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Why Can't I See Prices on Your Website?

Shopping for new furniture can be exciting! Whether you are looking for one piece or an entire roomful, what you choose will transform the look of your home. There's so much to see and many choices to make.

These days many people consider online research the first step to getting started on their furniture shopping journey. We browse hundreds of photos, narrow down our decisions by comparing dimensions, and eventually settle on a short list of favorites to choose from. That's when you may start to wonder... why doesn't this couch have a price listed on the website?

Why can't you see the price of the furniture on many furniture store websites? Why do you have to call or give your email in order to learn the price?

The answer: something that seems like it should be straightforward on the surface actually has many layers to it.

At Baer's Furniture, you will see some pieces with prices and some without. We know this can be confusing and irritating, so here's an explanation of why you see what you see when shopping on our website.

Dining room group

What Is Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)?

Sometimes called list price or sticker price, we're all used to seeing the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) on automobiles, appliances, smartphones, and other items we shop for online. It's pretty uncomplicated. This is the price that the manufacturer thinks their product should be sold for, based on factors such as how much it costs to make it, shipping costs, and retail markup, to name just a few. The manufacturer sets a price that will allow themselves and the retailer to make a profit.

However, the MSRP is only a suggestion. The furniture retailer can price the products they sell more or less than the MSRP. Why would a retailer sell lower or higher than MSRP?

  • Furniture stores sell under MSRP when they need to compete for customers, or clear their inventory.
  • Furniture stores sell above MSRP when a product is in short supply, and/or in high demand.

This can be a problem for brands who want their products to maintain a certain reputation, value, or cachet in the marketplace, which leads to different types of alternative pricing strategies. This is how things become even more confusing when shopping for furniture.

What Is Minimum Advertised Price (MAP)?

We're all used to seeing the MSRP in a variety of shopping scenarios. We are generally not surprised when a car dealership offers a price that is less than MSRP; we pretty much expect it. This is not the case for other items, such as furniture.

Another pricing policy is Minimum Advertised Price (MAP). With MAP, the manufacturer sets the minimum price that furniture stores can advertise for their products. When you see "call for price" or "email for price" on a website, the product most likely must follow the MAP model.

With the MAP model, retailers cannot advertise a lower price in any medium, including their website, e-mail promotions, TV spots, print ads, etc. Unlike MRSP, which is suggested, the manufacturer can enforce the MAP. For example, if a retailer advertises prices lower than the MAP, the manufacturer can refuse to do business with them and may even pursue legal action.

However, the retailer can decide to sell at a lower price, they just can't advertise one. In this case, the furniture store has two viable options:

  1. Show the MAP on their website and ads, even if they sell it at a lower price
  2. Ask customers to call or e-mail for the best price

Option 1 leaves the retailer competing against every other store offering the same product at the MAP. Option 2 gives the customer the power to discover a better offer. This is the main reason furniture stores often don't list their lowest price on their websites.

What Is Internet Minimum Advertised Price (IMAP)?

A subset of MAP, Internet Minimum Advertised Price (IMAP) only limits the price that furniture stores can display on their website. Manufacturers often use this pricing model to protect their brand and retailer network from sketchy online sellers. IMAP helps keep unauthorized, second-hand sellers from masquerading as official, licensed retailers, protecting the value of their brand and the stores that sell them. In addition, IMAP ensures that sketchy sellers can't radically undercut prices. Although these pricing models benefit manufacturers and furniture stores, and in the long run, customers, it can leave you feeling frustrated.

What Is Minimum Resale Price (MRP)/Unilateral Pricing Policy (UPP)?

Just when you thought you were done with the alphabet soup of manufacturer retail pricing, there's one more to be aware of, and that's Minimum Resale Price (MRP) or Unilateral Pricing Policy (UPP). This takes MAP and IMAP a step further by setting limits not only on the advertised price, but the final selling price.

Many premium brands keep the advertised and selling prices on their products the same to protect the high value of their brand.

This pricing policy will govern all inventory of the product, whether sold online or in a showroom. So, MRP doesn't affect whether or not you see prices online, but it is important to recognize what it is since it is often confused with MAP.

Custom Furniture Pricing

Of course, if you are designing a furniture piece just for you, you probably won't see a price online.

At Baer's Furniture, we have a selection of custom upholstery pieces that aren't in stock but can be ordered. Most of them do not have prices on our website since the price is dependent on your preference of fabric, the style of piece you select, and other factors.

Call, Chat or Visit for the Best Furniture Prices

We hope we've demystified the policies behind website pricing when it comes to furniture. If you have any questions about any furniture you see on our website, whether it has a price listed or not, don't hesitate to call the Baer's Furniture store near you or chat with our online experts. We'll be happy to answer all your questions and help you find the perfect furnishings for your home.