Derek Sivers, founder of CDBaby and Hostbaby, was a musician before he started those successful companies. He has been writing amazing articles on his blog for years. Last week, he wrote about the way he set prices for one of his gigs.
One time a college far away in Ohio, about a 12-hour drive, asked what I would charge to do a two-hour show.
I said, “$1500”.
She said, “Oh, that’s a bit too much. What would you charge to do just a one-hour show?”
I said, “$2000”.
Sivers wanted to demonstrate what he valued: “What you’re paying me for is to get there! Once I’m there, playing music is the fun part! If you tell me I have to get back in the van after only an hour, and drive home, then I’m going to charge you more than if you let me play for a couple hours first.”
I tend to advocate for fact-based
Alex Lee, longtime president of OXO, the maker of well-designed cooking tools and housewares, told the story of how they created their iconic liquid measuring cup.
No one had ever seriously complained about measuring cups. Some people thought that glass ones are too heavy and that they tend to break, but that was really it. OXO started to study how consumers use measuring cups and noticed one striking commonality that was more impactful. It’s something you’ve probably done yourself at some point.
Photo source: http://www.cas.muohio.edu/scienceforohio/Jello/L.html
Do you see it? Using a traditional liquid measuring cup, you need to lean over to read the measurement. It’s annoying, But we thought it was normal. Well, we did think it was normal until OXO designed a better way: a measuring cup you can read from the top, with no leaning over required.
I’m honored to be presenting at Natural Products Consulting’s seminar, Becoming a More Effective Sales Manager in the Natural and Specialty Channel. My presentation, on Day 2, will cover strategic pricing and how to conduct simple research on your own (or with a little help, if you want it).
The seminar is led by Bob Burke of Natural Products Consulting and John Maggiore of Maggiore Sales & Marketing. Other presenters include:
- Kirsten Hogan and Wendy Savoi, UNFI Next
- James Curley, JFC Market Management
- Tim Sperry, Former Director of Grocery for Whole Foods
- John Raiche, VP Marketing and Supplier Relations, UNFI
- Rob Mortensen, REM, Ltd.
- Betsy McGinn, McGinn e-commerce Consulting
- Scott Miller, Direct to Consumer expert
- Ed Rowland, Rowland Global, LLC, Chain Drug channel expert
- Kim Greenfeld, on Private Label opportunities
It is an amazing cast of industry experts, and I’m thrilled to be included in their ranks.
- Sales Planning & Budgeting
- Pricing & Margins
- Working Effectively With
Just after Amazon closed on its Whole Foods purchase in August, a Bloomberg headline read, “Amazon cuts Whole Foods prices as much as 43% on first day.”
I saw this headline shared widely among my colleagues, and I felt it was misleading.
It implies huge price cuts across the store (which there weren’t) and across the chain (which weren’t verified). Rotisserie chickens at my local Boston-area Whole Foods are sometimes priced at $4.99, compared to this sale price of $9.99. It also ignores the probability that more pervasive, more realistic price cuts aren’t too far from becoming reality.
When supermarket ownership changes hands, cutting prices on highly visible items in highly visible locations is a common tactic. The Bloomberg article reports on a single store: the Whole Foods in Manhattan’s Columbus Circle, where my brother has seen Larry King shopping. That store is hardly representative of the entire chain or of America as a whole. But the price cuts bolster the idea
In 2013, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post. (Granted, he bought it personally instead of via Amazon, but it’s still relevant to the Amazon/Whole Foods story.) At the time, the paper was facing a steady decline and staff layoffs, as most newspapers were, and its online presence was stagnant. Bezos got involved with the business side and its technology—no surprise there—and he didn’t interfere with editorial direction.
Nieman Lab has a transcript from an interview with a Post staffer who talked about the bots they now use to help run the business, deliver news, provide information for stories, and even automate the writing of basic stories. The content management system they built works so well that other news outlets license it from them. And there’s an energy in the Post’s reporting that I haven’t seen in a long time. This is cool stuff.
Bezos: “Alexa, buy me something from Whole Foods”
Alexa: “Buying Whole Foods”
— Jeff Lewis (@ChicagoPhotoSho) June 16, 2017
It has been easy to make jokes about Amazon buying Whole Foods, as announced this week. There have been some easy targets. But it has been my pleasure to read the creative thoughts for improving the grocery experience for millions of consumers. No doubt Amazon can make strides.
And there’s no time I can remember where the grocery industry has received so much attention in the media. It’s exciting. And there’s going to be more exciting developments to come.
Amazon will remake Whole Foods’ technology and supply chain. As a result, there will be major impacts for those who deal with Whole Foods. And Whole Foods will teach Amazon a few things, too. I’ll write more about the implications soon.
Some people believe all Universal Product Codes (UPCs) contain the number 666, representing the number of the beast or the anti-Christ.
Snopes cites the relevant Bible verse: “No one could buy or sell unless he had this mark, that is, the beast’s name or the number that stands for his name” (Revelation 13:17-18).
In a story on UPCs and this theory, The New Republic quotes from Revelation, which discusses the End Times:
“He forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark in his right hand or in his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name.” What is that number? “Let he that has wisdom count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666.”
As interesting as this sounds, it stems from a
The food industry boasts many little-known facts. One of my favorites concerns baby carrots.
Fact: The baby carrots most of us eat aren’t really “baby carrots.” Gasp!
They are adult carrots, cut into two-inch pieces and polished into appealing snacks. And more accurately, the baby carrots we think of are actually baby-cut carrots.
California farmer Mike Yurosek was unhappy at having to discard ugly carrots that his customers wouldn’t accept. He started cutting them using an industrial green bean cutter after which he placed them in a potato peeler for peeling and polishing. Yurosek’s Bunny-Luv carrots first hit the market in 1986 and set off a 33 percent increase in American carrot consumption.
(Visit the World Carrot Museum website for my source material and learn way more than you ever thought you wanted to know about carrots.)
The scraps left over from baby carrot processing first led to an increased supply of carrots for juicing, but processing has become more efficient, leading to less waste. As processing grew increasingly efficient, baby carrot production actually allowed processors to enjoy a higher yield than they’d had from traditional
About Scott Sanders
Scott Sanders is a client partner at Revenue Architects working with food & CPG clients on strategic topics including price, promotion, assortment, branding, and more. More about Scott »