11 Pricing Strategies for eCommerce to Implement Today

27 min. read
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Pricing has a massive impact on sales. Obviously!

I mean, just think back to the last time you bought something online.

Did you consider pricing when trying to choose one product over another? I’m sure you did.

After all, why pay more for no reason? We all want that value for money product.

And you’d be among the vast majority of online shoppers.

In a recent survey of retailers by SPS Commerce, 68% agreed that pricing was the biggest factor that influenced online shoppers.

Even though it’s super important, pricing is something that many new dropshippers and eCommerce store owners overlook.

In the excitement of launching a store, it’s easy just to adopt a simple cost-based approach. But this isn’t always the best way to go about it.

Your pricing strategy should encompass your goals and branding - not just your bottom line.

So how do you go about creating a winning eCommerce pricing strategy?

That’s what we’re going to reveal in this guide.

We’ll explore the 11 most used eCommerce pricing strategies so you can explore your options. You’ll learn the pros and cons of each and how to choose the right one for your eCommerce store.

And we’ll also look at five examples so you can get some inspiration from successful brands.

Ready to find the right price for your dropshipping product?

Let’s get into it.

What are pricing strategies in eCommerce?

eCommerce pricing strategies are a key part of running a successful online business. If you can find the right balance between costs and pricing, you can maximize sales and the profit you make per transaction.

However, pricing can also help you achieve other business goals. For example, a luxury brand will often price higher to emphasize the quality and exclusivity of its products. You can also use a discount strategy, bundle deals, and other pricing strategies to boost customer loyalty or increase average order value.

Pricing strategies are about much more than just setting a price tag. They impact everything from market positioning and profitability to customer loyalty and brand perception.

11 eCommerce pricing strategies

There are a bunch of ways you can use pricing strategies for your ecommerce store.

Do you want to:

  • Boost sales revenue?
  • Increase the value of each order?
  • Set your brand apart from the competition?

The right pricing strategy can help you achieve all of these goals and more.

In this section, we’ll review 11 tried and tested pricing strategies. You’ll learn how they work, the benefits, and the potential drawbacks.

Some are great for beginner dropshippers. But there are a few you should avoid until you’ve built up a loyal customer base.

Let’s kick things off with the simplest and most used strategy.

1. Cost-based pricing

Cost-based pricing, also known as cost-plus pricing, is a strategy that applies a fixed percentage profit margin to the total cost of the product.

It’s super simple.

Just calculate your costs and add your profit margin markup to reach the price for your product.

As a dropshipper, you don’t have to cover as many costs as a brick-and-mortar store. That’s one of the biggest benefits of the dropshipping business model!

There’s no store rent or high staffing costs. But, you’ll still need to consider the cost of running your eCommerce business and marketing fees.

Think about your store hosting costs, Facebook Ads, and the other ways you invest in your store. It’s also important to think about your time investment. You’ll need to write the production description, ad creative, and upload the product to your store.

Once you know these costs, add them to the cost of buying the product from the merchant. Then apply your profit margin.

That’s the basics of a cost-plus pricing strategy.

✅ Cost-based pricing pros

It’s easy to get started with cost-based pricing. You can see exactly what you can expect to make per sale. And when you add new products to your store, you can quickly work out pricing and start selling. That’s why cost-based pricing is so popular.

❌ Cost-based pricing cons

Cost-based pricing is a low-risk strategy. But it can leave you open to competitors undercutting you. Whatever niche you have chosen for your store, there will always be competitors targeting the same buyers.

If your margins are too high and shoppers can find your products cheaper elsewhere, you’ll lose out on sales.

2. Competition-based pricing

Competitor-based pricing is about looking at how much your competitors charge for similar products. By taking a deep dive into your competitors’ pricing strategies, you can establish the average price.

This will enable you to make an informed decision about how to price your product.

For example, you can offer the lowest price to try and attract new customers or differentiate your brand with a higher price if your product is unique or has an additional feature or benefit.

You can also price your product in the middle as the “goldilocks” option. Not too expensive, but not too cheap.

