These are two of the most important words you will ever utter in marketing: selling and pricing. The whole reason and justification for your job is the expectation that at some point there will be a sale.
A key role in the sale is the determination of pricing. When it's all said and done, you know you will stay in business when your revenues outweigh your costs and the company makes a profit. Simple, right?
Here's a short vignette to illustrate how the masters of fashion branding and storytelling do both. How about Italian stores?
You look at the window and see the few items displayed artistically. You already want to try several on. Selling is the transfer of emotion. What is the first thing you do? You stand back and let your customer complete the story in their minds. This is true especially if you're selling to women. But I am beginning to hear more and more about men (outside of Italy, of course) who love their designer clothes.
Once the customer completes the story you suggested, you make yourself available by chatting up the person, not the potential buyer. I have a friend who sells shoes not far from the place in the photo who is a master at that. He greets you like a long lost friend. You talk amiably about many different things while you keep looking over his shoulder at the deliciously attractive displays. He is almost in your way to get to the shoes. Your conversation is building anticipation.
Then the magic moment comes. You point to a pair positioned upright and ask if you can try it on in your size. His reaction is the one a guest would have at a home party: he's offering you the opportunity to hold the item in your hands. You have just given him permission to engage in a little bit of story of his own. So far, you have seen no prices on anything.
To get around not having prices in the windows, many stores post a small sign that says "vetrina in allestimento" (they are still finishing up their display). Freed from the thought of how each item compares to the others, the customer is now letting her imagination loose. Without cost considerations, she can relax into falling in love with the experience: trying the item on.
Does this sell all the time? It does most of the time. And at a nice profit. What other stories would you share about selling where pricing is not a barrier?
[photo of Duomo di Modena]