Penetration pricing is a competitive pricing strategy, particularly effective in attracting new customers and increasing ecommerce sales.
The simple aim of a penetration pricing strategy is to set a very low initial entry price in order to tempt potential customers into switching from the competition’s services. This is a particularly useful pricing strategy for new ecommerce products entering a saturated and competitive market. If a product has minimal differentiation from your competition, then offering a substantially lower price can be your best strategy for standing out.
One of the most common examples of penetration pricing is when you see special ‘introductory’ offers. This competitive method of pricing is great for increasing your market share and pulling in a large amount of new customers for brand awareness. Once you have made an impact in the market, the price can be raised to a more profitable amount.
Pros and Cons
Penetration pricing is brilliant for catching the competition by surprise. Offering such low prices to begin with will also encourage good product promotion through customer word-of-mouth.
However, while ecommerce sales may greatly increase, profits are likely to be negatively affected in the short-term. In addition, the low initial pricing may simply attract ‘bargain hunter’ customers as opposed to loyal long-term customers.
Introducing a loyalty program to your e-commerce store is a great way to attract repeat customers and stay ahead of your competition. In fact, a massive 55% of the world’s top retailers have a loyalty scheme in place and it has proved to be a perfect strategy for increasing e-commerce sales.
Benefits of introducing a loyalty programme in ecommerce
On average, retailers that have a loyalty program earn around an 88% higher profit, with customers visiting twice as often and spending 4 times as much money than normal. Attracting a new customer to your website is only the first step to running a successful ecommerce store, as 48% of consumers surveyed have revealed that their first-time shopping experience is the most crucial time for deciding their loyalty.
How to set up a loyalty programme
A loyalty scheme could be anything from a physical card to an online store account. Most e-commerce software includes a loyalty program feature – if they don’t already have one, then you are sure to find an e-commerce extension for it.
- Make sure to link customer accounts with a phone number or email address. This will make it easier for your customers to shop both online and in-store.
- To help increase brand awareness and website traffic, introduce rewards not only for purchases, but for non-purchases such as shares on Facebook and retweets.
- Use your loyalty program to collect and analyse customer data. You can use this information to offer targeted discounts and rewards, unique to your customers.
- Having a tiered system will give customers incentives to spend more money and reach the next level for even better rewards.
Is a loyalty programme right for my shop?
Remember, it costs retailers up to 10 times more money to get new customers in comparison to keeping old customers. However, certain e-commerce stores with narrow profit margins may not be able to afford to be so flexible with their prices. In this case – although a great way to increase ecommerce sales – you may find this strategy too damaging for your profits.
Increasing sales with free shipping
Let’s face it: Customers love free stuff. If you’re looking to increase sales online, offering free shipping is a great way to attract customers to spend more and abandon their shopping carts less. Free shipping takes away the guilt of shoppers wasting their money on delivery when they could just as easily go out and buy the same product from a high street shop themselves – for free.
Losing profit on free shipping
However, from a business point of view, sometimes free shipping can be costly and – despite increasing sales volume online – is it always worth the loss in revenue? Well, if you have a very small profit margin, then free shipping may not be the best of options. On this note, offering free profit only increases sales on a case by case basis, i.e. when the product is expensive and delivery costs low.
Small items such as books, software, video games and CDs can be shipped very cheaply, and so offering free delivery on these sorts of products is a great way to make more sales without losing too much revenue. Free shipping may also be a great way of one-upping your competitors if they don’t offer it. Either way, if you’re unsure about the impact of offering free shipping on your business, then it doesn’t hurt to make a temporary trial of it – Advertise exclusive free shipping for a limited time and see how your profits and online sales fair.
How to increase sales online
- When increasing sales for online businesses with low profit margins, you need to be a little stingier with free shipping offers. Increasing your sales online in this instance, does not necessarily mean it’s going to be good for your revenue. The best way to tackle free shipping in this case, is to only offer it on a minimum order value, a value that will make the cost to you economically worthwhile. This method in itself can sometimes be a good way of increasing sales and tempting customers into spending more to save on shipping.
- When increasing sales for online businesses with high profit margins, free shipping is usually a highly feasible tactic that you should definitely take advantage of. Unless the product you sell is extremely heavy and costly to ship, the slight profit loss in postage is a small cost compared to the great savings customers will see themselves making. Free shipping has proven to reduce shopping cart abandonment markedly and increase online sales much more.
- When increasing sales for online businesses that sell rare and in-demand items, you can afford to be a little greedier in your tactics. With little competition to contend with, you can easily get away with increasing your prices to cover your losses on free shipping. This way, sales will increase as customers are enticed by the free shipping without knowing that the delivery cost is actually hidden in the product price.
Psychological Pricing Explained
Psychological Repricing is a dynamic price updating method typically used to adapt a pre-established ballpark figure for your final selling price. In other words, to adjust prices after you have worked out your costs and required profit margins (using cost plus pricing, for example). Psychological pricing goes a little deeper, delving further into customer habits and perceptions.
Price optimisation with psychological repricing
The most common, everyday use of psychological automatic price updating in business today, is the dropping of prices so that they end in 99 or 95 pence or cents. This gives customers the impression that the product is cheaper and so a little more guilt free and assuring to purchase. After all, £19.95 seems much more appealing to spend than £20.
Many customers have a tendency to notice the left most digits more so than the right digits. Therefore, £19.99 seems much closer to £19.00 than it does to £20. Furthermore, numbers in their twenties seem much larger than those in their tens, even if it is just by a few pennies. This is known as the left digit effect.
Benefits of psychological repricing
At just a small cost of literally pennies to your business, optimising prices using this method is a highly successful way to increase sales. You can continue price tracking competitors and use automatic price updating with the Repricing Company to keep your prices even more ‘psychologically’ desirable for customers. An easy way to increase sales!
For online businesses, setting the right price for your product is one of the most important decisions involved when increasing sales. One of the biggest factors involved in setting product prices is the prices offered by your competitors.
Competitive pricing is a product pricing method based on the prices of competing businesses. This can involve repricing your products above, below or the same as your competition’s. However, usually, competitive pricing is associated with undercutting the product prices of your competitors. It’s important to choose the right method when repricing competitively – price too high and you’ll lose sales, price too low and you may end up losing money. Typically in competitive business sectors, it is the larger companies who tend to set a price leadership role that wise smaller business will follow.
Types of competitive pricing
- Below Competition Repricing - Repricing products to undercut competitors is usually used for ‘stealing’ customers from other businesses. If you are careful not to undercut so much so that you end up making a loss, then this is a great method for increasing sales. Apart from a larger customer base, another great benefit of higher sales is an increased market share. However, repricing below competition does have it’s disadvantages too. This kind of pricing strategy can create a hostile business environment with your competitors. In many cases, this will lead to price wars – not an ideal long term route for businesses involved.
- Above Competition Repricing - Online business that price above competitors are usually seen as the market leaders in their product sector. Higher pricing methods are typically used to increase reputation and brand image, or to give the impression of a premium product of higher quality and uniqueness.
- Parity Pricing - Parity pricing is one of the safest repricing methods where the business sets their product price to be the same as their competitors. When charging the same price as your competitors, it would be wise to make your business more appealing or convenient for customers in some other way. This can be the simplest thing such as a more user-friendly website design, free shipping or inviting refund policies.
When repricing competitively, it’s important not to be too aggressive in your pricing methods as this can be considered as Predatory Pricing. This involves lowering prices for the sole purpose of driving competitors out of business, which is actually illegal practise. However, offering lower prices than your competitor simply because you can afford to do so – this is a completely healthy form of competitive repricing.