Pricing Strategy

What is a Pricing Strategy?

A pricing strategy is an approach businesses use to determine what prices they should charge for their products and services. It involves analyzing the market and customer demand, understanding customer needs, evaluating production costs, and setting competitive prices that maximize profits. 

With a well-thought-out pricing strategy, businesses can ensure they are charging the right amount for their products or services while staying competitive in the marketplace.


  • Pricing optimization
  • Pricing method
  • Pricing model
  • Pricing strategy framework
  • Pricing structure

The Importance of Pricing Strategy

Pricing strategy is one of the most critical components of a business’s marketing and revenue strategies, as it reflects what customers are willing to pay for goods and services. As a result, it significantly impacts a company’s profitability. 

Companies use their pricing strategy to increase sales, reduce costs, compete with competitors, and even make a statement about the value of what they offer.

How to Set Prices with a Pricing Strategy Framework

A pricing strategy framework is a structured approach that businesses use to set, adjust, and manage the prices of their products or services. It serves as a guideline or plan to determine the most effective way to price their offerings in the market. There are several elements within a pricing strategy framework:

Business Objectives and Strategy: Understanding the broader goals of the business and how pricing aligns with these objectives. This includes whether the goal is to maximize profit, gain market share, establish a premium brand, or achieve another strategic aim.

Market Analysis: This involves analyzing the market, including the target audience, their purchasing behavior, the competitive landscape, and how other products or services are priced within the industry.

Cost Analysis: Evaluating the costs of producing and delivering the product or service. This helps determine the minimum price necessary to cover costs while maintaining a profit margin.

Value Proposition: Assessing the value that the product or service offers to customers. Understanding what customers are willing to pay based on the perceived value of the offering.

Pricing Methods and Models: Selecting the appropriate pricing methods such as cost-plus pricing, value-based pricing, competitive pricing, dynamic pricing, etc. These methods guide how prices are set and adjusted. Various pricing strategies are described below.

Price Segmentation: Identifying different customer segments and pricing the product or service differently for each segment based on their perceived value and willingness to pay.

Price Testing and Optimization: Continuous testing and optimization to understand how price changes affect sales, profit, and market positioning. This might involve A/B testing, price sensitivity analysis, or other methods to refine pricing strategies.

Legal and Ethical Considerations: Ensuring the pricing strategy complies with legal regulations and ethical standards, avoiding anti-competitive or deceptive pricing practices.

Implementation and Monitoring: Implementing the pricing strategy and continuously monitoring its performance. Regularly reassessing and adjusting prices based on market changes and performance metrics.

A pricing strategy framework provides a structured approach for businesses to make informed decisions about pricing, balancing profitability with market demand and competitive positioning. It’s not a static plan; it evolves based on market dynamics, consumer behavior, and business objectives and should be reviewed periodically to maintain relevance.

Types of Pricing Strategies

Many pricing strategies are available to help companies optimize their sales and profitability. The digital pricing transformation businesses have experienced over the past few years makes it possible to automatically set prices based on market conditions, costs, and customer data.

Value-Based Pricing

Value-based pricing strategy is a pricing model where the company sets prices based on the perceived value of their products and services to customers. 

This strategy considers customer needs, wants, and desires, as well as other factors such as market conditions and competition. 

Companies that use this model can increase their profits by focusing on the company’s value proposition rather than solely the cost of production and delivery. 

Additionally, value-based pricing strategies enable companies to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace by showing customers that they understand their needs and are willing to provide quality products at fair prices.

Usage-Based Pricing

Usage-based pricing is a pricing strategy in which customers pay for the services and products they use rather than a fixed rate. This pricing model allows businesses to adjust their prices based on usage and customer demand. 

This strategy is common among companies selling digital products, such as software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions, since they can charge based on usage levels rather than a single flat rate.

Consumption-Based Pricing

Consumption-based pricing is similar to usage-based pricing in that customers pay for the resources they use, resulting in more accurate costs that reflect actual usage. 

It is ideal for customers with fluctuating needs or unpredictable usage patterns. Therefore it is common in the cloud computing and energy industries. 

By setting different prices for different usage levels, businesses can generate more revenue from those customers who use their products or services the most while providing an incentive to continue using the product or service.

Tiered Pricing

A tiered pricing strategy is a pricing structure companies use to offer products, quantities, features, or access levels at different prices. 

Tiered pricing aims to encourage customers to purchase higher-priced tiers with more features and benefits than the lower-priced options. 

This strategy can be used to maximize profits and increase overall customer satisfaction by providing customers with options that meet their needs and budget

Subscription-Based Pricing

Subscription-based pricing is a business model that allows companies to charge customers on an ongoing basis in exchange for the right to use the product or service. 

Subscription-based pricing is often seen as an alternative to traditional one-off payments and is becoming an increasingly popular SaaS pricing strategy. With subscription-based pricing, customers can choose plans based on their individual needs while taking advantage of bulk discounts or special promotions. 

This pricing strategy gives businesses a recurring revenue stream, allowing them to better plan for the future and grow their customer base.

Competitive Pricing

Competitive pricing is an integral part of any business strategy. It involves setting prices for goods or services based on the going rate for similar products offered by competitors. 

Companies use this pricing strategy to gain an advantage over competitors and increase market share. The concept of competitor-based pricing involves understanding the market conditions and competitors’ pricing policies, consumer preferences, and the cost of production.

Price Skimming 

Price skimming is a strategy in which goods or services are sold at high prices initially, and then the price gradually decreases over time. 

Companies typically use this strategy when launching a new product, as it helps to maximize profits in the early stages of the product’s lifecycle. 

Price skimming allows companies to quickly recoup their investment by charging higher prices before competitors enter the market with comparable products. 

This strategy is successful when there is limited competition and high demand for the product.

Success-Based Pricing

Success-based pricing has been gaining traction in the business world due to its ability to reward companies for achieving success. 

Companies using this pricing strategy do not collect payment for their products or services upfront. Instead, compensation is based on performance metrics, such as the number of sales or subscribers acquired or customer satisfaction scores. 

This pricing model is popular with software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies, where success metrics are more easily measured and success is easier to track.

Cost-Plus Pricing

Cost-plus pricing is a strategy that involves adding a profit margin to the cost of production or delivery to determine the final price. 

This type of pricing is commonly used in industries such as construction and manufacturing, where it can be difficult to assess market value. 

The goal of cost-plus pricing is to ensure that production and delivery costs are covered while providing a reasonable profit level. 

Many factors can influence the cost-plus price, such as overhead, material, and labor costs.

Marginal Cost Pricing

Marginal cost pricing takes into account the total cost of production and distribution, as well as any additional costs associated with sales, marketing, or other activities related to making a particular product or service available to customers. 

This approach aims to optimize the price point, so that it is high enough to cover all costs and generate a profit yet low enough to remain competitive in the marketplace. 

In other words, it is an attempt to achieve a balance between pricing for profitability and pricing for marketability.

High-Low Pricing

High-Low is one of the most popular pricing strategies used by businesses today. It involves setting high list prices, then discounting them heavily at certain times. 

This gives customers an incentive to purchase products when they are discounted and encourages impulse buying. By offering discounts, companies can increase their customer base, which leads to higher overall sales and profits. 

Freemium Pricing

Freemium pricing offers customers free access to a basic version of the product or service, with an upgrade option to unlock additional features and services. 

Under this approach, businesses provide an introductory offer that allows customers to use the product at no cost. The idea is to give users a taste of the product or service and then encourage them to pay for the premium version if they like what they see.

Premium Pricing 

Premium pricing is a marketing tactic businesses use to increase the perceived value of their product or service and charge a premium price. It involves setting a higher price than what the product or service would normally fetch in the market, as people are willing to pay more for what they perceive to be of high quality and superior value. 

Businesses often use this pricing strategy when launching a new product or service as it helps to create demand and generate more sales.

Bundle Pricing

Bundle pricing is where multiple products or services are bundled and offered at a single, discounted price. Product bundling is an effective way for companies to increase customer loyalty and boost sales by providing additional value and greater convenience for buyers. 

This strategy can also be used to reduce production and distribution costs, making it more cost-effective for businesses. Bundle pricing is commonly used in retail but can also be applied to other industries and services.

Flexible Pricing

Flexible pricing is a method of pricing products or services that allows companies to respond to changing market conditions, customer demand, and competitor pricing. It involves adjusting product or service prices based on what the current market will bear. 

This strategy can be especially beneficial for businesses that need to implement different pricing models to remain competitive in the marketplace. 

Variable Pricing

Variable pricing allows businesses to change prices based on specific market or customer factors. The main goal of variable pricing is to maximize revenue by creating customized prices for different consumers and situations. 

The strategy also allows companies to be more competitive in their pricing by responding quickly to market changes. Variable pricing can involve various techniques, such as discounts for volume purchasing or seasonal sales.

Penetration Pricing

Penetration pricing is a strategy that involves setting a low initial price for a product or service, typically before its launch, to attract customers quickly and gain market share. 

Companies often use this strategy to gain an advantage over their competitors by introducing their products or services at a lower cost than the competition. 

The goal of penetration pricing is to quickly generate sales volume and revenue, which can then be used to offset production costs and increase profitability. 

Companies typically initiate a higher price once the product has gained traction, allowing them to maximize their profits from the higher demand generated by their initial low price.

Dynamic Pricing

Businesses use dynamic pricing to adjust the prices of their products and services based on changing market conditions. 

Dynamic pricing considers the supply and demand curve to determine what price point can bring in maximum profits. Using this strategy, businesses can maximize revenue and keep customers satisfied by adjusting prices based on what the market will bear.

Limit Pricing

Limit pricing is a strategic pricing model used by companies to discourage new entrants into the market. This strategy involves setting prices on products and services at lower levels than what would be optimal for the company if there were no competition. 

It is typically employed by companies that have already achieved a dominant market position, allowing them to set prices that do not reflect the actual cost of production. 

Doing so makes it difficult for potential competitors to enter the market and turn a profit, thus preserving the company’s market share.

Absorption Pricing

Absorption pricing is a strategy in which a product or service’s selling price absorbs production, operational costs, and other expenses. It is also known as full-cost or cost-plus pricing. 

It is commonly used by businesses that need to generate profits quickly to pay off debts, recover investments, and cover overhead costs, such as startups or established companies launching new products.

Geographic Pricing

Geographic pricing is a way of setting prices for goods and services based on the location of the customer or consumer. 

It considers varying regional markets, different levels of competition among businesses in various geographic areas, and the costs associated with reaching customers in multiple locations. 

It is particularly useful for multinational companies that operate in multiple regions and countries.

Psychological Pricing

Psychological pricing is a technique used by businesses to influence customers’ perceptions of the value of a product or service. It involves setting prices slightly below what would be considered “round numbers,” such as $9.99 instead of $10, to trigger a psychological response from consumers who perceive the lower price as even better value. 

Additionally, this strategy can make customers feel as though they are getting a good deal and thus increase their likelihood of purchasing. 

Businesses use psychological pricing to create urgency and perceived scarcity. Retailers have used this marketing strategy effectively for many years, and it can be a powerful tool to increase sales.

Industry-Specific Pricing Strategies

Different industries have different pricing strategies due to varying factors, such as the nature of their product or service, the market dynamics and competition, the targeted customer segment, and the overall business strategy.

In goods-producing industries such as manufacturing, pricing strategies usually revolve around setting a price that will yield the maximum profit from a given sales volume. 

This is why manufacturers often practice cost-plus pricing, where the price of a product is calculated by adding a markup to the cost of production.

In services industries, it is usually more difficult to set prices due to the intangible nature of the service being provided. 

