4. Price skimming
Price skimming is a type of dynamic pricing strategy that is designed to help businesses maximize sales on new products and services. This involves setting rates high during the initial phase of a product, then gradually lowering prices as competitor goods appear on the market.
Best for: Small businesses that have products that are in high demand, like tech companies
- Allows businesses to maximize profits through early adopters
- Helps small businesses recoup development costs
- Creates an illusion of exclusivity and quality
- Excess inventory may occur if this strategy fails
- The quality of the new service or product must justify the higher cost to be effective
- Won’t work if your competitors are creating similar products
Price skimming examples
An example of price skimming strategy is seen with tech companies with the introduction of new technology. An 8K TV would benefit from a higher marked price when only 4K TVs and HDTVs currently exist on the market.
This also works well with iPhones—the expected sales volume and speed of developing new products is so high that lowering prices throughout the skimming cycle will have very minimal effects on overall sales volume.
5. Psychological pricing
Psychological pricing refers to techniques that marketers use to encourage customers to respond based on emotional impulses, rather than logical ones.
One explanation for this strategy is that consumers tend to give more attention to the first number on a price tag than the last. The goal of psychology pricing is to increase demand by creating an illusion of enhanced value for the consumer.
Best for: Small businesses aiming toward short-term goals and quick wins
- May offer a high return on investment
- Allows for cost transparency
- Simplifies the decision-making process for customers
- Could cause customers to feel as though they’re being manipulated
- Doesn’t set you apart from competitors since it’s a popular strategy
- Requires consistent demand for your product
Psychological pricing example
Psychological pricing is often seen in retail. For example, setting the price of a watch at $199 is likely to attract more new customers than setting it at $200, even though the actual price difference is quite small.
Other tactics retailers use is the use of “buy one get one free” language versus “50% off two items.” This strategy relies on the customer favoring one wording over another even though they’re the exact same deal.
6. Bundle pricing
With bundle pricing, small businesses sell multiple products for a lower rate than selling each item individually.
Customers feel as though they’re receiving more bang for their buck. Many small businesses choose to implement this strategy at the end of a product’s life cycle, especially if the product is slow-selling.
Small business owners should keep in mind that the profits they earn on the higher-value items must make up for the losses they take on the lower-value product. They should also consider how much they’ll save in overhead and storage space by pushing out older products.
Best for: Small businesses that want to create large margins while offering a lower price than competitors
- Increases the value perception in the eyes of your customers
- An effective way to reduce inventory
- Lowers marketing and selling costs
- May affect products that may be selling better than the other if they’re bundled (product cannibalization)
- Some customers may not want all products offered in the bundle, resulting in an unwanted or unused product
- May cause a negative perception of the brand due to customers assuming the product is of lower quality since it’s bundled
Bundle pricing examples
An example of bundle pricing occurs at your local fast food restaurant where it’s cheaper to buy a meal than it is to buy each item individually.
Internet service providers will also use this strategy and take advantage of cable TV packages and bundled mobile plans.
7. Geographical pricing
Geographical pricing involves setting a price point based on the location where a product or service is sold. Factors for the changes in prices include:
- Shipping costs
- Location-specific rent
- Supply and demand
If you expand your business across state or international lines, you’ll need to consider geographical pricing.
Best for: Small businesses that have markets in many different locations
- Allows you to gain local appeal
- Can boost perceived value in certain locations
- Local regulations need to be considered, such as pricing laws
- Accounting and bookkeeping can become more complicated since there are different regions to be accounted for
Geographical pricing example
Geographical pricing applies to retailers or service providers who charge different prices in different states. For example, a gym may charge a higher price for membership in California than they would at the same location in Louisiana.
8. Promotional pricing
Promotional pricing is another competitive pricing strategy that involves offering discounts on a particular product. These strategies are often run during a holiday, like Memorial Day weekend. By offering these deals as short-term offers, business owners can generate buzz and excitement about a product.
Promotional pricing campaigns often consist of short-term efforts and incentivizes customers to act now before it’s too late. This pricing strategy plays to a consumer’s fear of missing out.
Best for: Small businesses that want to generate quick demand for their products or services
- Increases sales volume in the short term
- Increased inventory turnover
- Promotions can build customer loyalty
- More calculations are required to ensure the sales volume compensates for the discounted prices
- Lowered perception by customers due to “cheaper” prices
- Customers may be reluctant to purchase again if you don’t keep offering promotions
Promotional pricing examples
An example of promotional pricing can apply to a retail store that implements a “Buy One Get One” campaign during a holiday weekend, like Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Loyalty programs also apply here as well—retailers will offer rewards to their loyal customers for a limited time.
9. Value pricing
Value pricing is a way of setting your prices based on your customer’s perceived value of what you’re offering. This occurs when external factors, like a sharp increase in competition or a recession, encourage the small business to further provide additional value to its customers to maintain sales.
This pricing strategy works because customers feel as though they are receiving an excellent value for the good or service. The approach recognizes that customers don’t care how much a product costs a company to make, so long as the consumer feels they’re getting an excellent value by purchasing it.
