There’s no shortage of options when it comes to picking a pricing strategy. The cost plus approach is an easy road to go down, where you calculate all your costs - production, distribution etc. - before adding a mark-up. It’s simple, but it overlooks dynamic factors like customer preferences and market demand.
Competitive pricing on the other hand - where you benchmark prices against your rivals - means you risk eroding profits in a race to the bottom.
You might consider a price optimization strategy, where you leverage data to set your prices based on things like demand, inventory levels and competitor pricing. But this approach may still miss a crucial element - the intrinsic value your customers perceive in your offerings.
This is where value-based pricing comes into play.
This alternative pricing strategy looks not at costs and competition but at what a product is actually worth in the eyes of the customer - i.e. its perceived value.
Say you’re in the fitness market and your hero product is a sports shoe. You do your research and find that your target customers place considerable value on the promise of enhanced performance and reduced risk of injury - and they’re willing to pay a premium for it.
You know your shoes deliver this value through superior shock absorption, innovative arch support and breathable materials. Using VBP, you’d set a price point that reflects these features and the intrinsic worth they hold for the customer.
In other words, you don’t sell a product as a mere commodity with a physical cost, but as a solution with tangible benefits - which means you can command a higher price for it while keeping your customer base happy.
Of course, value can be delivered in various ways beyond the core features of a product:
Brand reputation and trust - if you’re known for delivering consistent quality and positive experiences, you can typically command higher prices thanks to the reduced risk associated with your brand and products.
Customer service - prompt and helpful responses to inquiries, easy returns and exchanges, and attentive after-sales support can all justify a higher price point.
Delivery and shipping - offering expedited or same-day shipping, real time tracking and reliable delivery adds value through convenience.
Personalization and customization - whether it’s a shopping experience tailored to the individual or the ability to create unique products with custom design choices, both personalization and customization can add to the perceived value your brand offers.
Exclusive access or membership benefits - creating a sense of exclusivity through loyalty programs, early access to products, or special discounts is the ideal way to heighten perceived value while encouraging long term relationships.
Sustainable and ethical practice - today's consumers are willing to pay more for products sold by brands that prioritize sustainability and ethical considerations.
In a nutshell, value-based pricing moves away from a traditional transactional approach toward a customer centric model. Instead of just looking at the product and its cost, you focus on the whole experience a customer has with your brand. Then, you decide on a price that matches how much customers appreciate that experience, and what they’re willing to pay for it.
As you’ve probably guessed by this point, value-based pricing is a complex strategy to implement.
To get it right you need to understand your customers and how much they’re willing to pay for certain aspects of perceived value. On top of that, you need to get your marketing messages spot on to convince consumers that you do in fact offer that value, and that your price points are justified.
So is it worth it? In our opinion, yes, VBP is a worthwhile strategy that can yield significant benefits, including:
Increased profitability - by aligning your prices with the value you provide, you can tap into a more substantial portion of your customers' willingness to pay (WTP). This means your revenue potential isn't capped by costs, resulting in improved profit margins and a stronger financial position.
Brand differentiation - standing out in a competitive marketplace is the key to long-term success. VBP empowers you to rise above the noise by showcasing your unique value proposition, setting your brand apart and creating a lasting impression that resonates with your target audience.
Customer loyalty and retention - when customers consistently experience the value you promise, they're more likely to become loyal advocates for your brand. So as well as being a profitable pricing strategy, VBP can lead to higher retention rates, increased CLTV, and customer referrals.
Reduced price sensitivity - shifting the focus from price to value helps shield your business from constant price pressure. When customers perceive the worth of what you offer they become less fixated on discounts or bargains, protecting you from market fluctuations.
Most importantly, value-based pricing offers a long-term strategy. Unlike price-cutting tactics that may (or may not) bring short term gains, VBP sets you up for sustainable growth, as you build a reputation for delivering genuine value and consistently meeting or exceeding customer expectations.
You can’t roll out a VBP strategy without taking the time to really get to know your customers and the things they actually place value on. You need to understand their pain points, desires and expectations, and what you can deliver to fix or meet them.
You can gather this insight using REVIEWS.io Advanced Surveys. This feature lets you build custom post-purchase surveys, completely tailored to the needs of your business. The questions you include will of course be specific to your brand and products, but for inspiration here you might ask things like:
To support this insight, you can analyze review content to identify recurring themes - a practice known as review mining. Our AI Assistant makes this incredibly easy to do. Simply ask it a question - like what benefits customers value most about a certain product, for example - and it’ll extract the information you need in seconds.
By using these tools in combination, you gain a deep understanding of what customers appreciate most, and where they encounter challenges. This gives you a clear picture of the value drivers that should guide your pricing strategy.
Whilst value-based pricing is an alternative to competitive pricing, you still need to understand your position compared to your rivals - so do your research. This isn’t so much about assessing their price point but more how they justify it.
What are your competitors offering in terms of what customers value, to what extent do they deliver, and how do you stack up against them?
For example, if you know your market will pay more for exceptional customer service - and a rival hangs its value proposition heavily on this - do they follow through on that promise, or do you have a competitive advantage?
Our AI Insights Reports tool is incredibly helpful here. It provides in-depth analysis of your strengths and weaknesses against those of your competition - all based on customer sentiment gathered from across the web.
By understanding how customers perceive your competitors' value propositions, you can tailor your own VBP strategy to highlight the unique benefits that set you apart, and position your products as superior options that justify a premium price.
The success of your VBP strategy rests on how well you convey the value you offer. Online reviews obviously play a big role here but to really drive the message home, consider the following features:
Review Attributes - custom questions that you add to a review request, attributes are an ideal way to highlight specific benefits of a product (or indeed an aspect of service).
Going back to our sports shoe example, by asking past customers to rate comfort and performance, you validate your value proposition to prospective buyers and justify your price point in the process. And because they’re fully customizable, you can make review attributes work for any point of value (check out our 6 top use case examples for inspiration).
Review Nuggets - a review nugget is a snippet of text that shouts about a key benefit of your offering. It’s your customers using their own words to tell other customers that you do indeed deliver the very things they value.
And the best part about it? You can position these nuggets right next to the price you’re commanding based on that value.
UGC Galleries - visual UGC allows you to showcase real-world examples of your products in action. It’s engaging and highly persuasive, and with REVIEWS.io incredibly easy to collect, curate and publish.
With our UGC feature you can build galleries of photo reviews, video reviews and Instagram content. You can then display these on product pages or embed them into email campaigns - helping potential buyers visualize the value they’re paying for.
Value-based pricing might be a little more tricky to implement than other approaches but the benefits can be well worth the effort. When you get it right, you protect yourself from pricing pressures, eliminating the need to compete on cost alone.
Provided you get your value proposition spot on - and consistently deliver - you’ll not only secure healthy profit margins, but position yourself as a go to brand with a loyal customer base.
While we can’t offer everything you need for a robust VBP strategy, the features we do provide will certainly bolster your toolkit (and when it comes to adding value through exclusivity, there’s our loyalty platform Influence.io).
For more information on how to fully leverage the REVIEWS.io solution - including our new AI powered tools - just give our Customer Success team a shout.