Why Small Businesses Need To Beware of Loss Leader Pricing Tactics (& How To Do It The Right Way)



  • A chance of lost profit
  • Savvy shoppers/bargain hunters won’t bite
  • Customers become conditioned for cheaper rates


Increases Customer Traffic

A list price, specifically a good deal on a worthwhile product, will drive customers to your shop– whether it’s physical or online. The large volume of customers is why the technique works; people flock to the loss leader product.

Develops Customer Loyalty

If your loss leader method includes bringing customers back for subsequent and various products (think video games with gaming devices or more books in a series), this is a great chance to build brand commitment. Loss leaders encourage customers to come back particularly to your shop for the products they need/want.

Provides A Price Advantage Over Competition

Since it is seen as anti-competitive, one of the factors loss leading is banned in Europe and some states in the United States is. It’s true: if you have the resources to take a loss on an item that your rival may not be able to rate at a loss, you have a benefit over the competition. Fortune prefers the strong, however it likewise favors those who are already fortunate. Big stores like Amazon and Walmart provide loss leaders without risk and in those cases, loss leading is used to get rid of competitors.

Purges Inventory

Possibly you have an excess number of items in your inventory and you are wanting to move them fast? Rates them at a loss and then bundling them with other products is an excellent way to use the loss leader technique.


Has The Potential To Lose Money

However, there are downsides, too. You have the potential to lose money if your marketing doesn’t work. If you can’t assure earnings or sales of other items, taking a substantial loss on any product in your stock might be bad for the bottom-line.

Savvy Shoppers & & Bargain Hunters Won’t Bite (Watch Out For Stockpilers, Too!)

Clients are getting savvier and they can acknowledge market techniques a mile away. If you have a bunch of savvy shoppers and deal hunters who won’t bite on other items and just purchase your loss leader, you might encounter a problem with earning a profit. Beware of stockpilers: these are the deal hunters who come en masse to purchase you out of loss leaders. These buyers exist (ever seen the program Extreme Couponers!.?.!?) and they do injure your revenue margin.

Customers Might Become Conditioned For Cheaper Prices

Another downside is the possibility to condition your consumers to expect loss leader rates all the time. Once the cost returns to typical, consumers will not be incentivized to continue shopping if there isn’t a deal available.

The Ethics & Legality Of Using Loss Leader Strategies

But is loss leading legal? Predatory prices is unlawful, so where is the line between a loss leader marketing technique and a predatory prices strategy?

In general, it comes down to a company’s size. If a business is able to continually damage and take a loss on an item, eliminating competition, the practice is unethical and may be illegal depending upon where you live. The guidelines were made to safeguard small companies from larger organisations and box shops that take advantage of loss leading and can pay for to take a loss. However, a loss leader strategy utilized by a small company for a momentary sale or cost promo is not predatory by nature, and chances are it is perfectly appropriate. It’s constantly crucial to check with a legal representative from your own state to check the laws in your location.

(The EU and Australia do have broad bans on predatory prices and loss leaders, so if you do company in these nations, please double-check that your prices is within ethical and legal requirements.)

3 Tips For Using Loss Leader Pricing The Smart Way

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Don’t do anything illegal, dubious, or unethical. If your marketing method is foundationally about hurting another company or fooling consumers, we can just hope you steer back into ethical area; at Merchant Maverick, we’re in business of helping all companies! Does that mean the loss leader strategy is out totally? No. So, how can you use a loss leader in a wise method?

Here are 3 pointers to help you with potential loss leader strategies.

Pointer # 1: Know Your Profit Margins

Cost your loss leader and the other items in your shop with an ideal balance. Know your margins and have a particular sales objective in mind. A loss leader sale can fail on several fronts, but if you do not price your items appropriately, you have a higher opportunity of losing cash to smart consumers and stockpilers. A loss leader is a marketing method and marketing strategy; it is not intended to be utilized full-time on a particular item. (As that would drive the item’s worth down permanently.)

Suggestion # 2: Choose Impulse Items With High Margins & & Display Them Strategically

What can you offer around the loss leader as impulse purchases? Easy. If they’re around a sale on milk, costly cereals and elegant milk-drinking bendy straws can end up being temptations. Marked down razors are great if there are exceptional shaving creams and extra blades within grasp. A loss leader that works without a connection to your other products could lead to a loss in profit. What will your loss leader motivate others to purchase more of? Location those things within reach.

Idea # 3: Market Items Correctly

Promote your momentary rates, send newsletters and social networks blasts. Motivate others to share! Your loss leading marketing strategy requires bodies, so don’t simply wait and set the price for wonderful sales. Discover methods to promote your rate and don’t forget to develop smart displays at the point of purchase. Encourage and push consumers to the products with greater margins that opt for your loss leader; you need to assist them make the connection that considering that they are minimizing this one item, they can pay for to purchase these 3 other items, too.

Should You Try Loss Leader Strategies?

If loss leading is problematic or unlawful where you live, it is best to avoid. However, loss leader techniques do have the chance to work for some items and for some companies. With all marketing techniques, often you will need to explore and tinker, run numbers and evaluate value. If you do not have an appropriate product that combines well with goods with greater profit margins, this technique may not be an excellent bet. If you offer something that necessitates repeat sales (a membership service, books in a series, consumables), loss leading could offer you and your company a nice marketing increase.

The Definition Of A Loss Leader

What is a loss leader? The loss leader market technique is ubiquitous and time-honored, and as soon as you know what it looks like, you will see proof of loss leaders all over. When an organisation costs a popular or flagship product listed below its worth and subsequently encourage sales of higher-valued items, this is loss leading. In order for the method to work, purchasers should spend enough somewhere else on a various product to offset the loss of revenue. Loss leading is about drawing in consumers to your store with an inexpensive item and attracting them to purchase extra items once they are there.

For example, we see loss leading strategies in supermarkets where milk is put at a discount rate in the back of the shop. Throughout the course of the walk to the milk, strategists hope consumers will choose up more expensive items: cereal, cookies, freshly-baked pastries. In the publishing world, book among a series may be sold at a loss with the hope that readers will be hooked and review the series. Game consoles are another item that utilizes a loss leader methods to encourage sales. The video game consoles themselves are frequently cost a loss since earnings is made from the sale of specific games and gaming accessories.

Pros & & Cons Of Using Loss Leader Pricing

Is this technique right for your business? Here are the advantages and downsides of loss leaders:


  • Increases client traffic
  • Constructs client loyalty
  • Provides a price benefit over the competition
  • Can purge stock
  • Promotes other sales

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