'Sale' pricing... and why we don't use it.

Surf around looking for beds, and you can't fail to be dazzled by the generosity of bed sites.

Dozens of beds that were '£775' or '£825' have had their prices boldly slashed through and are now '335' or  '£425'.

This isn't unique to bed sites, of course.

You see it on just about every kind of e-commerce website.

"I know!" the site owners seem to be saying, "Let's make everything look as though it should really cost £800, but we're actually giving it away for less than half!"

But as we all know deep down, it's nonsense. 

Which is why we don't do it on our site. (We're pleased to see that John Lewis don't do it on theirs, either, except when they have a genuine sale on.)

What it costs to sell a bed

Let's think about it for a moment. Every bed retailer has the same set of costs to consider in setting the price to sell at.

  • How much does it cost them to make or buy in the bed (or the bed and the mattress)?
  • How much does it cost them to deliver the bed?
  • For each bed they sell, averaged out, how much does it cost them to run their business?
  • Lastly, once all those costs are covered, how much profit do they wish to make?

There's not much more to it than this. If you add up these four elements, you have the retail price of the bed.

Why it's nonsense to pretend you've slashed prices by 50%

If a retailer says the bed they're offering for £375 should really cost £800, they're claiming that they've cut the price by over 50%.

That can happen on a one-off, for a short time, in a genuine sale, of course. But it can't be like that every time you go on a site.

Margins on selling beds and mattresses are not huge, and if the price had really been set, fairly, at the higher price to begin with, the retailer would be voluntarily making a loss on every bespoke bed sold at the supposed 'sale' price.

A sale must be genuine

The rules on pricing items as being on 'Sale' in the UK were set out by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills in 2010.

If a site is advertising a sale it has three key things to look out for:

  • Before it can reduce prices in a sale, the items must have been sold at the higher price for 28 consecutive days via the same outlet, ie the site, immediately before the sale, unless the site clearly explains the terms of the offer.
  • Items shouldn't be on offer at the sale price for longer than they were sold at the higher price unless the site clearly explains how the sale differs from these rules.
  • The original price must be clearly displayed next to the sale price. It must say something like 'Was £500, Sale price £350'.

Furthermore, where products are sold through distance contracts (that's with no face-face contact between the trader and consumer, which is the case with all website sales), a retailer who sells at one price in its high street stores and another price online has to clearly explain the precise circumstances in which the original pricing being used as a comparison for the 'Sale' price was actually charged. 

What we think at Taurus

We don't think that permanent 'Sale' prices on websites are transparent.

Other retailers are free to behave as they wish, but we think this is done to manipulate you into feeling you're getting a bargain you are not, and that's not something we want to do.

So we've worked out the lowest possible real price at which we can sell each bed or other item to you. 

And that's the price we mark  the item at, with no pretence that it's usually twice as expensive.

You'll find, oddly enough, that our price is still very competitive with the 'Sale' prices being shown on other bed sites... and you'll know you're buying from people who've been straight with you.

Tags: beds, Sale prices, discount, Bargain