eCommerce Pricing Models: A Guide for Pricing Managers

Best practices in price monitoring 7.6.2024. Reading Time: 5 minutes

In eCommerce, well-thought-out pricing strategies are crucial when it comes to meeting your sales goals. From attracting customers to maximizing profits, choosing the right pricing model is crucial for businesses aiming to thrive in competitive markets.

In this guide, we’ll look into various pricing models tailored for eCommerce professionals and pricing managers, helping you navigate the complexities and make informed decisions.

pricing models

Distinction between pricing strategies and pricing models

Although pricing strategy and pricing model are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a distinction between these terms.

In essence, pricing strategy sets the direction and objectives for pricing decisions, while pricing models define the specific methods and mechanics of implementing those decisions.

Pricing strategies are long-term, strategic frameworks that guide overall pricing objectives, while pricing models are tactical tools used to execute those strategies in day-to-day operations. 

Let’s understand the basics and take a look at several examples of the application of pricing strategies to compare them with the pricing models’ application.

Pricing strategies are crucial for positioning a brand within the market. For example, a premium pricing strategy positions a product or service as high-quality or exclusive, while a penetration pricing strategy aims to gain market share by offering lower prices.

To gain a competitive edge, businesses, for instance, utilize a value-based pricing strategy focusing on the perceived value of a product or service to customers. 

Pricing strategies are aligned with long-term business goals. Whether the objective is to maximize profitability, increase market share, or foster customer loyalty, pricing strategies provide a roadmap for achieving these goals over time.

At the same time, pricing strategies need to be flexible and adaptable to changes in market conditions, consumer behavior, and competitive landscape. 

Definition of pricing models

A pricing model refers to the specific method or approach used to determine the actual prices for products or services. It’s the mechanism through which prices are calculated and implemented, often in alignment with broader pricing strategies.

Application of pricing models

For comparison purposes and a deeper understanding of the difference between the two concepts mentioned above here is a list of scenarios where pricing models typically apply:

  • Tactical implementation – pricing models provide the structure and methodology for setting prices based on factors such as production costs, market demand, competitor prices, and customer value perception.
  • Customer segmentation – different pricing models may be applied to different customer segments based on their preferences, purchasing behavior, and willingness to pay. For example, a business might use subscription pricing for recurring customers and dynamic pricing for first-time buyers.
  • Product or service attributes – pricing models are tailored to the specific attributes of the product or service being offered. For instance, digital products may use pay-per-use pricing, while physical products may employ tiered pricing based on features or quantities.
  • Revenue optimization – pricing models are designed to optimize revenue and maximize profitability. Businesses may experiment with different pricing models to identify the most effective approach for achieving their revenue targets.
ecommerce pricing strategies

Most common pricing models used in eCommerce

In eCommerce, businesses often rely on a variety of pricing models to attract customers, maximize revenue, and stay competitive in the digital marketplace. Here are some of the most common pricing models used in eCommerce:

Fixed pricing

This is the simplest pricing model where products are offered at a fixed price. Customers pay the same amount regardless of factors like demand, supply, or customer characteristics. It’s straightforward to understand, making it popular for many eCommerce businesses.

Dynamic pricing

Dynamic pricing involves adjusting prices in real-time based on various factors such as demand, supply, competitor pricing, time of day, and customer demographics. Algorithms and data analytics are often used to automate price adjustments, maximizing revenue and profitability.

Subscription pricing

Subscription pricing involves charging customers a recurring fee for access to products or services over a specified period. This model is commonly used by streaming services, software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies and eCommerce platforms offering regular deliveries of consumable goods.

Tiered pricing

Tiered pricing offers different pricing tiers based on various product features, quantities, or levels of service. Customers can choose the tier that best fits their needs and budget, providing flexibility and catering to different segments of the market.

Pay-Per-Use pricing

This model charges customers based on their usage or consumption of a product or service. It’s commonly used for digital goods such as cloud storage, online courses, or pay-per-view content, where customers pay only for what they use.

Bundle pricing

Bundle pricing involves offering multiple products or services together as a package deal at a discounted price compared to purchasing items individually. It encourages customers to buy more items and can help increase average order value.

Freemium pricing

Freemium pricing offers a basic version of a product or service for free, with the option to upgrade to a premium version with additional features or functionality for a fee. It’s often used by software companies and mobile app developers to attract users and upsell premium features.

Marketplace pricing

In a marketplace model, sellers set their prices for products or services, and the platform takes a commission on each sale. This model is commonly used by eCommerce marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy.

Dynamic discounting

Dynamic discounting involves offering discounts that are dynamically applied based on various factors such as purchase history, cart value, or promotional events. It helps incentivize purchases and improve conversion rates.

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How do you choose the right pricing model?

Selecting the most suitable pricing model requires a deep understanding of your target market, product offerings, and business objectives. For starters here are some factors you should consider when choosing between pricing models, or when building one from scratch:

  1. Market dynamics – analyze market trends, competitor pricing strategies, and consumer behavior to identify opportunities and threats.
  2. Customer segmentation – segment your customer base based on demographics, purchasing behavior, and preferences to tailor pricing strategies effectively.
  3. Profitability goals – determine your desired profit margins and revenue targets to guide pricing decisions and ensure sustainable growth.
  4. Flexibility – choose pricing models that offer flexibility to adapt to changing market conditions and customer demands.
  5. Data-driven insights – leverage data analytics and pricing optimization tools to gather actionable insights and refine pricing strategies over time.

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Drive growth and profitability in competitive markets

Effective pricing strategies are indispensable for eCommerce professionals and pricing managers seeking to drive growth and profitability in competitive markets. By understanding the nuances of different pricing models and aligning them with business objectives and market dynamics, businesses can optimize revenue, enhance customer satisfaction, and gain a competitive edge in the digital marketplace. Experiment, analyze the data you gather, and continually refine your pricing strategies to stay ahead in the dynamic world of eCommerce.


Marijana Bjelobrk
Marijana Bjelobrk is a Marketing Manager who has been writing for Price2Spy since November 2021. She graduated BBA at Oklahoma City University in May 2020, majoring in marketing.