7 Pricing Strategies That Improve Profit by Bobette Kyle

Pricing strategies are a sometimes-overlooked part of the marketing mix. They can have a large impact on profit, so should be given the same consideration as promotion and advertising strategies. A higher or lower price can dramatically change both gross margins and sales volume. This indirectly affects other expenses by reducing storage costs, for example, or creating opportunities for volume discounts with suppliers.

Other factors also determine your optimal pricing strategy. Consider the five forces that influence other business decisions: your competitors, your suppliers, the availability of substitute products, and your customers. Positioning how you want to be perceived by your target audience is also a consideration. Price a premium item too low, for example, and customers will not believe the quality is good enough. Conversely, put too high a selling price on value lines and customers will purchase competitors’ lower-price items.

Some pricing strategies to consider are …

Competitive pricing.

Use competitors’ retail (or wholesale) prices as a benchmark for your own prices. Price slightly below, above or the same as your competitors, depending on your positioning strategies. Note you must collect competitor pricing information by observation rather than by asking them. Otherwise it could be seen as collusion, which is illegal in the U.S.

Cost plus mark-up.

This is the opposite of competitive pricing. Instead of looking at the market, look at your own cost structure. Decide the profit you want to make and add it to your costs to determine selling price. While using this method will assure a certain per-unit margin, it may also result in prices that are out-of-line with customer expectations, hurting total profit.

Loss Leader.

A loss leader is an item you sell at or below cost in order to attract more customers, who will also buy high-profit items. This is a good short-term promotion technique if you have customers that purchase several items at one time.

Close out.

Keep this pricing technique in mind when you have excess inventory. Sell the inventory at a steep discount to avoid storing or discarding it. Your goal should be to minimize loss, rather than making a profit.

Membership or trade discounting.

This is one method of segmenting customers. Attract business from profitable customer segments by giving them special prices. This could be in the form of lower price on certain items, a blanket discount, or free product rewards.

Bundling and quantity discounts.

Other ways to reward people for larger purchases are through quantity discounts or bundling. Set the per-unit price lower when the customer purchases a quantity of five instead of one, for example. Alternately, charge less when the customer purchases a bundle or several related items at one time. Bundle overstocks with popular items to avoid a closeout. Or, bundle established items with a new product to help build awareness.


Versioning is popular with services or technical products, where you sell the same general product in two or three configurations. A trial or very basic version may be offered at low or no cost, for example, with upgrades or more services available at a higher price.

Make smart use of these pricing strategies and your bottom line will soar!