✅ Competition-based pricing pros

By pricing your products based on what your competitors charge, you can attract new customers to your store. It’s also pretty easy to research competitor pricing. You don’t need to spend all day trawling the web!

A quick Google search can show you how much your competitors charge for similar products.

❌ Competition-based pricing cons

It’s always beneficial to know what your competitors are doing, but competition-based pricing can be difficult if you’re new to the niche or unable to find products cheaper than your competitors.

That’s where tools like SaleHoo Labs and Directory can really save you time by helping you find the best suppliers.

3. Market-based pricing

Market-based pricing is similar to a competition-based strategy but with one key difference. It focuses on competitors AND demand.

This strategy is about evaluating the broader market situation to determine pricing. For example, if there is a significant demand for a product and a limited supply, you may be able to increase your margin and make more per sale.

The way Toyota and Honda price similar cars is a good example of market-based pricing. Both car manufacturers know how much customers are willing to spend on a new vehicle, and they adjust their selling price accordingly.

A market-based pricing strategy allows you to sell above, below, or at the average market price based on customer demand.

Another great example of market-based pricing is the rush to buy trending toys in the runup to Christmas.

Back in 2016, hatchimals were the must-have Christmas toy. Parents went into a buying frenzy trying to find the interactive toy for sale, and the price skyrocketed on marketplaces like Amazon and eBay due to the increased demand.

✅ Market-based pricing pros

This strategy can be an excellent way to maximize revenue while keeping your pricing competitive.

You can see what your competitors are charging for similar products and adapt your approach depending on your goals and the broader market conditions. It takes demand into consideration so you can maximize revenue by remaining flexible.

❌ Market-based pricing cons

Market-based pricing can be lucrative, but measuring demand accurately is challenging. Consumer preferences can change quickly, and there’s no guarantee that demand will be consistent.

It’s also tricky for dropshippers or eCommerce businesses to get the same insights as a global retail brand and judge the broader market conditions. You can embrace elements of this strategy, but you might struggle to adopt a full market-based approach like Honda or Toyota.

💡 Pro Tip: One of the best ways to judge the demand for a product is to use a product research tool like SaleHoo Labs. You can use the trends graph to see the popularity of products and determine if it’s worth your time selling. It also shows you the sell rate so you can see how well other sellers are doing with the product on Amazon, eBay, and AliExpress.

4. Value-based pricing

Value-based pricing determines the maximum amount customers are willing to pay for a product.

Shoppers are willing to pay more for products based on the brand reputation, ethical considerations, and other factors.

For example, the latest Global Sustainability Study 2021 revealed that 34% of shoppers are willing to pay more for sustainable products or services.

Generally, consumers are also willing to pay more for products made from higher quality materials or a higher production standard. Sometimes the brand name alone is enough to increase the perceived value.

✅ Value-based pricing pros

Value-based pricing can be an effective strategy to maximize profitability. You can increase your margins so that you make more per sale. This type of pricing can work well if your store has a strong brand identity or eco-friendly credentials.

❌ Value-based pricing cons

It’s not easy to successfully roll out a value-based pricing strategy. Many major brands invest significant resources into consumer research to discover the best value-based pricing strategy for their products.

Even the most successful dropshippers don’t have anywhere near the same resources as Apple or Nike. You can experiment with pricing using A/B testing, but finding the right price point can take time.

5. Dynamic pricing

Dynamic pricing is a flexible approach that allows you to adapt your pricing strategy based on customer demand. You can increase or reduce your pricing based on sales.

So if there is a surge in sales, you can increase your pricing to boost your profits. If you’re experiencing a slow period, you can reduce the price to increase sales.

The price is dynamic and increases or reduces based on demand.

Uber is an excellent example of a company that uses dynamic pricing. In areas where there is a sudden surge in customers, Uber implements “surge pricing.” For example, if thousands of people leave an event and turn to Uber for a ride, the app will automatically increase the pricing in the area.

This approach maximizes revenue for Uber without harming sales.

✅ Dynamic pricing pros

Dynamic pricing allows you to maximize profitability by adapting your pricing based on sales volume. It can be a good way to capitalize on spikes in demand. If sales volume drops, you can reduce your pricing.

