More Bang For Your Buck: What goes into the price of an item? - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

More Bang For Your Buck: What goes into the price of an item?

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(WWBT) -

Have you ever wondered if it's worth paying $300 for a handbag when another is only $50? What about paying $100 for a blouse when another is $25? What is driving these price tags?

When it comes to her clothes, Mary Lee Joseph likes to know she’s getting what she pays for.

“You think about, you know, how much things cost and why,” said Joseph.

Traditionally, though, retailers have rarely spelled out exactly how a price is determined, until now. A growing number of e-tailers are showing their cards with something called “transparent pricing.” 

“Transparent pricing is basically when a retailer breaks down everything from sourcing, where a fabric comes from to transportation to how much a zipper costs," said Charcy Evans, a fashion analyst.

They even include lining and packaging.

For example, while shopping online, Mary Lee spotted a black t-shirt for $16 on Everlane. Along with the price, the site shows that materials cost $1.31, labor costs $5.95, and transport costs $0.13, for a total cost of a little over $7. That means a nearly $9 markup.

“They actually surprised me a lot in terms of, first of all, how detailed the breakdown was,” said Joseph.       

Evers says some companies even declare the countries and factories where products are made, claiming safe conditions and fair wages.

 “When you talk about why something is $150 versus $50, the argument for the $150 piece is where it’s coming from. ‘I’m doing good for the environment, I’m helping, you know, support fair labor conditions,’ ” said Evers.

Like the transparency movement already popular in the food and beauty industries, experts say millennials demanding more information are driving the retail response. While still new, Mary Lee thinks clarity will be king.

“If other companies see that companies are transparent and are successful, then I think they definitely will follow that trend,” said Joseph.

Evers says you'll see this a lot more often with smaller retailers. She says huge companies are less likely to be transparent because it’s more difficult to track each part of the supply chain. 

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