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A Deep Dive into Different Pricing Strategies

Maciej Wilczyński
Managing Partner, Founder Valueships
June 19, 2023

In the bustling marketplace of the business world, one factor often stands as the make-or-break point for success: pricing. For B2B companies, navigating the labyrinth of pricing strategies can feel like a high-stakes game of chess.

Set the price too high, and you risk alienating potential clients. 

Set it too low, and your bottom line suffers.

It's a delicate balance, one that requires a deep understanding of not just your product but your market, your competition, and your customers. Today, we'll introduce you to our pricing strategy guide, so you can finally make an informed decision on which tactic to pick for your business. 

What is a Pricing Strategy?

A pricing strategy is the pricing method of setting the price of a product or service. It involves evaluating factors like market trends, competition, and expense in order to determine which pricing model works best for you. 

So as you see, the optimal price point isn't solely determined by cost. There are different pricing strategy examples that can influence the retail price, like the skimming strategy, value-based strategy, or penetration pricing strategy. The right selection of such strategies is particularly relevant in industries like SaaS, where different business models can be employed to attract and retain customers.

Why is It Important to Create a Pricing Strategy Right?

💪 Maximizes Profitability

Getting the price right is crucial for maximizing profitability. If prices are set too low, you may not cover your costs or achieve a reasonable profit margin. If they're set too high, you may deter potential customers and lose sales. A well-calibrated price ensures that you generate sufficient revenue while also offering value to clients, thereby maximizing your profitability.

⭐ Enhances Customer Satisfaction

The right price can enhance customer satisfaction. If your present or new customers perceive your prices as fair and reflective of the value they receive, they're likely to be more satisfied with their purchase. This can lead to repeat business, positive word-of-mouth, and a stronger relationship, all of which are beneficial for your business.

🥇 Supports Market Positioning

An optimized pricing strategy can help you enter the market and can play a big role in your positioning. If you're aiming to establish your product or service as a premium offering, a higher price can convey a sense of quality and exclusivity. Conversely, if you're targeting price-sensitive customers or aiming for a value-for-money approach, a lower price can be more appealing. Therefore, getting the price right supports your desired market presence.

🎯 Encourages Sales Growth

Correct pricing can stimulate sales growth. If your price is competitive and offers good value for money, it can attract more clients and encourage them to purchase, leading to increased sales. On the other hand, incorrect pricing can deter potential customers and hinder sales growth.

📢 Reflects Value Proposition

The price of your product or service should reflect its value proposition. If your offering provides unique benefits or superior quality, a higher price can demonstrate this value and justify the cost to customers. Getting the price right ensures that your price aligns with your value proposition and communicates this value to your prospects.

💯 Influences Company Reputation

Lastly, your common pricing strategy can influence your company's reputation. Fair and transparent pricing can enhance your reputation and build trust with customers. In contrast, perceived overpricing or frequent price changes can harm your reputation. Therefore, getting the price right is important for maintaining a positive company image.

How Often Should I Review My Pricing Strategy?

I will put it simply: the more the better, and it should be part of your regular product reviews. However, what I recommend, and what most companies don’t do anyway, is to review your pricing strategy every quarter, and change pricing at least two times a year. One year price change is a minimum if you consider an average yearly inflation in IT services and customer acquisition cost of 15-20% and constantly dropping willingness to pay. Remember: if you don’t use pricing strategically to pull profitability lever, you’re leaving at least 10% of your potential MRR every year.

Maciej Wilczynski, CEO Valueships

Types of Pricing Strategies

Cost-Plus Pricing

Cost-plus pricing is one of the simplest pricing strategies. It involves calculating the total cost of producing a product, including materials, labor, and overhead, and then adding a markup to determine the selling price. This smart pricing strategy may guarantee that all costs are covered, and a profit is made on each sale. 

However, it doesn't take into account customer demand or competitor pricing, which can lead to prices that are either too high or too low for the market.

Value-Based Pricing

Value-based pricing requires setting prices based on the perceived value of a product or service to the customer. This demands a deep understanding of your customer's needs, preferences, and willingness to pay. The goal is to price your product in a way that reflects the value it gives to the audience. 

In this way, you can maximize profits by maximizing your product's value, but it demands detailed market research and a strong value proposition.

Competitive Pricing

Competitive pricing means setting prices based on what competitors are charging for similar products or services. The use of this strategy is common in markets with many rivals and similar products. It requires keeping a close eye on competitor pricing and market trends. 

While competitive pricing can help you stay on top, it can also lead to aggressive pricing wars and reduced profit margins if not managed carefully.

Penetration Pricing

Another method is penetration pricing. It relies on setting a low initial price to attract customers and gain market share. The price is usually increased once this objective is achieved. This tactic can be effective for entering new markets or launching new products. 

However, it can lead to low-profit margins in the short term and may create an expectation of low prices among customers.

Price Skimming

A price skimming strategy, on the other hand, occurs by setting a product at a high price and then gradually lowering it over time. In this way, you can maximize profits by attracting a high willingness to pay among early adopters and then reaching more price-sensitive customers as the price decreases. Price skimming can also help recover development costs quickly. 