Dynamic pricing can also be combined with other pricing strategies to keep your pricing competitive.

❌ Dynamic pricing cons

Dynamic pricing works well in some situations. But it can also tank your conversions.

If your customers know that pricing will likely drop soon, they may hold off on a purchase. It can also frustrate your existing customers if they see that pricing has significantly reduced shortly after purchasing.

It can also be challenging to continually adapt your pricing. You can use tools to automate some of these tasks, but it’s not a beginner-friendly strategy.

6. Price skimming

Price skimming is a strategy where the price is initially higher before gradually reducing over time as demand decreases.

You can capitalize on demand for a new product, and reduce the price to appeal to a broader audience later.

This strategy can work well for some types of products.

For example, technology products are typically priced higher on initial release. However, the product becomes less desirable over time as new models are made available, and the price reduces.

✅ Price skimming pros

Price skimming can work for products that have an exceptionally high demand. It’s a popular pricing strategy for technology and seasonal products.

If you’re Apple selling the latest iPhone, price skimming can work.

You can maximize profit and then make your product more accessible to budget-conscious consumers when the demand has started to drop.

❌ Price skimming cons

It’s difficult for a dropshipping store to implement a successful price skimming strategy.

Major technology brands can use price skimming as there is a massive demand for their new products. However, it’s hard to capitalize on price skimming if you don’t have an existing customer base or an exclusive product.

Unless you can get an exclusive deal with a manufacturer or distributor, price skimming might not be the best strategy for you.

7. Bundle pricing

Bundle pricing is a simple strategy for selling multiple products in a bundle for a discounted price.

Bundling, as an effective discount strategy, leverages the psychology of perceived value to encourage purchases. By offering complementary products or services together at a slightly discounted price compared to purchasing them individually, sellers create a compelling incentive for customers to buy more, making it a very useful discount strategy.

Bundling satisfies the consumer's desire for convenience and value, as they perceive they are getting more for their money. Additionally, it can help sellers move slower-moving inventory or introduce new products to customers by pairing them with popular items. This discount strategy not only increases the average order value but also enhances customer satisfaction by offering a comprehensive solution or package deal, making it a powerful tool for boosting sales and fostering customer loyalty.

Walk down the cosmetics aisle in any Walmart, and you’ll find bundle pricing for lots of products. You’ll also see bundle pricing in most fast-food restaurants.

This could be multiple units of the same product, like a buy 1 get 1 free offer, or a selection of complementary products. For example, a laptop might be bundled with a case, wireless mouse, and keyboard.

✅ Bundle pricing pros

One of the biggest advantages of bundle pricing is that it can help you sell some of your less popular products. Bundling products can be an effective way to boost the average order value of your store and increase sales revenue.

Many beauty brands use this tactic. Once a shopper has tried a new product as part of a bundle, there’s a good chance they will continue to use it and make a repeat purchase when they run out.

Getting shoppers to overcome the initial barrier to purchase is often the hardest part of running a successful ecommerce store.

❌ Bundle pricing cons

Product bundles can be a great way to increase sales revenue. But it can make a dent in your profit margins. The product bundle needs to provide a significant discount strategy to be appealing to shoppers.

💡 Pro Tip: This pricing model sometimes doesn’t lend itself well to dropshipping. If you bundle products together, you’ll need to ensure they are sold by the same supplier. Bundling products together from two different suppliers is tricky as you will need to charge separate shipping fees. Shoppers will often abandon a purchase if they discover they need to pay double shipping costs.

8. Premium Pricing

Premium pricing is a strategy for luxury brands and those targeting the top end of the market. A premium pricing strategy aims to create a perception of quality and status by setting prices above competitors.

Technology and fashion brands often use premium pricing to protect their market share and increase the perceived value of their products. For example, think about how RayBan sunglasses or Tom Ford clothes cost so much more than similar products.

The people that buy premium products are often buying into the status or perception that comes with owning the expensive item. This can be a good way to market white label products and items that are exclusive to your brand.

✅ Premium pricing pros

If you sell luxury or high-end products, premium pricing can be a great way to differentiate your brand and increase margins. It can also help to protect your brand from new competitors looking to enter the market.

