Offer your customers a reward if they are overcharged. Giving one item free (up to a maximum dollar value) to any customer who correctly reports an overcharge builds customer loyalty and support.
Contact trade associations for how-to manuals on pricing accuracy. Food Marketing Institute at www.fmi.org; 800 Connecticut Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20006; 202-452-8444. National Retail Federation at www.nrf.com; 325 Seventh St., NW., Washington, DC 20004; 202-783-7971.
Contact your local weights and measures officials for information about inspection procedures and pricing laws. For a copy of the price verification procedure adopted in 1995, contact: National Conference on Weights and Measures at www.nist.gov/owm; 15245 Shady Grove Road, Suite 130, Rockville, MD 20850; 301-258-9210.
Encourage your trade association or wholesaler to set up an industry monitoring program. Contact the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association at firstname.lastname@example.org; P.O. Box 870, Camp Hill, PA 17001-0870, 717-731-0600 for information about its scanning certification program. Or visit them at www.pfma.org.
For More Information
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair practices in the marketplace and to provide information to businesses to help them comply with the law. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
This information is provided under a cooperative agreement between the Better Business Bureau and the U. S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has prepared this information. The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid these practices. To learn more about the FTC and its services, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261.