Why is it that many products that are quite similar in scope and use cost more when sold to women compared to men? It’s sometimes referred to as the “pink tax” when women are charged more than men for feminine products and general services. According to a study done by New York City in 2015, girl’s clothes cost 4% more than boy’s clothes, women pay 7% more than men for accessories such as bags and watches, 8% more than men for clothing, and 13% more than men for personal care products.
Enter Billie – a company that offers a direct-to-consumer product line of female-focused razors, shaving creams, and lotions developed – and priced – for women. One might think of it as the female equivalent of male-focused Dollar Shave Club, but according to Billie’s founders, it really wants to be a friend to its customers and be considered a body brand. It offers a subscription service of razors delivered every one, two, or three months at a price point of $9.00, including free shipping.
Billie makes a point of listening to its customers and forging relationships. They try to treat customers as friends and be helpful and in tune. Billie doesn’t want to tell women how they should look, but do want women to have a choice and provide an affordable solution designed specifically for women.
Nothing lasts forever. It’s a tired phrase, but a true one, that is often applied to consumer goods. In the past year or so, two of the most ubiquitous consumer products that have been deleted include the VCR and the iPod. It happens in all industries.
In the automotive industry, some of the famous car brands that have been deleted in the past decade include Pontiac, Saturn, Maybach, Mercury, Hummer, Saab, Isuzu, Oldsmobile, and Plymouth. The most recent company to delete a car line (but not the entire company) is Ford. Ford plans to kill off its entire sedan lineup (except Mustang!). The company plans to delete Taurus, Fusion, Focus, and Fiesta – some of which have had high rankings and sales. Why cut the lines?
Strategically, Ford needs to cut costs and improve its overall financial performance. The company’s decision also seems to reflect changing consumer preferences for SUVs and crossovers, instead of traditional family sedans. Generation Y and Millennials are now starting families, but they still want to maintain an active lifestyle. This makes SUVs a popular choice. By 2020, Ford plans to have nearly 90% of its vehicles in the categories of truck, SUV, and commercial vehicles. And, let’s not forget about emerging demands for electric and autonomous vehicles.
Out with the old – in with the new.
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
Discuss the stages in the product life cycle. What are the marketing objectives in each stage?
Divide students into teams. Have each team draw a product life cycle and place various products and services into each stage.
Remember when one of the joys of being a kid was getting a box delivered to you that was filled with surprises? Even when the box contained books?! I remember it and the pleasure that reading brought (and still brings) to my life. When kids read, new worlds open up to them. And, building a love of reading early can lead to a life-time love of reading and learning.
In a new service geared to young readers, Amazon is starting a new service to send a monthly box of books to kids based on their ages and interests. The Prime Book Box service uses the tag line “The Love of Reading, Delivered” and delivers a curated box of books every one, two, or three months. The service is priced at $22.99 per box, an estimated 35% discount from the cumulative list prices.
Books can be selected for various age groups: Baby to two year olds, three to five year olds, six to eight year olds, and nine to 12 year olds. Each box contains either two hardcover books or four board books. The selection may include classic books as well as new books selected by the editors, and customers have options to swap out books and substitute from a selected alternative list. The service also takes into account a customer’s purchase history in order to avoid sending a book that you had previously purchased on Amazon.
Reading and getting surprises in the mail – it makes kids happy!
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
Discuss the power of reading for kids.
Poll students: What do they remember about getting books as a kid? What were some of their favorite books?
Pricing is usually a complex topic. Discuss the six steps for pricing (determining objectives, estimating demand, determining cost/profit relationships, select price level, set list price, and make adjustments).
Discuss the various pricing models in class: demand-oriented, cost-oriented, profit-oriented, and competition-oriented.
Which strategy is Amazon using for the new service?