In many African nations, illiteracy is so common that food packaging doesn’t wast much space on fancy labels or brand names and instead focuses on having a nice picture of what’s inside so that people know what they’re buying. No wonder, then, that Nestlé had trouble selling its Gerber brand of baby foods in Africa. Perception is an important factor in the average consumer’s buying decision.
Basic perception tells us that there is a direct correlation between cost and quality. Cheap items are cheaply built and made of cheap materials, and thus don’t last or don’t work. This basic tenet of consumer wisdom has unfortunately misled us. Many products have actually failed to sell well until the price was raised to the point that buyers felt it was going to be of high enough quality to be worth buying. Deartháir filled me in the other day on his experience in electronics sales where the best TV’s in the store actually sold the fewest units – not because they were too expensive, but because they weren’t expensive enough. As the lowest priced TV’s in the store, most customers dismissed them as inferior and not worth considering.
With so many gadgets and electronics these days being re-branded items built by a few manufacturers, does quality truly correspond to expense, or are we just wasting our money?
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