Best for: Small businesses that specialize in SaaS or subscriptions
- Potential for high profit margins
- Increased perceived value in your brand and services
- Increased customer loyalty
- Requires additional market research to determine what is of value to your audience
- Markets that work well with this strategy tend to be very niche since they’re high-end
- Goods will cost more to produce
Value pricing examples
An example of value pricing can be seen in the fashion industry. A company may produce a product line of high-end dresses that they sell for $1,000. They then make umbrellas that they sell for $100.
The umbrellas may cost more than the dresses to make. However, the dresses are set at a higher price point because customers feel as though they are receiving much more value for the product. Would you pay $1,000 for an umbrella? Probably not. Thus, external factors like customer perceptions guide the value pricing strategy.
10. Captive pricing
Captive pricing is a strategy used to attract a high volume of customers to a product intended for a one-time purchase. The method behind captive pricing is to generate profits from added accessories that go along with the core product you’re selling. Small businesses can implement price increases so long as the cost of the secondary product does not exceed the cost that customers would pay a competitor.
Best for: Small businesses that have a product that customers will continually renew or update
- Increases flow of traffic to the core product
- Boosts sales each time the upgraded accessory is released
- Customer loyalty increases
- Customers may begin to feel unsatisfied with having to update their products repeatedly
- High-priced accessories can lead to a loss of sales
- You’ll need to continuously offer new and improved products each time to maintain revenue and customer interest
Captive pricing examples
A perfect example of a captive pricing strategy is seen with a company like Dollar Shave Club. With Dollar Shave Club, customers make a one-time purchase for a razor. Then, every month, they purchase new razor blades to replace the existing one on the head of the razor.
Because the customer purchased a DSC razor handle, they have no choice but to buy blades from the company as well. The company holds customers “captive” until they decide to break away and buy a razor handle from another company.
11. Dynamic pricing
Dynamic pricing is when you charge different prices depending on who is buying your product or service or when they buy it. It’s a flexible pricing strategy that takes many factors into account—particularly changes in supply and demand.
You might have heard dynamic pricing referred to as:
- Demand pricing
- Surge pricing
- Time-based pricing
While dynamic pricing is relatively common in e-commerce and the transportation industry, it doesn’t work for every type of business. The greatest risks can come when variable prices are applied to products or services that are typically bought by price-sensitive customers.
Best for: Small businesses looking to maximize their profit margins and boost declining sales
- Allows for pricing to reflect the market demand for the product or service
- Provides more insight into customer demand and purchase patterns
- Enables you to maximize your profits by matching your price to the demand
- Customers may be scared off by prices that are always fluctuating
- Higher risk of price wars
- Increases competition within the industry
Dynamic pricing example
A good example of dynamic pricing comes from the airline industry. If you’ve ever noticed how much flight prices can change depending on when you book, you’ve experienced dynamic pricing firsthand.
12. Competitive pricing
Competitive pricing is when your prices either match or beat those of similar products that are sold by competitors. Oftentimes this simply means selling your products or services at a better price, but you could choose to offer better payment terms instead.
To determine if this strategy is right for you, gather as much information as possible about your target market and what your competition is doing. If you combine this with the assistance of advanced pricing software solutions, you can analyze and update price data continuously.
Best for: Small businesses that are just starting out
- Simple implementation
- Can be combined with other strategies such as cost-plus pricing to make efforts more rewarding
- Not good to use long-term since competitors will catch on and modify their strategy
- Not a strategy to use if you want to stand out since your competitors are likely using the same methods
Competitive pricing examples
An example of a company that takes advantage of competitive pricing is Amazon. Amazon will compare the prices of products sold on their platform and utilize that information to offer the lowest price in the market.
This can also be seen in the tech industry with Apple and Samsung using competitive pricing for their phones.
13. Cost-plus pricing
Cost-plus pricing is a strategy of marking up (adding a fixed percentage) the cost of services and goods to arrive at your selling price.
As a seller, you would use a calculation that includes fixed and variable costs that will be incurred in manufacturing your product and then apply the markup percentage to that cost. This strategy is widely used since it’s easy to justify and is typically fair and nondiscriminatory.
Best for: Small businesses with a cost advantage or an interest in using price transparency as a differentiator
- May lead to positive differentiation and customer trust
- Reduced risk of price wars
- Can provide predictable profits
- Simple to implement
- Discourages efficiency and cost containment
- Potential for customers to perceive the product negatively
- Not guaranteed to cover all costs since much of the calculation is a guesstimation
- Can be difficult to change prices when needed
Cost-plus pricing example
Grocery stores and supermarkets work on a cost-plus basis to determine the prices of items such as eggs and milk. Oftentimes, these businesses will purchase from a wholesaler or producer and then apply a markup price for the product sold at their store.
14. Freemium pricing
Freemium pricing is a strategy in which a service or product is given to a customer free of charge unless they want to access premium features or services within that product.
Best for: Small businesses that intend to offer both free and paid versions of their product and those that offer free trials
- Potential to unlock viral growth
- Creates a no-risk environment that attracts customers who want to try something for free
- Opportunity to monetize on advertising
- A higher percentage of free users may never convert
- Cash reserves can be depleted quickly due to a large number of non-paying users
- May require additional customer service support for freemium users, which can be costly
Freemium pricing examples
Freemium pricing examples include free apps that require customers to pay a premium price if they want an ad-free experience.
This also includes online magazine and newspaper subscriptions that only give you a certain amount of free articles until you have to pay to receive unlimited access.