Initial Markup Percentage (IMU%)

The difference between the cost of a product and its initial selling price, expressed as a percentage of the cost, used to evaluate profitability and inform pricing decisions.

What is Initial Markup Percentage (IMU%)?

The Initial Markup Percentage (IMU%) is the percentage difference between the selling price and the cost of goods sold (COGS). It helps retailers determine the initial selling price of products based on their production costs. A higher IMU% allows for greater profit margins, while a lower IMU% may attract more customers through competitive pricing. Retailers use this metric to set appropriate pricing levels for their products and ensure profitability.

Mathematically, the formula for IMU% is:

IMU% = ((Selling Price - COGS) / Selling Price) * 100

How IMU% works

  • Determine the Selling Price: Retailers first set the selling price for a product based on various factors, such as market demand, competitor pricing, and desired profit margin.

  • Calculate the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS): The COGS includes all the direct costs associated with producing or purchasing the product, such as raw materials, labor, and manufacturing expenses.

  • Calculate the IMU%: Using the formula above, the retailer calculates the IMU% by subtracting the COGS from the selling price, dividing the result by the selling price, and then multiplying by 100 to express it as a percentage.

  • Evaluate Profitability: The resulting IMU% represents the profit margin that the retailer will achieve from selling the product at the chosen selling price. A higher IMU% indicates a greater potential for profit, while a lower IMU% may lead to slimmer profit margins but could attract more customers with competitive pricing.

  • Adjust Pricing Strategy: Retailers can use the IMU% to adjust their pricing strategy based on their profit goals, market conditions, and customer preferences. They may choose to increase the selling price to improve profit margins or lower the price to drive sales volume.
Overall, the IMU% is an essential metric that allows retailers to set appropriate pricing levels for their products, balance profitability, and meet customer demands effectively. It is commonly used in retail merchandising and inventory management to optimise pricing and maximise overall profitability.

Pros of IMU%

  1. Profitability Analysis: IMU% helps retailers analyse the potential profitability of their products. By understanding the difference between the selling price and the cost of goods sold, retailers can determine how much profit they will make on each item. This enables them to make informed decisions about pricing and product assortment.
  2. Pricing Optimisation: IMU% is a valuable tool for optimising pricing strategies. Retailers can adjust their markup percentages based on market conditions, demand, and competition. They can set competitive prices to attract customers while maintaining healthy profit margins.
  3. Inventory Management: IMU% plays a crucial role in inventory management. By knowing the expected profit margin for each product, retailers can prioritise products with higher IMU% and focus on selling them more aggressively. It helps in aligning inventory levels with expected profits, reducing the risk of overstocking or understocking.

Cons of IMU%

  1. Lack of Consideration for External Factors: IMU% is solely based on the cost of goods sold and the desired profit margin. It does not take into account external factors such as market demand, competitor pricing, and economic conditions. As a result, retailers may set prices that are not competitive or fail to meet customer expectations.
  2. Risk of Overpricing or Underpricing: Relying solely on IMU% for pricing decisions can lead to overpricing or underpricing products. Overpricing may deter customers and result in slower sales, while underpricing may leave potential profits on the table. A balanced approach that considers other factors is essential for effective pricing.
  3. Complexity in Calculations: Calculating IMU% accurately requires precise data on the cost of goods sold, including all associated costs such as shipping, taxes, and discounts. Obtaining and maintaining accurate data can be challenging, especially for retailers with diverse product offerings and frequent pricing changes.


Below you will find answers to common questions
How can I calculate the Initial Markup Percentage for a new product I want to introduce?
To calculate the Initial Markup Percentage, you'll need to gather the total cost associated with the product, including the wholesale price, shipping costs, any applicable taxes, and other expenses. Once you have the total cost, subtract it from the desired selling price, and then divide the result by the total cost. Finally, multiply the quotient by 100 to get the Initial Markup Percentage.
Should I apply the same Initial Markup Percentage to all products in my store?
Applying the same Initial Markup Percentage to all products may not be the most effective strategy. Different products have varying levels of demand, competition, and production costs. Consider conducting a thorough market analysis and segmenting your products into different categories based on these factors. Apply a suitable Initial Markup Percentage to each category, taking into account the unique characteristics of the products within that category. This approach will help optimise your pricing and profitability for different product lines.