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Pricing Strategies: Uncommon Industry Practices

Here at Prisync, we talk a lot about pricing strategies. Afterall, our product is an eCommerce price comparison software.

In the past, we’ve written about competitive pricing, dynamic pricing and omnichannel pricing as viable options you should try for your eCommerce store.

These are common pricing strategies and probably used by many of your competitors.

In this article, however, we’re going to take a look at some uncommon ecommerce pricing strategies you can try. By nature of the strategies listed below, not all of them will work for every business model.

But we hope this article gives you some inspiration for how you can use pricing to your advantage and stand out against your current and future competitors.

Let’s dive in,

Pay what you want pricing

This is uncommon ecommerce pricing approach often used by musicians and artists whose main customer base understand the time, effort and processes involved in producing the work they do.

Using this method of pay what you want often encourages fans and supporters of the company, business or artist to pay well above and beyond what they would normally pay if they’d set their prices.

uncommon ecommerce pricing strategies

For example, Philadelphia Museum offers a pay what you want entrance fee on Wednesdays between a certain time.

It’s a great approach is it means some people who might be alienated from the world of art due to high prices can access the same cultural events that other people can.

This also works in another way as well. Think about when you book a holiday from a travel site. You fill in your details like max price, type of board etc and you’re shown the hotels and holiday packages that best fit your budget and holiday plans.

uncommon ecommerce pricing strategies

In the above example, I have chosen to pay between £130 and £170 per night, therefore I am shown hotels within this price range.

There is, therefore a minimum price threshold you need to hit in order to be able to go on the holiday, but usually, that price isn’t visible to you.

Had there not been any locations available for my chosen price or dates, I’d wouldn’t be able to browse any hotels.

In this sense, I am choosing the price that works best for me and I’m only shown the results that fit my needs.

Avoid pricing entirely by offering your products for free

Reading this section title, your first thought is probably something around “how do I make any money if I’m offering my products for free?”

Well actually, there are various ways you can actually increase your profits by offering products for free. This is most commonly seen in the software industry where companies will give software away for free and the customer is then charged for further premium features if they want to use them.

For eCommerce stores, this normally manifests through the loss leader tactic where you lure people to your store by offering them a free product only to upsell or cross-sell further products when they are actually on your store.

ecommerce pricing strategy

In the above example, customers can get the ring for free they just pay shipping. Now, if you like the look of the ring and would be happy to pay a normal price for it, just paying for shipping seems like a bargain.

What’s more, once you’re on the site, you are likely to look around for other things you might want to buy considering you ‘saved’ money on the ring.

You can also use this approach for consumables. Nespresso, for example, might offer a free sample of Nespresso coffee pods, knowing that for someone to be able to use them, they need a Nespresso compatible machine.

Avoid bundles

We’ve spoken before about product bundling and how this can be a useful way to sell more products.

But what about the opposite effect.

What if you had products that could be sold as bundles, but instead you sold them as individual items?

You’d make more money, that’s for sure.

But how do you do this effectively without alienating your customers? The truth of it is, when you bundle your products together, the seller often has the best advantage. When you offer each item individually, the buyer often has the best advantage. This is because unbundled prices allow the buyer to pick exactly what they want and need. Whereas for most bundled approaches, the margin is made by offering customers some of what they want.

Think about it like this. If you stayed in a hotel that cost $850 per night, and you were then charged $10 for water, that would seem extreme.

But if you were charged $860 and water was included, it wouldn’t feel too bad.

But for many product bundles, the bundle is packed with things the buyer doesn’t actually need. So see if being transparent and offering customers full control over what they buy will help you sell more.

Take the dollar store approach

How much do the items cost in the dollar store? No, that wasn’t a trick question. Their set prices mean that when you enter the store, the price isn’t even an option. If you go to that store looking for something, you’re already ready to buy before you enter as the price is set.

Is there a way this could work in eCommerce? Sure. Imagine you were a sunglasses retailer and instead of having different prices like Hawkers, you had a flat rate $30 deal where each pair of sunglasses was $30

This way when a customer lands on your site, their only thought is “do i like the style of these sunglasses” not “are these sunglasses work the price”.

Netflix, as well as other subscription services, are a great example of the flat fee model.

You can get premium Netflix for just £9.99 per month, every single month. This works well when you have a service like Netflix that encourages customers to come back and use the product again and again.

You’d be much less likely to go on Netflix if you had to pay per minute of each show you choose to watch.

Uncommon ecommerce pricing strategies takeaways

There are loads of different pricing strategies you can implement into your business, some more popular than others.

In this article, we’ve touched upon some uncommon ecommerce pricing strategies to see if they could in any way work for your business.

Not every approach mentioned here will be right for your business, and before you jump in blind and start implementing them, consider whether your business model lends itself to support the particular strategy.

Have you used any uncommon ecommerce pricing strategies? Leave a comment below.


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