It is important to note that these are direct costs, and do not consider the procedural efficiencies which may well result for retailers as a byproduct of instituting unit-pricing programs.
Costs of Unit-pricing Programs Several attempts have been made to measure the retailer costs of installing and operating unit-pricing programs.
After reviewing six such studies, Monroe and La Placa (1972) conclude that the costs remain relatively constant per store, regardless of store size and sales volume.
A number of methodological differences among the several studies may well be responsible for the conflicting findings.
Likely candidates here are the unit of measure used to express unit-price information, the manner in which the information was displayed, the orientation program used to acquaint store customers with unit pricing, the proportion of store products which were unit-priced, and the time interval which elapsed before customer surveys were conducted.
Four such studies have been reported (Friedman, 1966; Friedman, in press; Gatewood and Perloff, in press; and Houston, 1972), each of which instructed subjects to perform hypothetical price-comparison problems in a laboratory or field setting.
All four studies revealed significant departures from perfect performance.UNIT PRICING A number of terms (unit pricing, price-per-measure, dual pricing, and value pricing) have recently been employed to describe the practice of providing price information to consumers by such standard measures as the ounce, pound, pint, and quart.Unit pricing, as the practice is now widely called, is not a new development, having been used by supermarkets for many years to display price information for such store-packaged, variable-size products as meats and cheeses.In three of the four (Friedman, in press; Gatewood and Perloff, in press; and Houston, 1972), a second experimental condition was introduced to examine the value of unit-price information in solving the problems; all three found a substantial improvement in performance under the unit-price condition.Taken together, these several studies reveal that without additional information, consumers are often unable to make correct price comparisons.For example, the report finds that a frozen food product may deteriorate as much in two months at 10 F as it will in twelve months at 0 F.