These are some great questions and concerns from park store buyers about pricing Junior Ranger backpacks. We have listed them below so you can read other buyers’ concerns and learn about our responses.
- The pricing structure in my store is to key-stone all items, your backpacks won’t sell at such a high price.
- The public is very sensitive to price – especially now in a down economy. Your backpacks are priced too high to sell in this recession.
- Your backpacks are great. My store sells them for more than your recommended price because they are such good quality. But, they sell slowly, what can I do?
- My customers will go to an outdoor store to buy a backpack.
- Customers will not buy anything in my store priced over $25.
- My store can buy cheaper Junior Ranger backpacks from a park association out west. Those backpacks look just like yours. Why should I go with your backpacks?
Note: Key-stoning is when you double the price. A store buys a product for $1 and gives it a 100% markup, selling it for $2.
This is an easy pricing model to manage, but not practical for all items – and it does not serve your customers well. You might try offering markup levels for the ‘benefits’ the products offer the customers.
Low benefit items generally retail between $1-$5. These products have a low wholesale cost and offer a return for your store of 200%, 300%, even 500%. Low benefit items tend to be more ‘touristy’ and share these characteristics:
- Offer a single use
- The function is only in appearance
- Almost exclusively made in China
- The manufacturer knows little or nothing about how their product was made, product testing etc.
Medium benefit items generally retail between $5-$20. These products have a mid-range wholesale cost and offer a return of 200% to 300%. These items tend to be more interpretive in function and targeted to the local resource.
Medium quality items share these characteristics:
- Can provide more than one use
- Function is limited
- Allows visitor to convey an understanding of the local resource
- Made overseas or in U.S.
- The manufacturer has some knowledge about how their product was made, product testing etc.
High benefit items in your store retail from $20 on up. These products have a higher wholesale cost and offer a lower return of 30% to 100%. These items tend to be highly interpretive, target the local resource, and can be used at other parks, and used for learning after the visitor leaves the park. High-quality items share these characteristics:
- Offers potential for multiple uses
- Provides an interactive function other than appearance
- Allows visitor to convey a fuller appreciation of the local resource
- Can be used to further interpretation of other parks and resources
- Made overseas (to U.S. safety guidelines) or in the U.S.
- The manufacturer has extensive knowledge about product safety etc.
- The manufacturer is freely willing to share and be open about their business practices
- Manufacturer provides information or is willing to train your staff about their product.
During this Recession, families have suffered great financial losses. Families are obviously concerned about price, but their expectations about pricing and products have transformed. The public now wants “greater insight and accountability, transparency … and assurances for the future” with anything they buy. (The Burton Group, “Dimensions of the New Normal” page 2, Jan. 12, 2010).
The outdated 20th century way of doing business was ‘Just making a profit.’ Today, anything you sell in your store must ‘walk-the-talk’ by being safe, environmentally accountable and trustworthy. If not, customers will view your store as just more of the same outdated thinking that contributed to the recession and their pain. Your message will be irrelevant to them. Do you want this for your park or your customers?
Our backpacks are made with accountability in mind, we freely give information about our product testing results and are working to continually improve our backpacks. People are sensitive to price, but what they really want is a genuine experience and to feel safe.
The recommended retail price printed on our price sheet is there for a reason. We understand how our backpacks sell and give pricing information to help you. If your store is selling a backpack higher than our recommended range it will be slow in selling. Bring the price back in line with suggested levels. You will still make a good profit.
Outdoor stores do not sell Junior Ranger backpacks. Besides, you have home-field advantage – your park. You have your customer’s attention, time and interest – use it well. When a Junior Ranger backpack is placed in context with the resource it will sell. Some suggestions:
- Cross-market with the Junior Ranger program at your park.
- Offer parents/kids a discount on a backpack when they become Junior Rangers.
- Use some of the backpacks as an ‘adventure pack’ full of useful day hike items that a family can check out and use for the day. When they return the pack offers them a 15% to 25% discount off a brand new backpack.
- Create a display that features related items. Stuff a backpack as a sample so it can be tried on, tested, touched etc. Help the visitor to see how the backpack can be used and enjoyed.
Customers will spend money when they see a value. Value is a combination of price, quality, and longevity. Our backpacks offer all three. Plus we can make it, deliver it, provide your store with pricing recommendations, merchandising suggestions and offer information to help your staff to be knowledgeable about our backpacks. The last step in creating value is at the store level. A genuine smile goes a long way. Being knowledgeable about products, answering questions, letting customers try on a backpack can help close any sale – even sales over $25.
A suggestion, when working with the public in your store do NOT say, “Can I help you?” Eighty-percent of people will just say, “No thanks – just looking.” I do this when people ask me the question – others do it too. People dislike the question because 80% of the time the question is not relevant to their needs at that moment.
You can help your customers without getting in their face. Be observant, depending on your situation and customers, some of these approaches might work better:
- “Wow, you look great in that backpack.”
- “If it does not fit right, try to adjust the shoulder straps.”
- “If you want to give the backpack a test drive try our ‘adventure pack’ that you can check out for the day.”
- “Did you know that when you complete your Junior Ranger book you can buy a backpack at a discount?”
- “The company who makes these backpacks is a green certified company.”
- “We sell these backpacks because they are durable and have long life span. In fact, my kid uses one.”
- “This backpack uses YKK zippers – the same as Police, Firefighters and Astronauts – because these zippers wont fail you in the field.”
- “This backpack offers a one year warranty. If it needs to be replaced the manufacturer will replace it for free. Their contact information is sewn inside the backpack.”
- “This backpack meets U.S. standards for product testing. The manufacturer even posts the test results on their website in case you have any concerns or questions.”
- “The company who makes these Junior Ranger backpacks is a small, family business based in California.”
- “Our interpreters in the park use these backpacks during their interpretive programs.”
- “I bought one for my daughter, she takes it everywhere.”
If moving beyond the $25 ceiling remains illusive try these suggestions:
- Sell the backpacks for less, you make less per backpack but you will sell more backpacks.
- Bundle the backpack with other items to create a ready-to-go backpack with a magnifier, sketchbook, crayons, small book etc. In terms of costs, you might break even on one of the items, but you sell many more of the others.
- Offer a day-of discount on the backpack. If a child completes a Junior Ranger certification program they receive a big discount on a Junior Ranger backpack on that day.
The copycat ‘Junior Ranger’ backpack is cheaper for a reason: it uses poor materials, low-quality seam work, is NOT compliant with U.S. product testing laws and is a blatant copy of GlyphGuy’s original backpack design.
The copycat looks like a GlyphGuy Junior Ranger backpack but NOT in functionality, durability, product testing or originality.
Remember, your park is what it sells to the public.