❌ Premium pricing cons

People are willing to pay a premium for certain types of products. According to a recent Statista survey, 45% of people are willing to buy premium clothing and shoes, but only 7% are willing to purchase premium toys and baby products.

You need to pick the right niche and build your brand for premium pricing to work. A penetration pricing strategy may be more effective if you’re a new dropshipper looking to enter a market.

9. Loss leader pricing

Loss leader pricing is a strategy for selling a product at a loss to encourage shoppers to buy from your store. The product being sold at a loss is known as a loss leader.

Although the loss leader is sold below cost, this strategy can still be profitable if shoppers buy other products from your store.

For example, Gillette often sells its razors at a loss. But customers need to replace razor blades with refills regularly. These repeat purchases are where Gilette makes a profit.

Supermarkets also use loss leader pricing to bring shoppers into the store. By placing the loss leader at the back of the store, shoppers need to walk past other products before they can find the item. This can lead to impulse purchases on higher profit items.

✅ Loss leader pricing pros

A loss leader pricing strategy can be a great way to enter a market and quickly grow your customer base. It can also be effective if you have a wide range of products that will appeal to shoppers that come to your store for the loss leader.

If you want to use this strategy but minimize the loss, you could combine a loss leader with a more lucrative product in a bundle pricing strategy.

❌ Loss-leader pricing cons

A loss leader strategy can only work if you manage to convert your new buyers into loyal customers or sell other products to cover the loss. It can be a risky strategy for a new eCommerce store and is generally used by larger brick-and-mortar retailers.

10. Anchor pricing

Anchor pricing is a simple strategy that shows shoppers how much they could save by purchasing a product at a discounted price. The new price is displayed next to the original price.

Amazon and other online retailers often use this pricing strategy. 

You can also display the product’s price next to a more expensive alternative. This instant visual comparison can encourage conversions.

For example, cinema concession stands often use anchor pricing to encourage customers to purchase more.

How many times have you bought a medium or large bag of popcorn because the smaller-sized option looked like a worse deal?

That’s anchor pricing in action.

✅ Anchor pricing pros

Anchor pricing can be an effective way to guide consumer purchasing decisions. It helps shoppers compare the value of each option. If you choose the right pricing comparisons, you can nudge customers towards purchasing the most lucrative option.

❌ Anchor pricing cons

It’s important not to lose credibility and trust by overvaluing your products with an anchor eCommerce pricing strategy. If savvy customers become aware of the strategy, you risk losing trust and shoppers walking away from your store.

Nobody likes to feel like they are being manipulated by deliberate overpricing.

11. Penetration pricing

Penetration pricing uses a lower initial price to grow the customer base and increase market share quickly. The low price encourages shoppers to switch to your brand.

Once you have increased market share, you can raise pricing to boost your margins. Netflix is a great example of how to use penetration pricing.

This type of strategy is often used by new market entrants looking to scale quickly. You can use penetration pricing to differentiate your brand and build your customer base.

✅ Penetration pricing pros

One of the biggest challenges for many consumer brands is getting shoppers to overcome the initial barrier to purchase. Once customers have bought from you, they are more likely to buy from you again.

That’s why this strategy can be super effective.

Penetration pricing can also create goodwill among customers and boost positive word of mouth to increase brand awareness.

❌ Penetration pricing cons

Penetration pricing is usually a temporary strategy to quickly increase market share. The challenge is to increase pricing without losing customers - not an easy thing to do!

Many shoppers attracted by penetration pricing are searching for bargains. Unfortunately, these shoppers often show little brand loyalty if your product is similar to a cheaper alternative.

12. Subscription-based pricing

Subscription-based pricing involves charging customers a recurring fee for a regular delivery of a product or product bundle.

Most eCommerce stores that use this model offer different pricing tiers to cater to the needs and budgets of their customer base. You’ll also need to consider offering a discount strategy in exchange for sustainable revenue for your business.

Native is an excellent example of an eCommerce company that uses subscription pricing. Their deodorant product is something that customers will regularly use and need to replace, so a subscription model makes sense for the brand. In exchange for signing up for a subscription, customers receive a 25% discount.

