It’s no secret that small businesses play a vital role in the US economy. However, most non-employer small businesses average just $44,000 a year in annual revenue, with many of these companies earning $25,000 or less. While various factors can affect a business’ revenue potential, one of the most important is the pricing strategy utilized by its owners.
Good pricing strategy helps you determine the price point at which you can maximize profits on sales of your products or services. When setting prices, a business owner needs to consider a wide range of factors including production and distribution costs, competitor offerings, positioning strategies and the business’ target customer base.
While customers won’t purchase goods that are priced too high, your company won’t succeed if it prices goods too low to cover all of the business’ costs. Along with product, place and promotion, price can have a profound effect on the success of your small business.
Here are some of the various strategies that businesses implement when setting prices on their products and services.
1. Pricing at a Premium
With premium pricing, businesses set costs higher than their competitors. Premium pricing is often most effective in the early days of a product’s life cycle, and ideal for small businesses that sell unique goods.
Because customers need to perceive products as being worth the higher price tag, a business must work hard to create a value perception. Along with creating a high-quality product, owners should ensure their marketing efforts, the product’s packaging and the store’s décor all combine to support the premium price.
2. Pricing for Market Penetration
Penetration strategies aim to attract buyers by offering lower prices on goods and services. While many new companies use this technique to draw attention away from their competition, penetration pricing does tend to result in an initial loss of income for the business.
Over time, however, the increase in awareness can drive profits and help small businesses to stand out from the crowd. In the long run, after sufficiently penetrating a market, companies often wind up raising their prices to better reflect the state of their position within the market.
3. Economy Pricing
Used by a wide range of businesses including generic food suppliers and discount retailers, economy pricing aims to attract the most price-conscious of consumers. With this strategy, businesses minimize the costs associated with marketing and production in order to keep product prices down. As a result, customers can purchase the products they need without frills.
While economy pricing is incredibly effective for large companies like Wal-Mart and Target, the technique can be dangerous for small businesses. Because small businesses lack the sales volume of larger companies, they may struggle to generate a sufficient profit when prices are too low. Still, selectively tailoring discounts to your most loyal customers can be a great way to guarantee their patronage for years to come.
4. Price Skimming
Designed to help businesses maximize sales on new products and services, price skimming involves setting rates high during the introductory phase. The company then lowers prices gradually as competitor goods appear on the market.
One of the benefits of price skimming is that it allows businesses to maximize profits on early adopters before dropping prices to attract more price-sensitive consumers. Not only does price skimming help a small business recoup its development costs, but it also creates an illusion of quality and exclusivity when your item is first introduced to the marketplace.
5. Psychology Pricing
With the economy still limping back to full health, price remains a major concern for American consumers. Psychology pricing refers to techniques that marketers use to encourage customers to respond on emotional levels rather than logical ones.
For example, setting the price of a watch at $199 is proven to attract more consumers than setting it at $200, even though the true difference here is quite small. One explanation for this trend is that consumers tend to put more attention on the first number on a price tag than the last. The goal of psychology pricing is to increase demand by creating an illusion of enhanced value for the consumer.
6. Bundle Pricing
With bundle pricing, small businesses sell multiple products for a lower rate than consumers would face if they purchased each item individually. Not only is bundling goods an effective way of moving unsold items that are taking up space in your facility, but it can also increase the value perception in the eyes of your customers, since you’re essentially giving them something for free.
Bundle pricing is more effective for companies that sell complimentary products. For example, a restaurant can take advantage of bundle pricing by including dessert with every entrée sold on a particular day of the week. Small businesses should keep in mind that the profits they earn on the higher-value items must make up for the losses they take on the lower-value product.
Pricing strategies are important, but it’s also important to not lose sight of the price itself. Here are five things to consider, alongside your strategy, when pricing your products.