Fairy tale pricing

September 25, 2008

One of the hardest things to get right when you have a new product or service is pricing.

It requires a beautiful mix of art and science. And, even when you think you have it right something changes and it’s probably all wrong again.

I’m no expert. Far from it. But there are a few tips I’ve picked up over the last few years of watching people who are much better at it than me.

1. Experiment

When you stick to one price you only find out about one point on the demand curve. So, don’t be scared to change the price.

There are lots of ways that you can do this. You don’t have to pick just one.

Some examples:

2. Step away from your rational brain

Look around and see that most prices end in a 9. The reason this works is not rational, and can often be difficult for smart technical people to get their heads around, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it.

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_pricing

3. Remember “Goldilocks”

You know the fairy tale – the little bear’s porridge is too cold, and the big bear’s porridge is too hot, but the middle bear’s porridge is just right.

Seth Godin calls this “triangulation“.

Think about how you can provide different price points. If you currently have only one price point think about how you can introduce a new variation of your product at a cheaper price, and another (with additional features or benefits) at a higher price. The idea is to use these new options to make your existing price look “just right”, so it doesn’t necessarily matter if not many people actually choose them or not.

Obviously this is not a full list.

What other evil tricks pricing techniques have you seen or used?

If you’re interested in the behavioural economics of pricing I recommend a book called Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. I have a free copy to give away courtesy of Fishpond.  To go in the draw just add a comment below – the best pricing suggestion wins. 

Related links: