7 Key Factors to Build a Good Pricing Strategy

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Reviewed by Matt Pelkey
• 6 minute read
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Setting the right price for your products and services can feel like a tightrope walk. If your prices are too high, you may scare customers away. If they’re too low, your profits could suffer. Determining the right pricing strategy for your business is a crucial decision and requires you to find the right balance.

Whether you’re fine-tuning your existing strategy or starting fresh, here are a few of the important factors you should consider when setting prices for your small business.

7 Factors for a Good Pricing Strategy

1. Competitor pricing

Before setting prices, you should do some market research to understand where your products and services fall. Look at competitors who offer similar products to see what their prices are like. Keep in mind this isn’t about matching or undercutting their prices. It’s about gaining insights into the market’s pricing standards. This can help you find a price range for your products to ensure you’re not overpricing or underpricing.

It can also help you understand what your unique value proposition is. Are you offering more features or better service that justify a higher price? This differentiation can help you understand where your prices should land in comparison to your competitors.

2. Cost of goods

Conducting a thorough cost analysis is a crucial step in determining prices. You’ll need to look at how much it costs to produce your product or provide your service. Think about the cost of production — things like raw materials and labor. This will provide clarity on the baseline cost and help ensure that your pricing strategy covers these fundamental expenses.

3. Customer demand

Another big pricing factor is how willing your target market is to pay for a product or service. Is what you’re offering considered an essential need, a luxury or something in between? An essential need will maintain a pretty consistent level of demand. On the other hand, luxury items may be more sensitive to external factors and price increases.

4. Perceived value

Pricing is deeply intertwined with the perceived value of a product or service. If something is seen as highly valuable, whether it’s a daily essential or a luxury item, customers are often willing to pay more. This could be due to the quality, functionality, scarcity or uniqueness. It could even stem from a great marketing strategy that highlights the things that make your business stand apart from the competition.

5. Market conditions

Economic and market trends also play a role in pricing decisions. This could include factors like inflation rates, consumer spending habits and the health of your industry. In times of economic downturn, consumers can become more conservative so you may need to adjust your pricing strategy.

Small business owners should also be aware of the seasonality of their industries. For example, if you sell cold weather gear you may need to raise or lower prices depending on the season. These seasonal shifts can help guide your strategy and help you adjust your pricing to stay competitive.

6. Labor

Labor costs are a major expense for businesses and can play a big factor in how you set your prices. These costs can encompass wages, benefits and additional compensation provided to employees involved in everything from production to delivery. It’s important to provide fair compensation for employees. This keeps your workforce motivated, which can help ensure good quality and customer experiences. Be sure to regularly review and adjust your labor expenses to keep in line with market rates while also maintaining a competitive pricing strategy.

7. Additional overhead

There are additional expenses that come with running a business. This could include fixed costs such as rent and insurance, and more variable costs like purchasing new equipment or advertising a new product. You’ll need enough in your cash flow to cover these essentials and keep business running. This means you’ll need to factor these expenses into your pricing strategy.

What Is a Pricing Strategy?

A pricing strategy is a system used by businesses to determine the best price point for their products or services. It involves a comprehensive analysis of various factors to ensure that the price not only covers the cost of production and overhead, but also aligns with the market, customer expectations and business goals. A pricing strategy aims to maximize profit and stay competitive in the marketplace.

What Are Some Common Pricing Strategies?

1. Cost-plus pricing. This is a relatively straightforward approach to setting prices. With cost-plus pricing, a set markup is added to the cost of the goods or services. It’s a simple method where the selling price is determined by the desired profit margin. However, while it’s easy to calculate, it doesn’t always take into account other variables (such as market conditions, value perceptions or customer expectations) that can make your pricing strategy more effective.

2. Value-based pricing. With value-based pricing, the price is based on the customer’s perceived value rather than the cost of production. To use this strategy, you’ll need to understand how much a customer believes your offerings are worth and price accordingly. This can be a more profitable strategy than cost-plus pricing, particularly for luxury offerings.

3. Dynamic pricing. This strategy is also known as demand pricing. It allows for flexibility based on current market demand, competition, seasonality and customers. This strategy is often used by those in hospitality or travel. These industries may raise prices during peak travel seasons or holidays and offer low prices during slower times.

4. Penetration pricing. With this strategy, you’ll start by offering your goods or services at a low price to quickly gain market share and attract new customers. It can be used when launching a new product or entering a new market. It can help you draw customers away from competitors and build brand loyalty. From there you can gradually increase the price.

5. Skimming pricing. This is the opposite of penetration pricing. With skimming pricing, the initial price is set high for a new or innovative product. Businesses using this strategy will target customers who are willing to pay a premium to become early adopters. Over time, as the product becomes more mainstream, the price will come down.

6. Psychological pricing. This strategy targets customer perception. For example, instead of pricing something at $10 you set the price as $9.99. The idea is that this makes the price appear lower and encourages more people to make a purchase.

7. Bundle pricing. Bundle pricing involves selling multiple products or services together at a lower price than they would cost if individually purchased. It can help promote the sale of slow-moving items. If your pricing objective is to increase the average transaction value, bundle pricing can help as well.

8. Premium pricing. Also known as prestige pricing, this strategy involves setting a high price to create the perception of quality and exclusivity. This is commonly used by brands offering luxury products and can be effective when the target market associates higher prices with higher quality.

How Can Businesses Create a Good Profit Margin?

A good profit margin is important for all businesses, but achieving this can be harder than it seems. It requires small business owners to be strategic about setting prices and managing costs. Here are a few ways you can improve your profit margin.

Reduce your operating expenses. Review what you’re spending on overhead costs like rent, utilities and administration. Identify any areas where you can cut back and save.

Adjust your pricing strategy. If cash flow is feeling a little tight, it may be time to adjust your pricing. If the cost of labor or production has gone up, it may be time for a price change.

Focus on customer retention. Prioritize building long-term relationships with your customers. Repeat business can lead to higher profitability since it’s often cheaper compared to trying to acquire new customers.

DISCLAIMER: This content is for informational purposes only. OnDeck and its affiliates do not provide financial, legal, tax or accounting advice.