Nevertheless, there must have a compelling value proposition and excellent customer service to justify the high initial price.

Dynamic Pricing

Dynamic pricing requires adjusting prices based on market demand, customer behavior, or other factors. This type of pricing strategy for your business is common in industries like airlines and hospitality, where prices can change frequently based on availability and demand. 

Dynamic pricing can maximize profits by obtaining the highest possible price that customers are willing to pay at any given time. Here, pricing software is necessary.

Psychological Pricing

Psychological pricing refers to determining prices that appeal to a customer's emotional response rather than their rational mind. An example is setting a perfect price at $9.99 instead of $10. Pricing strategies based on this approach can make the product seem cheaper. 

Using this strategy can increase sales by making prices seem lower than they actually are. But in the wrong hands, it can lead to a perception of lower quality.

Bundle Pricing

The bundle pricing strategy entails selling multiple products together at a lower price than if they were purchased separately. This strategy can increase sales volume and move unsold inventory. It can also provide value to customers by offering them a convenient package of products at a discounted price. 

If bundled products do not appeal to the same customers, bundle pricing may lead to lower profit margins. 🤷‍♀️

Competitor-Based Pricing Strategy

Competitor-based pricing means establishing prices based on what competitors are charging for similar products or services. This strategy is common in markets with many competitors and similar products. It requires keeping a close eye on competitor pricing and market trends. 

While competition-based pricing can help you stay in the game, it can also lead to price wars and reduced profit margins if not handled properly.

Freemium Pricing Strategy

The freemium pricing strategy offers a basic version of a product or service for free, while charging for premium features or services. This strategy is common in the software and digital services industries. It allows users to try the product before committing to a purchase, which can attract a large user base. 

It is essential to strike a balance to make certain that enough value is offered in the free version to attract users. It is also good to offer compelling premium features that encourage users to upgrade.

High-Low Pricing Strategy

High-low pricing occurs when you set prices higher than the competition but offer frequent promotions or discounts. This strategy can attract customers who perceive the high initial price as a sign of quality, as well as those who are motivated by discounts. 

In this strategy, you must practice good planning to ensure that the discounted prices still cover costs.

Hourly Pricing Strategy

Hourly pricing works by charging customers based on the amount of time spent on a service. This strategy is common in service industries like consulting, legal services, and repair services. It confirms that the price reflects the time and effort spent on each job. 

Nevertheless, it demands careful time tracking and can lead to unpredictable costs for customers.

Premium Pricing Strategy

Premium pricing aim is to establish a high price to reflect the high quality, exclusivity, or superior performance of a product or service. This strategy can enhance a brand's image and attract customers who are willing to pay more for premium products. 

You need a strong value proposition and high-quality products or services to justify the high price.

Project-Based Pricing Strategy

Project-based pricing means determining a fixed price for a specific project or scope of work. This strategy is often used in industries like construction, consulting, and creative services. It gives predictability for both the provider and the customer, as the cost is known upfront. 

You need to estimate cost properly and scope definition to maintain profitability.

Geographic Pricing Strategy

Geographic pricing means adjusting prices based on geographic location. Different regions may have different demands, costs, or competition. This strategy can maximize profits by capturing the highest price that customers in each location are willing to pay. 

In spite of this, it needs a deep understanding of local markets and can lead to perceptions of unfairness if not managed carefully.

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How to Create the Best Pricing Strategy

#1 Understand Your Market

Understanding your market is the first step in creating a winning product pricing strategy. 

This includes researching your market's:

  • size, 
  • growth rate, 
  • trends, 
  • and key players. 

Thanks to this, you gain a comprehensive understanding of the competitive landscape and can identify potential opportunities and threats. As a result, you can position your product or service effectively and set a price that aligns with market conditions. 

Example: A company selling organic skincare products would need to understand the size of the market, its growth rate, current trends, and who the major competitors are.

#2 Identify Your Target Customers

Identifying your target customers means defining who your ideal customers are and understanding their needs and preferences. 

This can help you set a price that your customers find acceptable and valuable. It also allows you to tailor your marketing and sales efforts to the customers who are most likely to buy your product or service.  

Example: A luxury fashion brand would target customers who value high-quality materials and exclusive designs and who can afford a premium for these attributes.

#3 Analyze Your Competitors

You also need to analyze your competitors, looking at what they are charging for similar products or services. 

Thanks to this, you will have a benchmark for setting your own prices. Analyzing your competitors' pricing strategies can also provide insights into their approach to the market, which can inform your own strategy. 

Example: A new restaurant would look at the menu prices of other restaurants in the same area and with a similar cuisine to help set their own prices.

#4 Understand Your Costs

Understanding your costs entails calculating the total cost of producing your product or service, including materials, labor, and overhead. 

This information helps you set a price that covers your costs and includes a profit margin. It's crucial to ensure that your price is sustainable and that you can maintain profitability even if costs increase. 