✅ Subscription-based pricing pros

The most significant benefit of subscription-based pricing is predictable revenue. You receive regular payments from your customers, making it easier to plan your finances. 

Subscriptions are also a great way to foster customer loyalty. You can include freebies or trial products in your packaging to encourage shoppers to try more of your range and increase average order value.

❌ Subscription-based pricing cons

Churn rate is the biggest challenge you’ll face with subscription-based pricing. Many stores make a loss on the first subscription order to get customers to sign up. However, if you experience high customer turnover, it can be challenging to achieve sustainable growth.

13. Similar products, different prices

Imagine you have two different, yet similar, items that have the exact same acquisition costs.

How would you price them? The same, right?

Wrong. According to a report by the Journal of the Association for Psychological Science, introducing small differences in price to similarly valued items increases the incentive for buyers to purchase. In other words, putting the same price on similar products can cost you in net sales.

Not what you’d expect, is it?

Let’s take an example. If you have two pairs of same-brand shoes that cost the same, but one has a stripe while the other one has a star, you have two pairs of similar items that logically should have the same tag price. However, studies show that marking one as $24 and the other as $26 will result in at least 30% more sales across the board.

Buyers may choose one or the other depending on their perception of value (some believe the “premium” item has more value, while others will go for the “bargain” to save money), but the end game is more sales.

The home appliance brand Whirlpool often uses this strategy. The parent company also owns the competing brand Roper. The Roper products are often very similar to Whirlpool and only lack a few features. However, the Whirlpool product is always priced higher than the Roper alternative.

✅ Similar products, different price pros

You can boost overall sales by tailoring your pricing to different customer perceptions. Your pricing helps to differentiate similar products in the eyes of consumers. It also allows you to experiment with pricing without significant risks.

❌ Similar products, different price cons

Customers might perceive the pricing strategy as unfair if the products are almost identical. You need something unique that adds to the perceived value of the higher-priced product.

14. The power of 9

It doesn’t make sense, but numerous studies show that a price ending in 9 is a powerful tool for conversion. According to this study, ending a price tag in 9 appears to magically drive buyers to purchase an item, even when it’s juxtaposed to the exact same item (not ending in 9) with a lower price.

However, it’s not as simple as sticking a 9 at the end of all your prices. Based on the same study, the 9-ending works best for new offerings and is less effective for items on sale.

You’ll see this eCommerce pricing strategy used by almost every big box retailer. For example, if you look at any category page on Best Buy’s website, you’ll see the power of 9 in action.

For each new item you offer, make an initial price ending in 9. You can change your prices later when you get new items to sell.

✅ The power of 9 pros

It’s almost guaranteed to boost conversion rates. Prices ending in ‘9’ have a proven track record of attracting more buyers. It’s also straightforward to implement. It can make a significant impact with minimal effort.

❌ The power of 9 cons

The ‘9’ strategy is less effective for products already on sale. There’s also a risk of overuse. Customers might start to see the strategy as a gimmick if everything in your store is priced with a 9 at the end.

15. Psychological pricing

Psychological pricing strategies can make your product pricing more appealing and effective. These strategies leverage consumer psychology to influence purchasing decisions.

There are a bunch of these strategies, but we’re going to focus on two of the most used - currency symbols and rounded numbers.

A study by researchers at Cornell University demonstrated the significant impact of currency symbols on consumer spending. When the dollar sign was removed from prices on a cafe menu, customers spent 8% more. This suggests that a currency symbol triggers a pain-of-paying response, leading consumers to perceive prices as higher than they actually are.

And despite what you’ve just read about the power of the number 9, there is evidence that rounded numbers perform better in some scenarios. A Journal of Consumer Research report indicates that consumers prefer rounded numbers for purchases driven by emotion. For example, someone buying a table for their child is more likely to purchase at a rounded price of $100, compared to a non-rounded price like $98.56. This preference for rounded numbers seems to connect with the subjective experience influencing decision-making, where the price “feels right.”

You can see this eCommerce pricing strategy in action at Pottery Barn. The Lovevery Play Gym is priced at $140 as it fits the profile for a rounded-price emotional purchase.

