How to Fight a Price War (HBR OnPoint Enhanced Edition)

How to Fight a Price War (HBR OnPoint Enhanced Edition)

Publication Date: September 01, 2000

This is an enhanced edition of HBR article R00208, originally published in March/April 2000. HBR OnPoint articles save you time by enhancing an original Harvard Business Review article with an overview that draws out the main points and an annotated bibliography that points you to related resources. This enables you to scan, absorb, and share the managet ins with others.Price wars are a fact of life, whether we’re talking about the fast-paced world of knowl products, the marketing of Internet appliances, or the staid, traditional sales of aluminum castings. If you’re a manager and you’re not in battle currently, you probably will be soon, so it’s never too early to prepare. The authors describe the causes and characteristics of price wars and explain how companies can fight them, flee them–or even start them. The authors say the best defense in a pricing battle isn’t to simply match price cut for price cut; they emphasize other options for protecting market share. For instance, companies can compete on quality instead of price; they can alert to the risks and negative consequences of choosing a low-priced option. Companies can reveal their strategic intentions and capabilities; just the threat of a major price action hold rivals’ pricing moves in check. And, finally, companies can seek support from interested third parties–governts, , and vendors, for instance–to help avert a price war. If a company chooses to compete on price, the authors suggest using complex pricing actions, cutting prices in certain channels, or introducing new products or flanking brands–each of which lets companies selectively target only those segts of the market that are under competitive threat. A simple tit-for-tat price move should be the last resort–and managers should act swiftly and decisively so competitors will know that any revenue gains will be short-lived.

Pages: 14

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How to Fight a Price War (HBR OnPoint Enhanced Edition)


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