Example: A furniture manufacturer would need to consider the cost of raw materials, labor, factory overhead, and shipping when setting their prices.

#5 Define Your Value Proposition

Defining your value proposition means identifying what makes your product or service unique and why customers should choose it over competitors. 

You can use this to justify your price and communicate it to customers. A strong value proposition can differentiate your offering in the market and attract customers who are willing to pay for the value you provide. 

Example: A lead nurturing software company might offer unique features, superior customer service, or a user-friendly interface as part of its value proposition.

#6 Choose a Pricing Strategy

Choosing a pricing strategy depends on selecting a tactic that aligns with your business objectives, market conditions, and customer expectations. 

There are many methods to choose from, such as cost-plus pricing, value-based pricing, competitive pricing, etc. Your chosen strategy should support your overall business goals and fit with your market and customers. 

Example: A budget airline might choose a competitive pricing strategy, offering lower prices than competitors to attract price-sensitive customers.

#7 Set Your Initial Price

Setting your initial price includes determining a price for your product or service based on your chosen pricing strategy. 

Your price should cover costs, generate a profit margin, and be acceptable to your target customers. It's also crucial to consider both your business needs and customer expectations when setting your initial price. 

Example: A new coffee shop might set its initial price for a cup of coffee based on the cost of coffee beans, labor, and overhead while also considering the prices of nearby coffee shops.

#8 Test Your Price

Test your price on a small group of customers or with a specific market segment. 

It can give you valuable feedback on how your price is perceived and whether it needs adjustment. Price testing can help you avoid costly mistakes and assure that your price is optimized before a full-scale launch. 

Example: An online retailer might test different prices for a new product with a small segment of their customer base to see which price maximizes revenue.

#9 Launch Your Price

Once you're confident in your price, the next step is to launch it to all your target customers. 

In order to do this, you need to communicate the price clearly and effectively and explain the value that your product or service provides to justify the price. A successful price launch can set the tone for your product's performance in the market. 

Example: A tech company launching a new software product would announce the price as part of their product launch, highlighting the product's unique features and benefits to justify the price.

#10 Monitor Your Performance

Monitoring your performance involves tracking key metrics like sales volume, revenue, and profit margin to assess the effectiveness of your special pricing strategy. 

As a result, you will be able to identify any issues and make necessary adjustments. Regular performance monitoring makes sure that your pricing strategy can work further and continues to support your business goals. 

Example: A subscription-based streaming service would monitor the number of new subscriptions, total revenue, and average revenue per user (ARPU) after a price change to assess the impact on their business.

#11 Adjust Your Price as Needed

Adjusting your price as needed implies making changes based on your performance, changes in the market, or changes in customer behavior. 

You may need to consider raising or lowering your price, offering discounts, or changing your pricing strategy. Regular price adjustments can help you stay competitive and maximize your profitability. 

Example: A clothing retailer might lower prices for seasonal items at the end of the season to clear inventory or offer discounts to boost sales during a slow period.

#12 Review Your Pricing Strategy Regularly

Reviewing your pricing strategy regularly requires reassessing your strategy in light of changes in the market, customer needs, or your business objectives. 

This ensures that your pricing remains competitive and aligned with your business goals. Regular reviews can help you identify opportunities for improvement and keep your flexible pricing strategy up to date. 

Example: A hotel chain might review its pricing strategy each year to consider changes in travel trends, competitor pricing, and its own business growth objectives.

Frequently Asked Questions - Which pricing strategy is best for business?

#1 What is a Pricing Strategy?

A pricing strategy refers to the method used to determine the prices for products and services. It involves considering factors like market trends, competition, and expenses to select the most suitable pricing model for your business.

#2 Why is it Important to Set the Right Price?

Getting the price right is crucial for several reasons. It maximizes profitability, enhances customer satisfaction, supports your market positioning, encourages sales growth, and reflects your value proposition. It also influences your company's reputation.

#3 What is the Right Pricing Strategy for My Business?

There is no one-size-fits-all approach, as the best and most effective pricing strategies can differ for different companies. However, Valueships can assist you in determining the ideal pricing strategy for your specific business needs. They can develop a tailored pricing strategy that aligns with your objectives and maximizes your profitability.

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Maciej Wilczyński
Managing Partner, Founder Valueships

Expert in B2B pricing, monetization and value-based selling strategies. Over the past year, he has completed over 40 consulting projects in Europe. Prior to founding Valueships, he worked at McKinsey & Company, mainly in the TelCo, software, and banking industries. He completed his doctorate in pricing in SaaS start-ups at the University of Economics in Wrocław, where he also lectures.

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Maciej Wilczyński
Managing Partner, Founder Valueships

Expert in B2B pricing, monetization and value-based selling strategies. Over the past year, he has completed over 40 consulting projects in Europe. Prior to founding Valueships, he worked at McKinsey & Company, mainly in the TelCo, software, and banking industries. He completed his doctorate in pricing in SaaS start-ups at the University of Economics in Wrocław, where he also lectures.