Pottery Barn uses traditional pricing models like $4.99 for more practical, utility-driven products.

✅ Psychological pricing pros

Using psychological pricing can make a significant impact on sales if used effectively. You can leverage the emotional appeal of your products and improve the customer experience by making your pricing easier to process.

❌ Psychological pricing cons

These strategies vary in effectiveness depending on the market and product type. You need to understand your target audience and your products. You could risk losing out on sales if you apply these strategies in the wrong scenarios.

What factors come into play when deciding which eCommerce pricing strategy to use

Setting a pricing strategy isn’t as exciting as creating a new brand or building a new store. But it can be a powerful tool when implemented smartly and for the right products.

So how do you know which pricing strategy is right for your business?

Well, it depends on your unique circumstances.

The pricing strategy for a luxury watch brand will be very different from a budget cleaning products brand.

In this section, we’ll discuss the three most important factors you should consider when deciding on a pricing strategy.

Define your objectives

First, you need to define where you want to take your eCommerce store.

What does success look like for you?

Before you adopt any new pricing strategy, define your objectives. Then, you can start to pinpoint the strategies that will be most beneficial.

If you’re starting out and looking to scale, you’ll want to focus on pricing strategies that can help you grow your customer base quickly.

For a more established store that generates a good chunk of revenue per month, you may want to increase your margins or boost the average order value with bundles and other promotions.

Know your customer

The next step is to define your ideal customers by creating buyer personas. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer.

Sometimes also known as a customer persona, a buyer persona serves as a vivid portrait of your ideal audience, meticulously crafted from research and data analysis. Constructed with details such as demographics, behaviors, interests, and pain points, they humanize your target market.

By empathizing with these personas and tailoring your marketing efforts to resonate with their needs and desires, you can foster stronger connections and drive more impactful business outcomes.

This will help you identify the key characteristics that can guide your pricing strategy.

You can look at their financial situation and how much they are willing to spend on your product.

If you’re in a crowded niche, you may discover that your competitors have already worked out the maximum a customer is willing to pay and adjusted their strategy accordingly.

You can also look at how your customers perceive your product. What problem does it solve, and how much are people willing to pay to achieve that benefit?

If you sell a best-in-class product that fills a specific need, you don’t want to confuse shoppers and dilute your brand image with bundled or discounted pricing.

Your competitive business advantage

Almost all successful brands have something unique that makes them different from the rest of the market. This could be a unique feature, exceptional customer service, or something else your customers value.

This attribute is a ‘unique selling point’ (USP).

The best way to understand what a USP is and why it matters to your pricing strategy is to look at an example.

Domino’s Pizza has one of the most well-known USPs in history. The company built entire advertising campaigns around the USP for decades.

“Fresh, hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.”

They didn’t promise the best-tasting pizza or the lowest price. But they did tap into a key attribute that people look for in takeaway pizza: speed.

For your dropshipping store, you can’t own the fulfillment process like a typical retailer.

But you could base your USP on your product selection, ethical manufacturing, unique custom branding, or another aspect that your competitors will struggle to replicate easily.

If you can offer something your competitors can't, you can charge a premium for your products.

Cost of goods sold (COGS)

COGS is all the money you spend to get your product ready to sell. Let’s say that you’re selling t-shirts. Your COGS would include everything from buying the t-shirt from a supplier, shipping it to your store, storing it until someone makes a purchase, and then shipping it to the customer.

In simple terms, COGS takes into account every cent you spend to make your product available to your customers.

So why is COGS important for eCommerce pricing? 

Well, it helps you determine the lowest price you can sell your product for without losing money. If you know it costs you $10 to get a T-shirt to your customer, selling it for less means you’re making a loss. Not good for business, right?

You want to make sure you’re covering your costs and making a profit. That’s how you keep your business running and growing.

It’s important to note that COGS isn’t just a one-time thing. It can change. Maybe the cost per t-shirt increases, or shipping gets more expensive. So, you need to keep track and adjust your prices if your costs go up or down.

Market demand

Market demand is super important because it can have a big influence on how you price your products. When demand is high, you’ve got more room to experiment with higher prices. 

