How to Make High-Priced Products Accessible to Working-Class Families
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There are times when products are inherently expensive. Homes are a classic example. So are vehicles. In those cases, the constant human needs for shelter and transportation have created natural solutions in the form of mortgages and auto loans.
But what about companies outside of staple product niches? Here are three examples of how companies with high-priced products designed for larger consumer markets can make them accessible to working-class families.
Leasing expensive equipment to customers
Leasing is a classic business model. It involves renting an asset under a contractual agreement at a certain price for a set amount of time.
When leasing comes up, it's usually referencing major assets such as a house or car. However, it's completely possible to lease a wide variety of additional products.
Related: 5 Major Leasing Deal Points to Know Before Signing a Lease
One example of this is solar panels. NerdWallet reports that the average solar panel installation can cost as much as $35,000. The renewable source of energy can save money over time, but its barrier to entry is inhibitive and has made solar power inaccessible to lower-income homeowners for over a decade.
Some companies aim to combat this by leasing solar panel systems to homeowners. The end result is lower energy bills that ideally cover both the leased equipment and reduce the original cost of energy for the home.
This approach to solar panel installation saves consumers tens of thousands of dollars in up-front fees. This makes it possible for homeowners to tap into the long-term savings of solar power without breaking the bank in the process. The same model is easy to reproduce for any brand that has a solid product and enough capital or investors to front the cash for equipment.
Related: How to Invest In Real Estate Amid High Interest Rates and Inflation
Offering interest-free payments
Interest is a major detracting factor that makes larger purchases unappealing. For example, if an individual purchases a car in New York and takes out a five-year $25,000 auto loan at 5% interest, they'll end up paying over $2,600 more in interest.
Broken down over 60 months, this is nearly $45 per month in interest alone. To a working-class family, this is a legitimate cost that they must factor into their financial plans.
Savvy companies that sell big-ticket items have caught onto the toll that interest payments take on their customers. Some have opted to offer interest-free payments as an alternative.
Home Depot, for instance, regularly offers its customers coupons for 12-month and even 24-month interest-free financing. The Home Depot credit card also provides a round-the-clock six-month interest-free financing option. That means a customer can hold a balance with the company for that entire period (whether it's six, 12 or 24 months). As long as they pay off the total before the payment period ends, they won't pay a penny in interest.
This model assumes a certain degree of risk on the part of the company. However, when managed well, the interest-free financing model more than makes up for the risks in the amount of larger purchases it encourages from those customers with limited up-front funding.
Breaking things into smaller bundles and á la carte pricing
Sometimes, a grouped product selection can push something out of reach of working-class family budgets. When this is the case, splitting a product up into multiple components can help reduce the financial barrier to entry.
The exorbitant cost of cable television is a good example of this issue. Cable provider Spectrum has found a solution to the problem of its excessively priced full television packages by offering its Spectrum TV Choice bundle.
This allows users to choose from a variety of channels to fill up a smaller quota of total channels. They can change their selection once a month, making the arrangement sustainable and accessible.
Not all products come in individual pieces. Whenever that is the case, though, companies should consider innovative ways to repackage the individual components to make them accessible to customers without losing their collective value.
Related: How Businesses Can Empower Consumers to Make Sustainable Choices
Making high-priced products accessible to everyday consumers
The middle class in America is able to make larger purchases. But they cannot do so with the same laissez-faire attitude as those with ample wealth and disposable income.
Companies that want to market higher-priced products to middle-class consumers must be willing to find unique and innovative ways to help them make a purchase. From leasing and financing options to á la carte and “buffet style” offerings, consider how you can make your brand's big-ticket items accessible to your target audience.