How to Determine Optimal Pricing for Your Products or Services
In September of 2019, Apple unveiled the iPhone 11, featuring a dual-lens rear camera, automated night mode, and built-in support for vision, hearing, and mobility.
One of the biggest surprises of the iPhone 11 was not its technical features, but its price. The iPhone 11 started at $699, down from the iPhone XR’s previous price of $749, and signaling one of the biggest year-on-year reductions in iPhone history. Apple also implemented $150 cuts on products like the iPhone 8 and the Apple Watch. Tech specialists were quick to comment:
“The biggest news from the Apple launch was the price cut for iPhone 11,” Chris Caso, an analyst at Raymond James and Associates, wrote in a note to investors. “We view this as an admission that Apple stretched too far with the price points at last year’s launch.”
Apple executives were not afraid to adjust pricing to current customers, especially knowing it may encourage upgrades or woo digital streaming subscribers. Lowering prices also increased the likelihood of up-selling related products: people who buy iPhones are far more likely to purchase iPads or AirPods.
Pricing that is “Just Right”
What is the best strategy for pricing the products or services you sell?
At first glance, this question seems pretty straightforward. But in reality, pricing is an art. Pricing well can enhance sales and create a prospering business, while the wrong approach can alienate customers and give competitors the edge.
There are a variety of pricing strategies in business, with some psychological influences in the approach you take. Here are four models to consider.
1. Cost-Based Pricing
The most straightforward pricing strategy is “cost-plus” pricing.
This involves calculating the total costs it takes to make your product, then adding a markup to determine the final price. This method is simple, fast, and lets you quickly add a profit margin to any product.
2. Market-Oriented Pricing
Market-oriented pricing starts from a cost-based perspective but adjusts pricing up or down with an eye on the competition and the customer.
For example, after comparing your products to similar items on the market, you can consciously price your products higher and brand your products as “best-quality” or “better performing.” Conversely, companies that price products low can lure more customers or sell large volumes that easily compensate for slim profit margins.
3. Discounts and Markdowns
Discount pricing is a strategy where items are initially marked high but then sold at a seemingly reduced cost to the consumer.
This can be especially effective during seasonal demand, inventory liquidation, or when marketing to value-oriented purchasers.
4. Flex Pricing
Flex pricing (or dynamic pricing) allows businesses to manipulate sales based on current market demands.
Flex pricing is at its best on big retail days like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but can also be linked to timebound marketing strategies. Similar to what many sports teams and airlines do with ticket prices, you can manipulate prices up or down in a timebound fashion.
Coupons are another way to discretely provide dynamic pricing to a subset of prospects or customers. This allows you to attract new users or build momentum during seasonal promotions while remaining profitable.
Dynamic pricing can be challenging but worthwhile. In 2013, Walmart used flex pricing to change the prices of its products almost 50,000 times a month, and with this pricing model, its global sales grew by 30 percent!
Adjust as You Go
You have a great deal of flexibility in how you set prices.
And the good news is this: there is no surefire method to pricing things “just right.” Consider the current pandemic situation, your target customers, eyeball the competition, and hone your marketing to match the pricing strategy you pursue. Experiment, adjust, and see what works for your business.