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A pricing analyst is a business professional who specializes in the study of pricing, with the goal of determining the best prices for the company he or she works for. These professionals often hold degrees from business schools, and some of their training is highly specialized, as pricing is a very delicate art, and a good pricing analyst can make or break the future of a company. Many companies retain full-time pricing analysts, and it is also possible for a company to hire an analyst as a consultant for a particular project or concern.
Pricing analysts look at industry standards, playing close attention to the pricing strategies of their competitors. They use mathematical analysis to track pricing trends, and they also study consumer habits to determine how much people are willing to pay for various products, and to look for patterns in consumer spending. People may be willing to pay more for certain types of products during specific times of the year, for example, which can be critical information to have when determining prices and timing of product rollouts.
Internal issues are also of importance to a pricing analyst. Pricing analysts are interested in the cost of production of various items, the amount of profit a company wants to make, and associated costs like marketing. They are also concerned with packaging and presentation of products, which can influence how much people are willing to pay, and they may provide advice during the research and development phase to create the most income for the company.
Pricing is intensely psychological, which means that a pricing analyst needs to have a knowledge of human psychology in addition to a deep understanding of the business world. When developing prices for products, pricing analysts need to think about how consumers interact with pricing, how other products in the same line are priced, and how prices may be altered at the store. Choosing the right price can make a big difference in sales, even if the difference between prices under consideration is minimal.
Pricing analyst salaries can vary, depending on their level of experience and training, and where they work. Many companies are specifically looking for people with experience in the market in addition to a degree from business school, which can make this field tough to break into for new graduates. People who are interested in this career may start out in other departments and areas of a company, gradually working their way into the field of pricing analysis.