Having an effective e-commerce pricing strategy is one of many key differentiators between B2C and B2B web stores. The reason is simple: While a B2C pricing strategy is usually built on impulse purchasing, B2B web stores need to think more strategically about the way they sell their goods.
Can you build loyalty while tapping into the “FOMO” that is so effective in driving conversions in B2C? Is it possible to protect brand integrity and loyalty while remaining competitive on your pricing?
Read on to discover the top e-commerce pricing strategies in B2B e-commerce and get insights into the common pitfalls to avoid.
What are pricing strategies in B2B e-commerce?
In B2B e-commerce, pricing strategies refer to the many ways in which B2B products might be sold online with specific relation to their cost.
Choosing the right pricing strategy for your business depends on a number of factors, such as production costs, revenue goals, average order value (AOV) and lifetime customer value.
When you hear the term “pricing strategy”, it’s simple enough to think immediately of discounts. However, the reality is a little more complicated, and based on what your buyers are looking for.
According to the new B2B Buyer Report, customers want full visibility on pricing as they’re making purchase decisions. 55% of B2B buyers say that they need to see their business’ agreed prices with their suppliers when ordering online, while 94% state they also need information on their agreed payment rules and methods.
It’s clear that transparency is a crucial part of an effective B2B e-commerce pricing strategy.
5 e-commerce pricing strategies to help you drive conversion
Navigating the vast landscape of e-commerce requires a blend of innovation and strategy. Employing the right approach not only appeals to your target audience but can also significantly boost conversion rates.
Below, we explore five e-commerce pricing strategies designed to enhance your online market presence and help you hit your web store goals.
1. Competitor pricing
Competitor pricing involves analyzing the prices set by direct competitors in the market and using this information to set or adjust your own prices. This strategy ensures that a business remains competitive and relevant, especially in markets where price plays a significant role in purchasing decisions.
The B2B context
While B2B purchase decisions are often driven by long-term relationships, we know from the data that 74% of B2B buyers said they would switch suppliers if another B2B web store offered a better experience.
Ensuring you’re in line with competitor offerings and can model your pricing in a way that is reflective of the market can open you up to prospects and help you retain customer loyalty.
2. Value-based pricing
Value-based pricing is a strategy where prices are set based on the perceived value of a product or service to the customer rather than the cost of production or what the market dictates. This approach requires a deep understanding of your customer’s needs, the value your product or service provides, and how much customers are willing to pay for that value.
The B2B context
For organizations who cannot be flexible about the way their pricing is structured, value-based pricing can help bring customers across the finish line. Crucial elements here include transparency, a focus on your product descriptions, and a customer journey that stresses the added value your organization brings.
3. Price skimming
Price skimming is a tactic commonly employed in B2C e-commerce. It involves setting a high initial price for a new product or service and then gradually lowering it over time. This strategy seeks to capitalize on early adopters willing to pay a premium before targeting more price-sensitive segments of the market as the price drops.
The B2B context
Price skimming can be especially useful for B2B organizations looking to recover development costs of newer products. It’s an e-commerce pricing strategy that can allow organizations to position themselves as a ‘premium’ brand and can allow you to segment customers based on their willingness to pay for a given product.
4. Penetration pricing
Penetration pricing is a strategy where a product or service is introduced to the market at a notably low price to quickly gain a large customer base, increase market share, and establish presence. Once this foothold is secured, prices can be adjusted upwards or additional revenue streams can be introduced.
The B2B context
For B2B organizations that are just establishing their web stores or have a digital-first strategy in place, penetration pricing can be especially impactful. Though margins using this e-commerce pricing strategy might be thin, it can nevertheless create a high-volume sales that ensure you’re breaking even and hitting targets.
5. Bundle pricing
Bundle pricing is a common strategy used by B2B organizations. It involves offering multiple products or services together at a price lower than the total if purchased separately. This strategy encourages customers to buy more by perceiving a greater value in the combined offer, even if individual items may not be initially on their purchase radar.
The B2B context
Bundle pricing can be a beneficial e-commerce strategy, since solutions that involve multiple complementary products are common. Benefits can include an increased sales volume, more effective inventory management and improved cross-selling opportunities.
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How to choose the right pricing strategy for your business
Once you’ve become familiar with the various pricing strategies you can employ for your business, settling on the ideal approach can make all the difference between impactful profitability and brand perception.
Here are a few considerations and insights to guide you in selecting a fitting pricing strategy for your business:
Analyze competitor pricing
Before setting your own prices, it’s vital to understand the pricing landscape within your industry. This analysis can also help identify gaps in the market or areas where value can be added to justify a different price point.
Understand your costs
Before any pricing strategy can be effectively implemented, it’s paramount to have a comprehensive grasp of your costs. This encompasses both fixed costs (like rent, salaries, and utilities) and variable costs (such as materials, production labor, and shipping).
Define your objectives
Every business operates with a set of goals, be it maximizing profit, increasing market share, fostering customer loyalty, or positioning a brand in a particular market segment. Your pricing strategy should align with these objectives.
Establish what motivates your customers
Understanding the driving factors behind customer purchasing decisions is crucial. This involves delving into the perceived value, pain points the product addresses, and the emotional or rational triggers that lead to a purchase. For some B2B customers, factors like post-sales support might be more important than the upfront cost.
Common pricing strategy pitfalls to watch out for
Pricing strategies play a crucial role in a company’s profitability and market position. However, even the best strategies can become ineffective if common pitfalls aren’t avoided. Here are some of the most prevalent pricing strategy pitfalls businesses should be wary of:
- Underestimating your costs: Failing to account for all costs, both direct and indirect, can lead to prices that are too low to sustain the business.
- Ignoring the competition: While you shouldn’t base your entire strategy on competitors, being oblivious to their pricing can be detrimental.
- Devaluing your brand: Constant discounts or aggressive low-price strategies can erode the perceived value of a product or brand.
- Failing to communicate value: If customers don’t understand the value behind a product or service, they may perceive it as overpriced.
- Ignoring customer segments: Recognizing the different needs and willingness to pay among customer groups and adjusting pricing or offers accordingly can optimize revenue.
Mastering the art of e-commerce pricing is no small feat. As we’ve explored, each strategy—be it competitor-based, value-driven, skimming, penetration, or bundling—comes with its unique set of benefits tailored for specific business goals and market conditions. The challenge lies not just in picking the right strategy, but also in deftly sidestepping the common pitfalls that can undermine even the most well-thought-out approaches.
By understanding your costs, defining clear objectives, and keeping a keen eye on what truly motivates your customers, you can harness the power of pricing to drive conversions and secure a competitive edge in the bustling digital marketplace.
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