We all know, through experince, that the price of a product has little or no relevance to the efficiency of the product. Sometimes Lakme's simple lotions do the job better than Forest Essential's pricy lotions.
Image by roberto_berna via FlickrSo exactly as a consumer do you pay for? Just the cream? No.. Most of you are knowledgeble enough & will know that we also pay for branding & packaging. But that is not all.
Digging into my learnings during my MBA here is a list of some of the common things you pay for:
1. The Marketing, Advertising & Branding: Like the fancy sounding name? You better, coz you have paid in part the fees to the professional who came up with it. The hoarding, the adverstisement, the models, the branding, the website - you have paid for all of it. & these things contribute quite a bit to the final cost. After all if the company didn't bombard you with front page ads, would you be influenced to buy it?
2. The Supply Chain Cost: Yup, you have paid for the distribution, the logistics, the storage. All that which has enabled the product to reach a store next to you.
3. Breakage Cost: During all this transportation, there are some fragile bottles & tubes that get damaged. These cannot be sold then. Who then makes up for the cost? You do. You pay either directly or for the insurance premium on these consignments.
4. Stolen/Misplaced goods: Transporting goods across the length & breadth of our country can be a herculian task. Sometimes consignments get stolen, or misplaced.
5. Research Costs: The study that the company did to prove its efficacy to you, you sponsored it.
6. Product Cost: And yes of course you pay for the actual product, & its exotic angel dust ingredients. You also pay for the various dud products that the cosmetic chemist came up with before this break-through product was created.
7. Packaging cost: the designer who created the cute-as-a-button packaging to the colors & the actual cost of packaging. All accounted for by you.
This is not to say that the company is wrong in charging you for all of this. After all, if it were not advertised, distributed to your local store, tested for efficacy & packaged correctly, you would have never managed to lay hands on it. Plus you want the product to be researched for any potential side-effects so it is not you who erupts into boils like a guinea pig.
The only way to avoid these costs is to create your own products, which while being cost-effective may not be as good or safe from a microbiological point of view.
The solution to this is to become a little more demanding as a consumer, as well as more aware. Don't buy products that seem to invest heavily in branding, but not in the reaseach & product. After all your skin benefits from the product & not the strength of the brand name.
Don't like the packaging? Make your voice heard on online review forums. Think the product stinks? Let other consumers know. As consumers we need to let the companies know that they cannot just feed us tall stories.
Read about the ingredient list, become an educated consumer. Identify the active ingredient (generally the first 5 on the list) and look for cheaper or better formulated products. Only then will you get the bang for your buck. Or should I say the pink for your blush.