If everyone’s after the latest smartphone, the company selling it can charge a higher price because people are willing to pay. But, if only a few people are interested, you might need to lower the price to make it more attractive to buyers.

It’s not just about the number of people wanting your product. You also need to think about how badly they want it. If your product is something they really need, they might be willing to pay more for it.

But here’s the thing, market demand can change. And it can change fast. Remember when Ray-Ban launched a pair of smart glasses in 2021? There was a lot of hype and a huge demand. But just a couple of years later, the product seems to be dead. The demand collapsed.

So, you’ve got to keep an eye on what’s happening in your market and adjust your prices if you see the demand going up or down.

Competitor pricing

You can’t ignore what your competitors are doing. Knowing what competing businesses are charging gives you a guide on what prices work in your market.

It’s not just about copying what others are doing. Your pricing shouldn’t just be a reaction to your competitors. Instead, it’s more about understanding the ‘why’ behind their prices. Maybe they’re charging more because their product has some extra features, or maybe they’re cheaper but not as good quality as yours.

Keep an eye on what your competitors are doing with their pricing. But remember that your prices should reflect your product’s value and brand.

Brand positioning and value proposition

Brand positioning is all about how your brand is seen in the eyes of your customers. Are you seen as high-end or more about offering great value? Your brand positioning influences what customers expect from you and how much they will pay for your products.

You also need to consider your value proposition. This is more about the specific benefits your products offer. For example, your product might last longer than competing products, or you might use sustainable materials. Your value proposition is the reason people choose your product over others.

So, how do these fit into pricing? 

Well, your prices need to match your brand positioning and value proposition. If you position your brand as a luxury option, your prices should be higher to match that image. And if you’re offering unique value, you might be able to charge more for the extra benefits your product provides.

Seasonality and market trends

Seasonality can have a big impact on market demand and eCommerce pricing. For example, products like toys always experience an increase in demand during the holidays. That’s why you can charge more during the peak season -  people are really looking for these items. But during the off-season, when demand drops, you might need to lower prices to keep things moving.

Then there are market trends. These are overall trends that shape the demand for certain products. For example, eco-friendly products have seen a big increase in demand over recent years. If you catch a trend early, you might be able to set higher prices because you’re offering something fresh and in demand.

5 Real pricing strategy examples used by actual companies

The best way to get to grips with pricing strategies is to learn from real-world examples.

We’ve covered the theory above. Now let’s see how these strategies play out for real.

In this section, we’ll look at five top brands and how they implemented pricing strategies to win new customers, increase profits, and achieve their business goals.

1. Dollar Shave Club

Dollar Shave Club is one of the most well-known disruptors. The company has gone from strength to strength through its powerful marketing campaigns and aggressive penetration pricing strategy.

The online shaving brand priced its products cheaper than more established in-store competitors. It then used massive advertising campaigns across social media and TV to get in front of potential customers and show the price difference.

Because of the subscription model, Dollar Shave Club maintained a high average customer lifetime value which offset the cost of the penetration pricing model.

By 2016, Dollar Shave Club had successfully increased its market share and was eventually purchased by global cosmetics giant Unilever.

2. Gucci

Gucci is one of the most recognizable luxury brands in the world. And it uses premium pricing to make its range of handbags, clothing, and accessories stand out from competitors.

The brand commands a high price for its products, targeting wealthy consumers willing to pay the premium cost for a Gucci product. Buyers are looking for the status of owning a Gucci product, not just the product itself.

The Italian fashion house also restricts third-party retailers from discounting its goods to protect the premium pricing model.

3. Sony

Sony is one of the most noticeable examples of a price skimming strategy. When the consumer electronics company launched the Sony Playstation 2, it opted for a more conservative market-based approach.

The PS2 launched with a price tag of $299, which was similar to competing games systems and most DVD players. This proved a big success as the PS2 was a massive hit around the globe.

When it came to the launch of the PS3, Sony used a price skimming approach as it had already built up a loyal customer base. The initial launch price was $599 before it was eventually reduced in price each year until it could be purchased for $299 the year it was discontinued.

