New ISO Standard Aimed at Price Transparency

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has released a brand new standard aimed at making price tags more transparent and easy to understand; “a win-win solution for all” as ISO puts it.

The need for the new standard: ISO 21041, according to ISO is due to the fact that retailers can – inadvertently or not – confuse consumers with their advertised prices, as they can vary by a variety of factors.

The new standard is designed to implement a unit-pricing standard, dependant on the weight or volume of a product. For example: for a 500ml carton of milk at $1.95, the unit price would be $3.90 per litre.

According to ISO, “this is not always consistent across retailers or products, creating an added layer of perplexity for shoppers and doing little for consumer trust.”

ISO: 21041 is designed to win back that trust.

The standard also offers retailers advice on best to display their unit pricing in-store, online and in their advertising and marketing material.

Research for the new standard is based on a study from the Queensland University of Technology, Australia, whose findings say consumers are reporting that it is easier for them to process the pricing information with the new unit price system.

This was coupled with a more positive attitude toward retailers and businesses; consumers appreciate the clarity on behalf of the retailer, according to the study.

Chair of the ISO project committee that worked to develop ISO: 21041, John Furbank says that the standard will have positive impact for both retailers, and their consumers.

“Shopping has never been more complex, with not only a greater choice but a wider range of packaging, in terms of weights and sizes,” he said.

“The Queensland study shows that clear and effective unit price information won’t necessarily drive consumers to just buy the cheapest product, but rather allow them to make more informed choices – and that reflects positively on retailers.

“ISO 21041, then, is a key tool for retailers, enabling them to provide clear and consistent pricing, ultimately building trust and loyalty as a result.”

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