Here, companies may use market segmentation and premium pricing to focus on a select group of customers and charge higher prices for the service due to added value. 

On the other hand, competitive markets such as retail may require a pricing method that enables companies to adjust their prices based on changing market conditions.

Below are the pricing strategies common in various industries:

  • Retail: Common pricing strategies used in retail include cost-plus pricing, market penetration pricing, bundling, dynamic pricing, and value-based pricing. Many companies use a combination of pricing methods. Using pricing engine technology makes it possible for businesses to implement optimized prices for maximum profitability.
  • Restaurant: Pricing strategies used in the restaurant industry vary widely depending on the size of the establishment and its menu items. In general, restaurants use a combination of menu, cost-plus, and promotional pricing.
  • Services: One common pricing strategy used in service companies is cost-plus pricing. This strategy involves setting prices based on a combination of the cost to produce and deliver the service plus a predetermined profit margin. Another pricing strategy used in services is value-based pricing. In this approach, businesses set prices based on their customers’ willingness to pay for the service. This strategy helps companies maximize their profits by charging a premium for services perceived to have a higher value.
  • Agency: This sector’s standard pricing models include fixed-fee, hourly, and retainer structures. Fixed-fee structures are common among agencies that provide services such as design and branding, where the total cost is known upfront. This makes it easier for them to plan their spending and allows them to budget accordingly. Hourly models are typical among agencies that provide services such as web development, where the project cost can vary depending on the scope of work. The advantage here is that clients only pay for the time spent working on their projects. Finally, retainers are common among agencies that provide services such as marketing and digital strategy, where a company pays an upfront fee for a certain number of hours or specified deliverables each month.
  • Manufacturing: Manufacturing industry pricing strategies vary widely based on the size and type of product or service sold. However, common pricing strategies across the manufacturing industry include cost-plus pricing, skimming, penetration, value-based pricing, bundle pricing, premium pricing, and competitive pricing.
  • Travel: Dynamic pricing is often used in the travel industry by airlines, hotels, tour operators, and others. Travel companies can adjust their prices to maximize profit by monitoring customer buying patterns. For example, airlines often increase ticket prices if they expect higher demand for a particular flight. Another common strategy used in the travel industry is bundling services together. By bundling services like airfare, hotel, and ground transportation, companies can increase the value of their product offerings and generate higher revenue.

Factors That Determine a Pricing Strategy

Determining the ideal pricing strategy is a complex but critical part of all businesses’ revenue models. 

This process involves several factors, such as cost structure, customer demand, competitive market environment, and overall profitability. 

To create an effective pricing strategy, businesses must consider various elements that will help maximize their profits while also assessing what the customer is willing to pay.

Cost Structure

Cost structure involves understanding the cost of producing a product or delivering a service and overhead such as wages, rent, and utilities. Knowing the break-even point can help businesses determine the pricing strategy to use.

Customer Demand

Customer demand is another important factor when it comes to pricing strategy. Businesses must consider what their target audience is willing to pay for a product or service and what competitors charge. 

If a company’s prices are too high compared to what the market will bear, it may lose customers. On the other hand, setting prices too low may result in reduced profits.


The competitive market environment also influences a business’s pricing strategy. 

Companies must consider what the competition charges for similar products or services and what their target audience will likely purchase from them over competitors. 

Therefore, it’s essential to be aware of the current market trends and what customers look for in terms of features and affordability.

Perceived Value

Companies must also factor in potential customer reactions to their price point and the perceived value they provide so they can meet customer expectations without sacrificing profits. 

Customers may expect specific price points for certain products or services, and businesses must be mindful of these perceptions. 

Additionally, pricing strategy should reflect what the company perceives as its value in the marketplace and what it seeks to provide its customers.

Profitability Goals

Finally, businesses must consider their overall profitability goals when creating a pricing strategy. 

They need to set prices that will cover all costs associated with producing or delivering a product or service while leaving enough room for profits. 