4. Apple

Apple has made value-based pricing integral to its strategy. It has a huge loyal customer base willing to pay a high price for its range of products. Its brand reputation means Apple can charge more than its competitors for similar products.

The technical specs and capabilities of the latest iPhone are similar to more affordable products. But Apple customers are part of a wider community around the brand. Customers can also access Apple Genius Bar customer support to help with any issues with their purchases.

There is an element of premium pricing at the top of its range, but Apple uses value-based pricing for most of its products.

5. Huawei

The Chinese technology company has adopted a competition-based pricing model for its range of consumer products. This has enabled Huawei to capture a large share of the global smartphone market.

Huawei brings high-quality products to the market and sets pricing below most of its competitors. It targets all market segments with affordable products and some high-end products to compete with flagship products from competitors Apple and Samsung.

As of 2022, Huawei is the 4th most popular smartphone manufacturer globally.

Next steps you can take and how to maintain an optimized pricing strategy

We’ve covered the main pricing strategies for eCommerce, the factors you should consider, and examined some real-life examples.

Hopefully, you now have a good idea of which methods you want to implement on your site.

So, what’s next?

Here are some bonus steps to make your pricing strategy even more effective.

Experiment with pricing that uses fewer syllables

A price with fewer syllables is perceived as lower. It might seem strange, but humans are psychologically wired to think of a price like $25.00 with fewer syllables as lower than a more extended syllable price like $24.85.

You might not believe it, but there’s plenty of academic research to back it up. Check out the study by Clark University to see for yourself.

When customers can quickly process the numbers, they can make a faster purchasing decision.

You can use this tactic to experiment with round pricing for your eCommerce business.

Try really specific prices

Okay, this goes against what we just discussed, with fewer syllables being a good thing. But sometimes, a specific price can work better in certain product categories.

A super specific price like $124.76 can outperform a rounded price like $125.

This usually works best for technology products.

Shoppers can perceive the rounded price as higher than the product’s actual value. They think it’s a number you have made up rather than a fair price.

The University of Florida looked into this with a 2008 study.

People perceive the specific price as being calculated on the production cost and materials that go into the product. They think it’s a fair price based on the true value.

If you sell gadgets or technology products, try specific pricing and see how it impacts conversions.

A/B Test the best price

Setting your pricing strategy isn’t a ‘once and done’ process. Instead, it’s something you’ll need to revisit regularly to maximize sales and profitability.

One of the best ways to keep on top of your pricing strategy is through A/B testing.

A/B testing is something you should be doing with your checkout process, sales copy, and other aspects of your eCommerce store.

But it’s also something you can use to determine the best pricing strategy.

There are many paid and free tools to help you get started with A/B testing, including Google Optimize.

Here’s how the process works.

You create two versions of your product page with two different prices. Then, you split the traffic you generate with half of the visitors going to the new price and half to the original price.

By comparing the conversion rates of the original and new prices, you can see whether to make the change permanent.

You may discover that your conversion rate drops slightly.

But this isn’t always a bad thing.

For example, if your new higher price generates more revenue, it could be the more lucrative option. Sometimes, a lift in the retail price can significantly impact your revenue while only causing a slight drop in total sales.

How to conclude which pricing strategy works for you

So now you know everything you need to create a winning pricing strategy for your eCommerce store.

The next step is to choose the right strategy for your dropshipping business and start making sales.

You can experiment with different strategies across your range. But always think about your overall brand image and how you want to be perceived by your customers.

It’s also vital to remain agile. Like everything else, pricing can change over time, and your strategy should evolve too.

If you want to learn more about what it takes to run a successful eCommerce store, check out SaleHoo Educate. It breaks down everything you need to do to create a winning store in easy-to-understand and straightforward steps.

Have questions on how you can fast-track your store’s growth? Our 24/7 first-class customer support will always be on hand to help as you work your way through the training and launch your store.


About the author
George Drennan

George is a writer specializing in eCommerce and marketing. With his expert knowledge, he has created lots of content for SaleHoo, and has over 10 years of hands-on experience working on campaigns and strategy for leading brands. With a data-driven approach, he empowers companies to stand out, drive targeted web traffic, and generate sales.

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