What are you paying for? Companies get transparent with prices - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

What are you paying for? Companies get transparent with prices

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -

Have you ever wondered if it's really worth paying $300 for a handbag when another is only $50, or $100 on a blouse when another is $25?

Retailers claim quality controls cost, but what are you really paying for?

A growing number of retailers are coming clean and customers are buying in!

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," Mary Lee said.

Traditionally though, retailers have rarely spelled out exactly how price is determined, until now.

A growing number of retailers 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 fashion trend analyst Charcy Evers.

For example, while shopping online, Mary Lee spotted a black t-shirt for $16. 

Along with the price, the site shows that materials cost $1.31, labor cost $5.95, and transport is $0.13, for a total cost of $7.39 and a markup of $8.61.

"They actually surprised me a lot in terms of, first of all, how detailed the breakdown was," Mary Lee said.        

Charcy said 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,” Charcy said. “'I'm doing good for the environment, I'm helping, you know, support fair labor conditions.'"

Like the transparency movement already popular in the food and beauty industries, experts said 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," Mary Lee said.

Despite that, our trend analyst said 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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