We have designed our product pricing model in the same way as our product template build process. Simple and manual.
Lets recap: The product template build process is like this – you upload a PDF, then you add objects, then you modify and style those objects. and test it as an end user – job done. No Acrobat plugins required. No browser plugins. No Quark or Photoshop or Illustrator required. All of this means that while the job might take longer without using some fancy add on, it benefits from being lower tech as it’s simpler and less prone to failure or complication. The trade off is worth it, because in fact its still super fast to create templates.
Less is more.
The product pricing mechanism is not quite so clear cut. There are two ways to do it:
1. By creating a vast and complex matrix. You pump in tonnes of data such as how many machines you have, what cost they are per hour, how many hours a day they work, who is working on them and how much do they cost and how long is the week, then more data about paper prices and ink prices, and warehouse handling costs and forklifts and packaging and round and round we go until you end up with an MIS system which tells you exactly how much it costs you to produce a box of customised pencils, onto which you can add your profit margin, depending on the time of year, how you feel and who the client is. Amazing tool really, but horrible to build and maintain. Its the holy grail.
2. The only alternative, which is what we have built is this: each product has a seperate pricing setup. You name the pricing parameters such as quantity, pencil type, and colour. So you have 3 parameters. If there are 5 quantities, 10 pencil types and 4 colours, you end up with 5x10x4 which is 200 different prices. You have to then input 200 different prices. In addition to the general parameters of the product, which are so far 3, you can also add options, which we call additional options, such as one of price additions or % increases. For example you can have an additional option called ‘Christmas Wrapped’ and for this little extra service you can charge a flat rate of $45 or impose a 30% tariff on the product price.
All of this adds up to a very simple and powerful mechanism which can work in lots of ways and produce a wide range of effects. You can design your whole product catalogue around this feature.
There are downsides, such as when the cost of paper goes up or down, you might imagine editing 10,000 potential prices across a whole client portfolio. We know about these downsides, but we believe the cost of them, is outweighed by the benefits. And we have ways of mitigating the costs, for example by creating a feature which allows you to change prices across the board based on a search query (everywhere you find a parameter H4 Pencil, increase price by 1.03%). And we believe at this stage that any intelligent person will be able to see the danger and know to keep things simple.
Cost Bad. Benefit Good. Simple Simple Simple.