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Marketing of High-Technology Products and Innovations Chapter 9: Pricing Considerations in High-Tech Markets
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Chapter Overview The High-Tech Pricing Environment The Three C’s of Pricing Customer-Oriented Pricing Pricing of After-Sales Service The Technology Paradox The Effect of the Internet on Pricing Decisions Additional Pricing Considerations Internet Auction Pricing
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Pricing dynamics of AOL AOL ISP pricing dynamics Dec. 1996May 2001March 2002 Dec. 2002Feb Switch the rate of per- hour usage to the monthly flat rate $ day trial period MSN $21.95 Merge Time- Warner Bundle free ISP software & service to PC manufacturers for a trial period United Online Low-end dial- up ISP at $9.95 Verizon High- end broadband ISP at $29.95 Low-cost Netscape brand dial-up ISP $9.95 Bundle unlimited access to Internet content for existing user at additional $14.95 Unlimited Broad band Access at $54.95
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 The Three Cs of Pricing
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 The High-Tech Pricing Environment Need to re-coup R&D investments in light of: Rapid pace of change Short, volatile product life cycles Pressure on Price/Performance Ratios: Moore’s law Network externalities Unit-one costs Market share matters High fixed/sunk R&D cost, low marginal cost Technology cannibalizes & obsoletes soon Compete fiercely
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 The High-Tech Pricing Environment (Cont.) Customer perceptions of cost/benefit Anxiety Upgrade considerations Competition The Internet Backward compatibility, derivatives Search & Comparison Family image and incentive alignment Price war Lock-in or lock-out
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Customer Perceptions of Benefits/Costs Benefits: Functional Operational Financial Personal Costs: Monetary Non-monetary
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Additional Customer Considerations Total Cost of Ownership Price paid Costs of financing, installation, service, operating costs, supplies, repair over the life of the equipment Implication Show total cost of ownership lower than competitor’s, despite higher initial outlay The value proposition of Linux Microsoft System Management Server 2003
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Customer-Oriented Pricing How will the customer use the product? What are the benefits the customer will receive from using the product? Calculate customer costs and understand customer’s trade-off between costs and benefits What is the most sensitively improved p/p ratio?
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Implications of Customer- Oriented Pricing Pricing decisions are part of product design decisions, should be made early Tradeoff analysis and target costing are useful tools Different segments value the product differently Therefore, different customers yield differential profitability Firms should track profitability of different customer accounts Price elasticity Affordability and incentive alignment Upper-bound cost
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Follow Up on Customer Profitability The Good Monitor profitable customers and provide regular customer service to prevent defection The Bad Charge higher prices to customers who spend a lot but are expensive to serve The Ugly Don’t target customers who don’t spend and are expensive to serve
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Pricing of After-Sales Service Price services based on segmentation “Basic needs” want standard service with basic inspections and periodic maintenance “Risk avoiders” want to avoid big bills but don’t care about response time “Hand-holders” need high level of service and are willing to pay
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 IBM e-Business On Demand On demand IT service is responsive, resilient, variable, and focused to clients. Flexibility for utility pricing strategy Make sure IT and services standardized but scalable as well as “ virtually ” dedicated Decomposition of IT service cost structure Two-part tariff pricing scheme Activity-based costing program Focused IT services evolved & optimized along the client’s business transformation
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Technology Paradox Rapid pace of price declines At the extreme, technology is “free” and companies literally give product away How can businesses thrive when their prices are falling? Requires exponential growth of market to be faster than the exponential decline of prices Requires new skills to confront the profit erosion caused by price falling The success of penetration pricing ignites the rapid growth of market share and network externality.
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Possible Solutions to the Technology Paradox Keep costs falling faster than prices Innovate, don’t get stuck making commodities Agility and speed Find new uses for the product Develop long-term relationships with customers Offshore outsourcing Expand the coverage Differentiation Sense & response After-sale service & loyalty management
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Developing Long-term Relationships with Customers Establish a market-hold to grab “mind share” (reputation, experience & attention) Establish an installed customer base to sell additional products and services Captive product pricing (charging from the complementary goods such as the video games to PS2, the ink/carbon boxes to the printer, the mobile services to the subsidized cellular phone) Offer complete solution (“end-to-end”; whole product) By all means at all times
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Drawbacks to Low-Price Strategies Devalues brand equity/perceived value Antitrust considerations May be considered predatory especially in the presence of network externalities Large firms scrutinized more carefully because of their greater market power. From free to fee It is a necessary task to return to the fundamentals of economic law even though it’s difficult for customers got used to something being free to pay later on.
