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Price book mistakes to avoid.

Mistakes to avoid when building your price book

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

A retail price book is the catalog of prices charged for each item sold by a retailer. For small retailers, such as c-store operators, building and maintaining the price book is one of the most important parts of business operations. Not only does the price book keep track of item prices, but it is also essential to keeping track of inventory when paired with an intelligent point-of-sale system.

Because the price book is one of the most important parts of operating a c-store, we’ve compiled some common mistakes to avoid when setting up your price book:

Not including enough details:

While it may seem like the only information needed in a price book is the item SKU and price, it is beneficial to have additional data. Item data, such as dimensions, vendor, or even a photograph, helps long-term with price book management and helps prevent ambiguity. For example, including item size data can help avoid confusion between two similar products that are different sizes, such as a 16 oz. bottle of Pepsi compared to a 20 oz. bottle.  

One way to make sure all item data is imported into the price book is by using an intelligent scanning app, such as Retail360. Retail360 is connected to the world’s largest UPC database, so, when a retailer scans a new item into their price book using the app, all the item data is automatically uploaded as well. This saves the retailer time as well.

Updating your prices manually:

With shifting costs from vendors, item prices change almost daily. Keeping the price book updated is important for maintaining gross profit margins, especially on high GPM items, such as snacks and drinks. By updating your price book manually, you may not be making the most profit on your best-selling items. This is especially true for businesses that have several point-of-sale systems, which may need to be updated individually.

Using an interconnected point-of-sale and back-office system can help reduce errors made by entering price changes manually. For example, CStoreOffice offers a centralized price book that can be updated automatically using the latest prices from vendor invoices. When connected to a SmartPOS, these changes are pushed to the point-of-sale system right away, rather than by hand. For larger retailers, or establishments with more than one payment terminal, this not only reduces errors, but saves time because there is no need to update prices on each terminal.

Poor category management:

The National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) creates a list of common categories for convenience items. The latest version of this list was updated in 2022 and includes categories such as bakery items, carbonated soft drinks, potato chips, and more. Organizing products in the price book by category is important not only for standardization across the c-store industry, but for price book management as well. When items in the price book are properly categorized, it is easier to find them and make necessary edits. This streamlines the process of updating the price book, which makes record-keeping easier.

Additionally, in modern point-of-sale systems, such as the SmartPOS, items can be sorted into departments as well. Unlike categories, departments are set by the individual retailer. This can be very helpful for categorizing items that may be taxed differently in different states. For example, in certain areas, soda may be taxed differently than other drinks and need to be in a separate department. Having departments and categories in the price book ensures that items are sorted and taxed accordingly. Without this hierarchical management, mistakes are easier to make and could have major consequences if the appropriate sales tax is not being assessed on items sold.

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