A long weekend gave me a chance to do some retail therapy, and while exploring some wonderful local retail experiences, something made me think. How important is a price tag or label as a marketing tool? Well unfortunately, it seems they aren’t very important at all. I rarely saw a branded tag, many were hand written on a plain sticker or label, or generated out of one of those standard price-tag machines. The majority were far from impressive.

To a retailer, price tags or product labels probably seem inconsequential. They exist to communicate a price only and usually are ripped off as soon as the customer leaves the store. Why waste money on them? There are two assumptions in that sentence, which I will happily dispute.

1. Why should a price tag exist to communicate price only? Why can’t it be another branding tool? Why can’t it reinforce a marketing message, or a core company differential? Why can’t it be special? It’s a very large part of a total retail experience. It can be much more than just a place to print the price.

2. Why make it easy for your price tag to be removed? I know many a shopper, myself included, who will leave a price tag on an item until they use it. It’s probably driven somewhat by laziness, but I think there’s a deeper reason. I think people want to be reassured by their purchase. ‘It’s a quality brand, from a quality store, and who cares what I paid’. Remove the tag, and you easily forget all that. I also know shoppers who will keep tags, protectively stating: ‘It’s too nice to throw out!’

I’ve seen retailers put mini catalogues, announcements of new ranges, marketing messages, promotions, vouchers, and more on tags. I’ve seen unique scents, scratch panel technology, tear off sections and free giveaways (like the wax combs you get with a pair of boardies or a free keyring). I’ve also seen a variety of materials – fabric, chunky recycled paper, plastic, stickers – again, there are so many options.

There is nothing to restrict you when it comes to labels. We can create labels that you can over-print through your printer, or design templates that you can print and use as you need. Or if handwritten labels are a part of your offering and differential, create a certain style or standard and keep to it. You’ll have more luck asking someone to spend $100 with a gold fine-tip pen rather than a big black texta.

That’s really the core of this blog. Consider what you’re asking people to spend, and every possible thing you can do to convince them to spend it.

Price tags can be inconsequential, or really powerful. The choice is yours.