Value-based pricing (also value optimized pricing) is a pricing strategy which sets prices primarily, but not exclusively, on the value, perceived or estimated, to the customer rather than on the cost of the product or historical prices. Where it is successfully used, it will improve profitability due to the higher prices without impacting greatly on sales volumes.
The approach is most successful when products are sold based on emotions (fashion), in niche markets, in shortages (e.g. drinks at open air festival at a hot summer day) or for indispensable add-ons (e.g. printer cartridges, headsets for cell phones). Goods that are very intensely traded (e.g. oil and other commodities) or that are sold to highly sophisticated customers in large markets (e.g. automotive industry) usually are sold using cost-plus pricing.
The value based approach
Value-based pricing is predicated upon an understanding of customer value. In business-to-consumer markets, sellers should understand the impact their products or services have on end user utility. In the business-to-business environment, companies must know how their offering helps customers, that is other businesses, become more profitable. In many settings, gaining this understanding requires primary research. This may include evaluation of customer operations and interviews with customer personnel. Survey methods are sometimes used to determine the value a customer attributes to a product or a service. Purchase intent, win/loss analysis and financial value measurement are examples of basic research methods that can unearth customer insights during the pricing process. The results of such surveys often depict a customer's 'willingness to pay.'
The principal difficulty is that the willingness of the customer to pay a certain price differs between customers, between countries, even for the same customer in different settings (depending on his actual and present needs), so that a true value-based pricing at all times is impossible. Also, extreme focus on value-based pricing might leave customers with a feeling of being exploited which is not helpful for the companies in the long run.
Long term, by definition, prices based on value-based pricing are always higher or equal to the prices derived from cost-based pricing (if they were lower, it would mean that the actual value perceived by the customer is lower than the costs of producing the good plus a profit margin, meaning that companies would not be interested to produce and sell at that price in the long term).
However, despite being difficult in implementation, any production and any market positioning should have a consideration of the value the product brings to the customer at the very early stages of product development and is, in fact, employed by many companies.
- Value (marketing)
- Pricing strategies
- Price discrimination
- Value-based software engineering
- Variable pricing
- Relationship-based pricing
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- Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy (Google eBook), Carl Shapiro and Hal R. Varian. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
- Hunt, P.; Saunders, J. (2013). World Class Pricing: The Journey. iUniverse.
- Nagle, T.; Hogan, J. (2005). The Strategy and Tactics of Pricing, 4th Edition. Prentice Hall.
- "Engineering New-Product Success: The New Product Pricing Process at Emerson, Jerry Bernstein and David Macias" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-07-08.