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Effect of Internet on Pricing Cost Transparency Solutions: Pricing lining/versioning ( differentiated derivatives) Price bundling (functional complements, psychological promotion, quantity discounts) Innovation (additional function/utility) Dynamic pricing (self-selection mechanism) Prices near to MC
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Additional Pricing Considerations Outright Sale of Knowledge vs. Licensing With high levels of technological uncertainty, easier to valuate know-how in the short-term Leads to more licensing rather than outright sale Licensing restrictions Single vs. Multiple Users Apple iTunes licenses users to play the downloaded digital music on only three authorized computers at any time.
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Additional Pricing Considerations (Cont’d.) Pay-Per-Use vs. Subscription Pricing Network externalities favor subscription pricing Generate more users to increase the value of the network ADSL monthly subscription fee Technological uncertainty favors subscription pricing Risk averse customers prefer flat rates to avoid uncertainty
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Price Bundling Pure price bundling Components not available separately (complements) Value from synergistic use of components Mixed price bundling Bundle and separate components available Value from discount over sum of component prices Promotion purpose
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 What is an auction? An auction is a market institution with an explicit set of rules determining resource allocation and prices on the basis of bids from the market participants, including both seller of offering and buyer of bidding. The word “auction” is derived from the Latin augere, which means “to increase.”
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 The purpose of auction Why are auctions used rather than other selling approaches such as the fixed/menu price? Heterogeneous value—the price, that is the willingness-to-pay, depends on the demand and supply conditions at a specific moment of time, and a specific spot of place Resolution of information asymmetry—promote many competitors to reveal truth
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Some auctioning mechanisms English auction Dutch auction Reverse auction First-price sealed-bid auction Second-price sealed-bid auction Multi-unit auction Yankee auction Double auction met de borden—arbitrational auction
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 English- vs. Dutch auction Repeated, multi-staged, competitive games English auction—an ascending-bid auction that is usually used for selling goods through raising and posting price openly. E.g., antiques and artwork Dutch auction—a descending-bid auction that starts by the auctioneer’s initial high price and then lowers the price until one bidder accepts the current price. E.g., flowers in Netherlands, fish in Island, tobacco in Canada
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 English Auction options Initiate price Does the $1 bidding game extract more benefit? Reserved price—the seller’s bottom line Is it proper to reserve the draw-back right at the end of game? Buy-out price—in other words, an open reserved price The effect of forestall? Markup range % of initiate price or arbitrary setting History-tracing—the whole historical log or the latest? Snipping agents The influence of automatic price snipping?
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Reverse auction A repeated descending-bid auction is launched by the buyer to invite the sellers’ participation. E.g., Priceline.com, The lower bidding price competed by the sellers, the better buyers’ utility cf., Dutch auction the lower auctioning price announced by the seller, the inferior sellers’ benefit
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 First-price vs. second-price sealed bidding One-shot game simultaneously First-price sealed-bid auction—the bidder is awarded the sold object in expense of submitting the highest price. (Dutch equivalence) (the winner’s curse) E.g., the government sells the land or the mineral right Second-price sealed-bid (or Vickrey) auction—the bidder is awarded the sold object by submitting the highest price but in expense of the submitted second-highest price. This approach was seldom used in practice even though it possessed a theoretical efficient property—much less incentive for bidders
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 The efficiency of Vickrey auction Price The bidding criteria: valuation ≥ bidding price A will win and always be charged less than his own valuation even though he had issued his maximum valuation price as long as his valuation is the highest among the competitors. A’s valuation B’s valuation C’s valuation A’s price B’s price C’s price
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 The failed design of auctions First-price sealed-bid auction Revealed prices under the bidders’ true valuation— bidding price=[(n-1)/n] ×valuation, n=# of participants more participants may close the gap Second-price sealed-bid auction (facilitated by some incentives) may cure the fallacy Dutch auction —the bidding price is usually less than the true valuation of bidder Partitioning the game of one price for total objects into discriminatory sale for smaller number units
