If prices go up, it might pay to inform your customers why

March 2, 2011

gas stationI was browsing on CNNMoney.com today and saw an interesting headline: “Don’t Call Us Gougers.” It was a story about the point of view of the gas station owner, taking flak from customers for raising prices. They say they’re just reflecting the price they’re being charged by gas suppliers, and it’s not their fault.

That made me think — what about the other times when the retailer is caught in the middle? Are they always blamed for the rising prices? And, what can they do about it?

Another current situation of rising prices is happening at the grocery store. I’ve noticed that tomatoes and bell peppers, especially, are much more expensive that what I’m used to. As a healthy eater, this is something of a blow to me. I’ve been skipping certain fruits and veggies and buying others instead.

But, you really can’t do that with gasoline.

Something a few of my regular groceries have done is display some kind of sign that explains why fruit prices are going up — drought, flooding, whatever the case may be. That doesn’t reduce the cost, of course, but it educates the consumers, and I think that goes a long way. Consumers aren’t dumb — they’ll pay more for humanely-raised meat, or organic vegetables, if they are educated and agree with the idea.

Will it pay to educate your customers if your costs go up? Of course, there’s no way to tell for every situation. But if they understand why costs are going up and you’re not just out to get their money, it can’t hurt.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central Indiana. We would love to connect with you on Facebook.

Image courtesy of Atle Brunvoll via Flickr
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