What Is a Catalog Price?

Malcolm Tatum

Sometimes known as the public price or the published price, the catalog price is the stated price that is found in a published catalog of goods and services available through a company. This price refers only to the amount the consumer must pay for the item itself and does not include ancillary costs such as any taxes that must also be collected at the time of purchase, or shipping and handling costs involved with delivering the goods to the buyer. In some industries, the catalog price is equated with the standard price, meaning that the price quoted is what the customer pays if no type of discount is applied to the purchase.

Man climbing a rope
Man climbing a rope

The catalog price of goods and services is usually fixed in some type of published listing, such as a catalog. The price is normally quoted on a per unit basis, allowing buyers to quickly multiply that stated price by the number of units desired and know how much the purchase component of the order will be. Typically, prices of this type of non-negotiable unless some sort of discount agreement are in place between the consumer and the seller.

When a volume discount of some type is involved, the catalog price normally serves as the basis for calculating how much of a discount the customer will receive, assuming a certain number of units are purchased. On the back end, the supplier will often apply a percentage discount to the catalog or unit price that is sufficient to please the customer but still allows the supplier to make some profit off the sale of each unit. Once the calculations are determined, the supplier will normally present some sort of volume discount schedule to the client.

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For example, this type of schedule may show that if the customer purchases less than ten units of the same product, the standard or catalog price applies. Should the customer purchase 20 units, the supplier may discount that purchase price by 10%. Typically, the more units purchased, the higher the purchase price discounts that the supplier is willing to extend, although there is normally some sort of cutoff on discounts after a certain level.

Setting a catalog price is helpful for both buyers and sellers. Buyers have the opportunity to compare the prices with competitors and decide if the cost is worth the time to negotiate some sort of discount. Sellers can use the published or catalog price as a tool to compete with other companies in the industry and, along with providing quality goods and services, be able to capture and maintain market share.

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