How to Price and Promote your Product for International Markets
Product pricing is an essential element in determining the success of your eCommerce products. But often, businesses only consider pricing as an afterthought - they settle and use the first price that comes to mind, copy competitor pricing, or (worst of all) just guess.
This post will provide you with the pricing strategies you need to create a reliable, international pricing structure for your products.
Why Pricing and Promotions are Crucial for eCommerce
Do you know what the most important feature that drives purchase decisions is?
You guessed right: pricing. In fact, 80% of buyers say that competitive pricing is the most critical store feature that drives purchasing decisions.
Clearly, price is an essential buying factor for consumers. But humans are irrational, and many subconscious factors drive purchase decisions.
The reason Rolls Royce can get $300,000-$500,000 per car isn’t that they have materials worth that price tag - they’re selling reputation.
Your business's brand is one of those nebulous things that’s hard to quantify. But it’s your most important asset. Your brand determines whether your products will sell at a discount or a premium.
Customers have price expectations about your products before they visit your store and other stores. Their decision on whether or not to buy is driven by the perceived gain or loss that they experience.
The difference between price expectations and actual price is crucial to consider when planning pricing and promotion strategies.
Using Price to Manage Stock & Inventory
Pricing is intricately related to demand and supply. Generally, to control your stock levels, you should increase prices when you have a shortage and decrease costs when you have a surplus.
Top Ways to Price Your Product (Pros and Cons)
Because pricing is so intricately tied to your business’s KPIs and overall success, you need a pricing strategy.
Here are the top ways to price your product:
Cost-plus pricing and markup (simple markup)
One of the simplest ways to price your product is cost-plus pricing.
Cost-based pricing is straightforward. You calculate the total cost it takes to produce your product, then add a markup in the form of a percentage to determine the final price.
For example, let’s say you’ve created a product with the following costs:
Material costs = $30
Labour costs = $10
Overhead = $10
Total Costs = $50
Then, you add your markup percentage. Let’s say it’s a 50 percent markup, known as keystone and a standard in the retail industry, according to Entrepreneur. To calculate the final price, you would take the total cost of $50 and multiply it by 1.50, giving a retail price of $75.
If you wanted to throw in a little psychological pricing, you could add .99 to make it $75.99 or even $79.99.
Competitive pricing (match competitors)
Competitive pricing, also referred to as market-oriented pricing, compares similar products from competitors in the same market.
You set your product’s price higher or lower than your competitors, depending on how your product matches up to your competitors.
Here are the three strategies you can take for competitive pricing:
Price above your competitors: Intentionally pricing your product above your competitors to brand yourself as having a higher-quality product.
Copy market: Selling your item at the same price as your competitors to stay competitive and maximize profit.
Price below your competitors: Intentionally pricing your product below your competitors to attract price-sensitive customers to you instead of your competitors.
Premium pricing (building a premium brand)
Premium pricing is a strategy that involves pricing your products above your immediate competition. The purpose of premium pricing is to position your brand as being just that bit higher in quality than the rest.
Remember the example on Rolls Royce? Many luxury brands use premium pricing to set high prices and keep them there.
The best way to incorporate a premium into your pricing strategy is to emphasize the subconscious drivers that make customers buy your products.
The benefits of premium pricing are obvious - you increase profit margins and position your brand as reputable and valuable. But you could also be voluntarily pricing out some of your market share and leaving yourself vulnerable to undercutting from your competitors.
How Your Promotions Will Impact Your Pricing Strategy
Many factors will directly affect your product’s pricing. It’s vital that you view your pricing strategy as something fluid and transforming instead of something static.
Prices that fluctuate and change with the market, seasons, and global eCommerce dates will increase revenue and decrease consumer surplus.
Seasonal sales and promotions are one of the best ways to attract more customers to your eCommerce store.
Line pricing discounts
A product line is a group of related products, differentiated by pricing and features. Setting products at different price points allows your customers to purchase products most likely to fit their needs and purchasing power.
Line pricing discounts allow you to position your products with the best features and quality at high price points while keeping a base product on sale as a lower-priced alternative.
A great example of this is clothing. Outlets are likely to have product lines based on the material and tailoring quality of different items of clothing.
If you had a product line consisting of leather jackets, faux leather jackets, and canvas jackets in the same collection, they would all have different prices to make the quality differentials obvious.
Free gifts for minimum spend (boost AOV)
One of the best ways to increase your eCommerce store’s overall health is to boost your average order value (AOV).
And one of the best ways to get your customers to make larger purchases is to provide something free in exchange for a minimum spend. This could be a free gift, free delivery, or a discount code for their next purchase.
One of the biggest deal-breakers for online shoppers is hidden shipping costs that appear in the last stage of their buyer’s journey. Offering free shipping with a minimum spend is a great way to increase AOV and revenue.
Bundling is self-explanatory: it simply means bundling together various items to sell them as a product kit.
If you have a set of items that can be sold separately but sell better together, why not go ahead and group them together into more easily consumable collections?
Bundling helps increase your store's efficiency by decreasing marketing and distribution costs. A product bundling strategy can significantly increase profits, and it’s also a great way to increase your average order value.
Note: Australian eCommerce brand BedHead Hats increased their AOV by 100% through bundling.
A volume-based discount or quantity-discount is offered by sellers to incentivize customers to make larger purchases.
Now, the question is: how much should you discount for a given quantity? To keep track of things, you need a discount schedule that outlines amounts and percentages.
For example, for 30 pieces of an item, a customer qualifies for a 10% discount, 60 pieces of an item qualify for 20%, and so on.
How Your Pricing and Promotions Strategy Needs to Change in International Markets
For international markets, pricing is one of the essential elements of your marketing.
Consumers in different markets have different perceptions of your products, so you need to consider these things:
Different base pricing expectations for your product category
In the first section, we touched on how customers have price expectations about your products before visiting your store and how it affects their purchasing decisions.
Now, when selling in international markets, you have to take the pricing expectations of consumers in your target market into serious consideration. A consumer in China will likely have a radically different pricing expectation than an Australian consumer for the same product.
So how do you determine what consumers in your target market are expecting to pay?
You either test the market using different channels and pricing points or you do market research and analyze the price points your competitors are selling at.
Different promotion expectations
Global eCommerce dates differ in countries around the world. That means your promotions and pricing should reflect and take into account these key dates.
An essential but often-overlooked detail when selling in international markets is the fact that many holidays and seasonal dates are celebrated on different days in different parts of the world.
Here are some examples of key days that differ across countries:
While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the top shopping dates in the US and the Western world, Singles day is the leading shopping date in China and Asia.
Since you’re reading this, make sure you grab our global eCommerce calendar to plan your promotions throughout the year!
Re-evaluating your pricing and promotions strategy
As we mentioned earlier, your pricing strategy isn’t static. It’s a fluid, fluctuating thing that needs to change according to the context to maximize profits.
It’s not just okay to re-evaluate your pricing: it’s a necessity. Lucky for you, we built this calculator to help you experiment with your pricing!
Experiment on the impact of different promotions on your margin
Once you’ve crunched the numbers on your margins, you can use the promotion tool to see how promotions like discounts, free gifts, and bundling impact your bottom line.
Want to learn more? In this free 36-page International eCommerce Guide, we unpack everything you need to know to accelerate your international expansion plans in 2021, without breaking the bank or stretching your team too thin.
From finding your next biggest market, planning your minimum viable launch (MVL) through to scaling up your shipping, finances and team for long-term growth.
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