The one about the £217 bar of chocolate (+ free shipping)

What’s the price of a bar of chocolate? 50p, £1.00? Not a box… but a bar.

And the price of a good bottle of wine? £10 from the local store? £25 at your favourite restaurant?

Price expectations are already set before you introduce a product to your customer. For products they’re already accustomed to buying, a price framing has taken place. The cheap. The average. The special.

Let’s look at the price of chocolate again.

  • Cheap = Quick grab at a petrol station stop
  • Average = An accompanying treat for a Thursday’s movie night
  • Special = The Valentine’s Day appreciation

When your brand decides to introduce a high-value item your marketing head will tell you to dismiss the competition. To highlight the issues your customer will face taking the cheap option. It’s logical framing. Present the positive benefits and dismiss the alternative.

You do have a second option.

Is your new product is priced considerably higher (ultra-premium) than the alternative? Then frame it based on the extremes of other marketplaces your customer will understand.

This is what To’ak Chocolate have done. They make chocolate with a price tag of £217.00. At first glance your jaw drops. Wow. But then intrigue may kick in. ‘What goes into the making of a £217.00 bar of chocolate??!‘. Curiosity evoked, you may stick around to find out. You may even share your findings.

To’ak Chocolate use context to frame their price point within their own mission statement:

To’ak’s mission is to transform the way that the world experiences dark chocolate, elevating its making and tasting onto the level of vintage wine and aged whisky.

ToakChocolate – Our Story

The key word is ‘elevating’. Defining and creating value. Not the value you’d associate with a £1 or £10 bar of chocolate (where expectations may already be) but the value of a vintage wine or aged whisky. A price point that we know already exists (I’ve heard the Chateau Latour at £5120/case is a steal).

That elevation is the task of you, the marketer. Standard product-differentiation will allow to talk about new materials, colours, editions or features. Marketing-led differentiation impacts upon buyer psychology. To evoke an emotive response. To make that £217.00 price tag no longer seem quite so extreme.

If we’re prepared to spend £500 on a fine bottle of red, would £217.00 seem so crazy on a bar of chocolate with such a fascinating story attached?

As marketers we may fear too much price-associated talk. Whatever you make, there’s a justification of the price tag to your customer that you need to create, directly or subtly. That’s your job in marketing. That’s framing.

We’ve all come across (and sometimes used…) the daily price point comparisons – eg. for the price of just one coffee per day… that’s an overused tactic. Bring your pricing into true, recognisable context more associated to your product.

To tell your product story in a premium marketplace you need to overcome price expectation. Allow your customer to consider where they may already be spending their money outside of your marketplace. That create’s a great context to then begin the storytelling process.

Written By:

Ian Rhodes


Founder of Ecommerce Growth Co. 25 years in and I have no playbook for you on how to build and grow a successful ecommerce brand. I do, however, share the foundations you can build upon... get 30 lessons on building your Customer Insight OS below...

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