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Tiered Pricing: What It Is and How to Use It

As a business owner, one of the first things you need to figure out is how to price your products or services. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting out, tailoring your pricing strategy goes a long way when it comes to profitability.

If you're looking to meet various customer needs and budgets, a tiered pricing structure might be the right choice for you. Read on and find out how to use it to optimize both customer satisfaction and your revenue.

What is tiered pricing?

Tiered pricing is a pricing model that implies different price points for products or services. It is based either on quantity or the volume of a product or service the customer purchased. In other words, the more products they buy and the more services they use, the lower the price per unit. 

The purpose of tiered pricing is to encourage customers to make higher-volume purchases. This can be done in a number of ways, but the most common is to offer a lower price for a basic level of product or service. As additional features or benefits are added, the price goes up as well.

The benefits of tiered pricing

The reason why tiered pricing is an effective strategy for businesses is because it attracts a wider range of customers with different needs and budgets. For example, individual customers may prefer to stay in lower tiers and pay less, while enterprises find it more cost-effective to use higher tiers for their more extensive requirements.

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That said, the key to successful tiered pricing is to ensure that each level offers something that is genuinely valuable to the customer. When done correctly, tiered pricing is an effective way to:

  • Maximize revenue by letting customers select the level that works best for them. As a result, you can both accommodate the customers in lower tiers and get additional revenue from the ones willing to pay more.
  • Encourage upgrades by offering access to additional features and benefits.
  • Improve customer satisfaction by giving them the level of service that aligns with their needs and budget.
  • Collect valuable data on customer preferences, usage patterns, and customer behavior. You can then use this information to create accurate customer segments and refine your pricing strategy.
  • Increase customer retention by providing customers with customized offers based on their needs. Besides being more likely to remain loyal, satisfied customers are also more likely to recommend your brand, leading to improved word-of-mouth marketing.

How to create an effective tiered pricing strategy

Pricing is one of the most important aspects of any business, yet it is often one of the most difficult to get right. There are a lot of factors to consider, and it can be hard to know how to set prices that will maximize profitability.

A tiered pricing model involves creating different price points for different products or services, based on factors like quality or features. For example, you might have a basic product with fewer features at a lower price point, and then a more premium product with more features at a higher price point. 

This can help you to better match your prices to what customers are willing to pay, and ultimately increase your profits. So, if you're considering using tiered pricing in your business, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Market research

A tiered pricing strategy starts with understanding the market and your customers. Market research will help you discover your target customers' needs, preferences, and purchase behavior. Once you've defined your target customer base, you can start thinking about price levels that would appeal to each group.

2. Cost analysis

There's no point in selling a product or service if your cost of producing or delivering them is higher than the profit. So, make sure your offer is sustainable even in the lower tiers to maintain healthy profit margins.

cost analysis

3. Defining tiers

Once you have your numbers in order, define your different pricing tiers. You can do this by considering relevant metrics, such as the number of users, order quantity or usage volume. Naturally, the number of tiers will vary depending on the complexity and diversity of your offer.

4. Setting the price

When you have the tiers in mind, it's time to assign them a price. To do this effectively, consider the benefits and the perceived value of each level. Make sure the price difference from one tier to the next is attractive enough to encourage customers to upgrade.

5. Value proposition

For a tiered pricing model to work, it's essential to clearly communicate the value proposition. Make sure to focus on the benefits of each tier, explain why upgrading to a higher one makes sense, and how it addresses their specific needs.

price vs value

6. Performance analysis

Another thing to keep in mind is that a tiered pricing strategy can't be set in stone. That's why you need to regularly monitor and analyze the its performance. That way, you can see which tiers are more popular and which ones need adjustments.

7. Incentivizing customers

Finally, offering incentives such as discounts is an effective way to encourage customers to move up to higher tiers. What's more, implementing a smooth and straightforward upgrade process makes it easy for customers to transition between tiers.

Tiered pricing examples

Now that you know what tiered pricing is and all the benefits it can bring to your conversion rates, it's time to see it in action. Here are five real-world examples of tiered pricing models to inspire your strategizing.

1. SaaS companies

Many SaaS companies (including us) use a tiered pricing structure based on features and the number of users. At Better Proposals, we opted for three tiers that best represent our customer base:

  1. Starter plan for freelancers and individuals
  2. Premium plan for small businesses
  3. Enterprise plan for large sales teams
better proposals tiered pricing

In addition to that, we also offer a discount on an annual subscription. That way, we make sure our customers can find pricing options that best suit their budget.

2. Telecommunication companies

Cell phone plans are another everyday example of a tiered pricing model. More often than not, telecommunication companies offer a set price based on the amount of mobile data, text messages, and talk time included.

AT&T tiered pricing example

3. Cloud storage services

Cloud storage providers usually create pricing tiers based on storage space and features. For example, Dropbox has as much as six tiers, both for personal and professional use. In addition to that, they also offer monthly and yearly billing, and their pricing page displays guides customers to the plan with the best value for money.

Dropbox tiered pricing
Dropbox pricing tiers

4. Shipping services

With shipping services, pricing tiers are usually determined based on the package weight and delivery distance. For that reason, FedEx offers a shipping cost calculator that helps customers figure out the price in advance.

FedEx shipping calculator

5. Utility rates

When it comes to utilities, some electric companies have tiered pricing based on consumption. In addition to that, some companies offer reduced electricity prices at slow times of the day, usually late at night.

Final thoughts

By segmenting customers based on their preferences and needs, tiered pricing is a win-win solution for you and your customers. However, following these simple steps to develop and implement tiered pricing in business is only the beginning. 

Remember: the goal is to create a pricing structure that works for a broad range of customers while encouraging them to opt for higher-value tiers. That's why continuously refining your approach based on customer feedback and market trends is crucial for any tiered pricing strategy to work. 

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Patricija Šobak's profile image
Patricija Šobak puts her talent in spotting questionable grammar and shady syntax to good use by writing about various business-related topics. Besides advocating the use of the Oxford comma, she also likes coffee, dogs, and video games. People find her ability to name classic rock songs only from the intro both shocking and impressive.