How we price our products and why
Our pricing is all about our values!
Here are some of the things that drive our decisions about pricing products and shipping:
- Sustainability: We have to earn enough margin on our sales to cover our basic costs of doing business - from product costs to software costs to payroll to rent and utilities to coffee and toner and on, and on, and on. If we try too hard to "price down" in order compete with businesses much larger than us, we will not be able to stay in business and provide what we believe are much-needed information and consulting services. We feel we owe it to YOU to keep this business sustainable.
- Frugality without stinginess.
- Treating our vendors well: Most of our suppliers are small businesses too! Many of them are producing very important products - addressing needs no one else in the industry will invest in. We greatly value our vendors! And, for many of them, we're an important customer, not just by right of how much we buy from them to sell to you, but because of the way we educate dry eye patients about their products. But we don't want to abuse that role by attempting to negotiate unreasonably low pricing from them. We want, above all, for their businesses to be sustainable too. We want to encourage anyone investing in the practical things that improve our quality of life.
- Treating our staff well. We believe in paying a living wage. We believe in being responsible members of a community. We believe in employing and investing in individuals who may come to us marginally employable. We believe people matter much more than profits.
The information business: One of the greatest things we have to offer you is information and insight - about products, about dry eye, about scleral lenses. We invest a great deal of time and energy into pulling together the best, most current information. There's a dollar value to that time and it has to be factored into our product pricing or else we simply can't provide it. Anyone can sell products. But not everyone can wrap those products in information and services.
- Service: Speaking of! We're not here to sell commodities. We know you can buy many of our products elsewhere cheaper. And we know if you are cash-constrained, you MUST buy where you can afford. But we're here for service - both for those who purchase from us and for those who do not. Call on us at any time and we will do our best for you, no strings attached. That means that those of you who purchase from us, to some extent subsidize those who don't but who need our information and services. We are grateful to you all.
Are you price shopping?
If you are looking for rock bottom pricing, we cannot help you with that. We are a small business.
Pretty much by definition, small businesses cannot compete on price. We have no economies of scale to make that possible. Our value proposition to you includes everything except cheap:
- Consulting (always free): We are experts in all kinds of things no one else cares enough to bother learning. We want to share everything we know with you!
- Information. Online, we provide as much detail as we possibly can. In person - phone, email, chat, text - we fill in any gaps we possibly can. If we're missing anything tell us and we'll get it! Our goal is to give you all the tools you can to find everything you need.
- Personal. Many of our customers are weary of the impersonal features of pharmaceutical industries and the medical system. We are real people, we care about you individually, and we meet you where you are.
- Service. We try always to go way above, and way beyond, when it comes to trying to understand and meet your needs. We aspire to make your life better! And, if we ever mess up, we 'fess up and we fix it asap. Please, call or email anytime, and we will do our best for you.
- One-stop shopping. We try hard to gather in one place all the things you might need. We're small, so we can't have it all.. the shopping list is much longer than the budget is large! But if we know someone who has something better for your need, we will send you to them.
- Support system: The Dry Eye Shop is just one little bit of what we do! We have websites, Facebook groups, forums, blogs, a newsletter... We try to keep abreast of everything you might need to know. If we can do better, please tell us how!
What it means to be a small business
Funnily enough, I never thought much about what it meant to be a small business until my business got larger.
I ran The Dry Eye Company solo for many years. Then some unexpected industry events (known to us old-timers as the Great Saline Crisis of 2016) propelled the company into unexpected and, dare I say, unwelcome growth. With growth came change and I am now acutely aware of what a small business is, as I never was before.
There are great joys and great challenges and great risks to be had in a small business. I delight in it all. I am learning constantly. I strive to leave behind the humiliations of past mistakes and push forward to new triumphs. I love being a rebel, I love continuing to do my own thing, I love doing business different from the mainstream. Those of you who are in business too will probably know exactly what I am talking about!