On the other hand, setting prices too low can result in reduced revenue, so companies must also factor in their profit margins to remain competitive.

How CPQ Helps Automate Pricing Strategies

Manually setting prices can be challenging and time-consuming for businesses. This is where Configure Price Quote (CPQ) software comes in. 

CPQ helps sales teams create accurate quotes quickly and easily by automating the process of pricing products or services for customers.

CPQ uses algorithms to determine a product or service’s pricing based on the customer’s needs, preferences, and budget. Using CPQ software, businesses can quickly define their pricing strategy and adjust it according to market conditions or customer requirements.

Beyond merely calculating product prices, CPQs provide other benefits, such as insight into pricing trends across different regions and customer segments. Analyzing this data and customer behavior helps companies proactively adjust their pricing strategy based on demand. 

Furthermore, CPQs enable businesses to set up rules that can be applied across an entire product catalog so that sales reps can create accurate price quotes efficiently.

CPQ also helps businesses with simple or complex pricing models set prices based on custom rules that they define. 

For example, they can restrict discounts by certain criteria, such as specific customer segments or order volumes. They can also use CPQ to apply multiple pricing models within a single quote — such as list price plus markups — ensuring that each transaction’s price is accurate within the context of the customer’s business rules. 

Additionally, CPQ enables companies to dynamically adjust their pricing based on real-time data such as competitor prices or market conditions, allowing them to stay agile even in volatile markets.

In addition to helping automate the process of setting prices for customers, CPQ allows businesses to track all transactions over time so they can evaluate their performance and make adjustments when needed. 

With its detailed reporting capabilities, CPQ makes it easy for businesses to analyze factors that help with pricing decisions, including:

  • Gross margins per channel or region
  • Average order values
  • Discounts applied
  • Cost versus list price
  • Total sales volume across different units
  • Number of orders placed from various customer segments

People Also Ask

What are the 4 pricing methods in business?

There are several pricing methods in business, broadly categorized into four main types:

1. Cost-Plus Pricing: This method involves calculating the total cost of producing a product or service and then adding a markup to determine the selling price. The formula for cost-plus pricing is: 
Selling Price = Cost + (Cost × Markup Percentage)

2. Market-Oriented Pricing: Also known as competitive pricing, this method involves setting prices based on what other businesses in the market are charging for similar products or services. Depending on its marketing strategy and positioning, the company may price its products at, above, or below the market average.

3. Value-Based Pricing: This method determines price by the perceived value of a product or service to the customer. It focuses on the price the customer is willing to pay based on the benefits they receive. Companies using this method often invest resources in understanding customer needs and preferences to set prices that reflect the perceived value.

4. Dynamic Pricing: Dynamic pricing involves adjusting prices in real time based on various factors such as demand, supply, competition, and other market conditions. Online retailers, for example, may use dynamic pricing algorithms to change prices dynamically throughout the day based on factors like customer behavior and competitor pricing.

It’s important to note that businesses may use a combination of these pricing methods depending on their industry, product/service offerings, and overall business strategy. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, and the choice of pricing strategy depends on factors such as market conditions, customer behavior, and the company’s objectives.

Can you combine pricing strategies?

Yes, one of the most effective strategies businesses can employ is combining two or more different pricing models to reap the benefits of both.

For example, many companies will combine market-based and cost-plus pricing models because they provide an accurate reflection of the actual value of a product while also providing the flexibility required when dealing with rapidly changing prices, such as those found in commodities markets. Market-based prices are determined by factors such as industry trends and customer demand. In contrast, cost-plus prices include costs incurred during production and distribution, including labor, materials, and overhead expenses. By combining these two models, businesses benefit from having higher margins due to charging higher prices.

Another common combination that many businesses utilize is using value-based and penetration pricing. Value-based prices reflect the total value that a product has to offer a customer, including its uniqueness, quality, and brand recognition. In contrast, penetration pricing focuses on discounting prices to appeal to more customers. Using these two together allows companies to target a mass consumer base attracted to high-quality products at a low price.