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Multi-unit auctions A repeated auction mechanism for exchanging several identical goods is used to be conducted on the commodity market For a multi-unit auction, the necessary condition is the amount of bidders must be more than the auctioned objects The supply side 10-unit identical goods The demand side A, $100, 3 units B, $95, 4 units C, $92, 5 units D, $90, 3 units 3 3 4
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Different incentives of multi-unit auctions The individual bidding price vs. the last exchanged price The supply side 10-unit identical goods The demand side A, $100, 3 units B, $95, 4 units C, $92, 5 units D, $90, 3 units A, $100 X 3 B, $95 X 4 C, $92 X 3 or A, B, C, $ 92 X 10 Conservative & lower- valuation bidding behavior Truth revelation on individual bidding price
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Dutch multi-unit auction The supply side 10-unit identical goods The demand side $100, —, 10 units $99, —, 10 units $98, (A/5 units), 5 units $97, —, 5 units $96, (B/3 units), 2 units $95, (C/2 units), 0 units An descending-bid multi-unit auction that starts by the initial high price and then lowers the price until all products had been selected by the bidders’ prices. The agricultural commodity auction—immediate demand and short-duration goods
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Yankee auction A multi-criteria matching mechanism Prioritize the allocation by the quantity, the issued time, credit rating, or other signals Apply especially on the multi-unit auctions The supply side 10-unit identical goods The demand side A, $100, 3 units B, $95, 4 units C, $95, 5 units D, $90, 3 units 3 5 2
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Double auction (i) Several sellers and several buyers submit bids simultaneously, especially on the stock exchanges and commodity markets A sealed-bid matching process promotes transactions to occur only when the sellers’ prices less than the buyers’ prices. The sellers could not raise their own prices too high to match the buyers’ expectation, while the buyers would not post too low bidding prices to attract the sellers E.g., B2B Internet auction for industry materials
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Double auction (ii) The demand side A, $100, 20 units B, $90, 30 units C, $85, 40 units D, $80, 30 units The supply side a, $75, 30 units b, $80, 25 units c, $85, 20 units d, $90, 30 units The matched outcomes A-a, $87.5, 20 units B-a, $82.5, 10 units; B-b, $85, 20 units C-b, $82.5, 5 units; C-c, $85, 20 units
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Double auction (iii) If there are sufficiently many buyers and sellers, there would be no other trading mechanism the could increase some traders’ expected gains from trade without lowering the others’ expected gains down—an efficient state so called “ Pareto Optimality”
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 met de Borden auction Arbitrational auction Both sellers and buyers can be the auction initiators to issue the bidding to the arbitrator Announce the auction item (property and quantity) Selling auction—looking for the candidate buyer Buying auction—looking for the candidate seller Compromise the disperse prices between the seller’s and the buyer’s based on the general market price Open the arbitrated price and charge the arbitration commission even though the initiator had retreated the auction at the end Immediately timely auction
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Internet online auction Product category—primarily limited to standardized consumer products Computer h/w & accessories, computer s/w, consumer electronics, sporting goods, toys,… More than 5 products offered on a general auction site Business model—most focused on C2C(eBay) or B2C(uBid), less for B2B Special case—C2B, a reverse call for auction, e.g., Priceline.com & TravelBids
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Internet auctioning rules and webs Most adopted the English/straight type of auction for a specific single item, or Yankee type multi-unit auctions Few adopted the Dutch auction Intermodal Exchange for vessel container Klil-Klok for three-minute auction The most innovative & popular auction rule is reverse auction driven by the buyer A high potential business of mobile commerce Few adopted the double auction on B2B model (only for specialty trading) FastParts for electronics parts LabX for laboratory experimental equipments Dallas Gold for jewelry
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 Bidding agents The clients setup the maximum bidding amount to the agent without monitoring the auction activities, then the latter will continue to enter the lowest winning bid until the maximum bid is met. Cross-website swapping agents (but the infringement issue of copyright) E.g., BidFind.com, BidSmart.com, Bidder’sEdge.com, RU sure.com, etc
© Mohr, Sengupta, Slater 2005 The revenue flow of Internet auction site As an intermediary for aggregating information e.g., eBay on C2C, or FairMarket on B2B for computer electronics Insertion fee for listing an item Commission of final value fee—charged only when goods had been successfully sold As a seller for online retailing, e.g., uBid Quantity discount compensation Advertisement fee
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