How to Fight a Price War? to Fight a Price War?

Price War

In the highly competitive world of business, companies are increasingly turning to pricing strategies to gain an edge over their rivals. Price wars, characterized by relentless price slashing, have become a common battleground in various industries. While the goal is often to attract customers with low prices, the consequences can be dire, leading to a steep decline in industry profits. This phenomenon is exemplified by the airline price wars of 1992, which resulted in record air travel but also record losses. This article delves into the damaging impact of price wars and examines two notable examples of such conflicts.

The Long-Distance Phone Price War

In the telecommunications sector, long-distance phone service providers engage in a relentless price war. This war is characterized by constant price reductions, per-second billing, and free call offers as competitors seek to outdo each other. The focus here is almost exclusively on price, with little attention paid to factors like service quality and brand equity. We explore the repercussions of this ongoing battle and its implications for the industry.

Financial Services and the Internet Revolution Strategies Beyond Price Cuts

The emergence of electronic brokers like E-Trade has transformed the landscape of financial services. These brokers offer remarkably low-priced brokerage services, causing a significant shift in the industry. Traditional players such as Charles Schwab are adapting by emphasizing quality, while others like Merrill Lynch and American Express are adjusting their pricing structures to include free online trades for high-end customers. This section examines how these companies navigate a more focused pricing battle compared to the long-distance phone market.

Amid the prevalence of price wars, it’s crucial for managers to consider alternative strategies to avoid or mitigate these conflicts. Price cuts may seem like the most straightforward response, but they can lead to destructive retaliatory moves. This section explores an array of tactics beyond price reductions that managers can employ when facing or contemplating a price war.

Diagnosing the Price War

The first step in addressing a potential price war is diagnosis. Understanding the underlying causes and motives of competitors is vital. This section illustrates the importance of intelligent analysis and accurate diagnosis in determining when and how to engage in a price war, when to withdraw, and when to explore alternative solutions.

Analyzing the Battleground

Effective diagnosis involves a comprehensive analysis of four key areas: customer issues, company issues, competitor issues, and contributor issues. These aspects collectively shape the dynamics of a price war. By delving into these areas, companies can identify various strategic options, including conflict resolution, multi-faceted battles, or strategic retreats. We delve into the significance of each of these analyses and how they inform decision-making during price wars.

Leave a Reply