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SaaS Pricing Strategy can Make Or Break Your Business

Published on

November 9, 2023

SaaS Pricing Strategy can Make Or Break Your Business

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In this article, we explain why your pricing model is crucial for your SaaS business. It forms the basis for building repeatable sales processes and generating recurring revenue.

To achieve overall growth, different goals must be accomplished within this model. This is where SaaS pricing strategies become important.

Each strategy is designed for a specific objective, such as expanding into a new market or attracting high-value customers.

What is a SaaS Pricing Strategy?

SaaS pricing strategies range from arbitrary number selection to fully optimized, value-focused plans.

To illustrate, think of pricing as a dart game. You can throw aimlessly or aim for specific points, but without data to guide your aim, you might as well be shooting in the dark.

The truth is, maximizing revenue through pricing doesn't have to be challenging. It all comes down to having the right pricing strategy.

While various strategies have their merits in different business types, value-based pricing stands as the sole viable option in the SaaS industry based on our experience.

SaaS Pricing Strategy vs Pricing Model

Let's start by clarifying the terms used in this article. It's important to distinguish between pricing models and pricing strategies:

  • Pricing model: This outlines how customers are billed for using your software. All charges are clearly displayed on the pricing page.
  • Pricing strategy: This refers to your company's internal pricing strategy, designed with short, mid, and long-term goals in mind.

A pricing strategy provides a high-level guideline on designing premium features to achieve specific product and business outcomes. On the other hand, a pricing model offers a detailed-level design for implementing the pricing strategy.

saas pricing strategy
Pricing strategies and pricing models are two different things

8 Pricing Strategies Explained

Each strategy is appropriate for a specific objective, such as rapid market expansion or attracting high-value customers.

saas pricing strategies
There are 8 pricing strategies SaaS businesses can use.

1. Captive Pricing

What is a Captive Pricing Strategy?

Captive product pricing is a strategic approach that combines a base product with add-ons, creating a customer magnet while ensuring the necessity of accessory items.

This strategy is commonly seen in coffee machines and video game consoles, where the core product requires specific add-ons.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) businesses also utilize this strategy by offering tiered options with additional features. Implementing captive product pricing requires careful consideration for optimal results.

b2b saas pricing strategy
Captive pricing is a pricing strategy used by SaaS.

Pricing Models Used for Captive Pricing

Captive product pricing in the SaaS industry can be implemented in various ways. Here are some examples:

  • Flat-Rate Pricing: Certain SaaS tools offer a straightforward pricing model with basic features, catering to small businesses and freelancers. It provides sufficient value to achieve desired outcomes. As businesses expand, they can effortlessly upgrade their account with specific features, paying only for what they utilize.
  • Pay-as-you-go: This pricing model is based on usage. The cost of a product varies directly depending on the users' requirements. For instance, a cloud service charges based on the size or duration of stored data.
  • Tiered pricing: The tiered model is the most popular captive pricing strategy. Customers can select a tier that aligns with their needs through a monthly or annual subscription. Upgrading to a higher tier offers additional features or allowances, even if only one feature from that tier is required. It is important to align your tiers with your customers' needs and growth to effectively implement this model.

Examples of SaaS Using a Captive Pricing Strategy

Below are some examples of captive product pricing for SaaS-style software products:

✅ Accounting Software: Small businesses can access a SaaS accounting software platform for a monthly subscription fee of $29.99, which includes all essential features. Users can also enjoy a discount with a 12-month subscription. Additionally, users have the option to purchase add-ons from the company's marketplace, offering expanded reporting options, expense tracking, and additional license seats to support growing businesses. This competitive pricing ensures continuous value delivery to customers.

✅ Billing Platform: In this scenario, the fees of a billing platform increase based on transaction volume. Captive functions rely on peripherals and integrations with payment services. For example, payment service, Square, operates on a usage-based model. The initial sign-up is free, and additional subscription services are available for peripheral attachments like card readers.

2. Penetration Pricing

What is a Penetration Pricing Strategy?

Penetration pricing is when companies strategically enter competitive markets by offering lower prices than their rivals. The goal is to attract customers quickly by pricing below their expectations.

This approach generates early product awareness and helps companies acquire new customers based primarily on price rather than value. As a result, businesses can capture a larger market share more rapidly compared to other pricing strategies.

pricing strategy for saas business
Penetration pricing is a pricing strategy used by SaaS.

Pros of a Penetration Pricing Strategy

Penetration pricing is a strategy commonly employed by new or lesser-known businesses. By offering products at reduced prices, these businesses can gain a competitive advantage and attract customers from the outset.

For established businesses experiencing a decline in subscriptions, penetration pricing can provide a temporary boost.

However, it is crucial to effectively communicate to long-time customers that these lower prices are only temporary, in order to avoid any feelings of deception.

👍Quick customer conversion: Penetration pricing can swiftly convert customers, particularly those who have not yet developed loyalty to any specific brand. Offering lower prices is often the most effective method to attract their business.

👍 Reinforces customer loyalty: Penetration pricing fosters loyalty as consumers directly benefit from the lower prices. However, as a company raises its prices in the long-term, there may be a compromise in this loyalty. Customers may not feel as valued if companies shift their focus away from lower prices.

👍 Enables economies of scale: Aggressive penetration pricing can lead to economies of scale. By converting a substantial number of customers, companies can increase their order quantities and build infrastructure, resulting in lower costs per unit due to manufacturing or operational efficiencies.

Cons of a Penetration Pricing Strategy

Penetration pricing is a strategy that helps companies establish themselves in competitive markets. However, it's important to be aware that offering lower prices might cause customers to perceive your service as less valuable compared to competitors with standard pricing.

👎 Challenges in building customer loyalty: While low prices attract customers, it's crucial to understand that these prices cannot be sustained indefinitely. The company aims to eventually make a profit, but strategies like penetration pricing may result in short-term losses. During this period, the company needs to temporarily cover expenses until it earns enough from customers. It's important to remember that customers enticed by low prices may leave when prices are raised. Moreover, customers attracted by a penetration pricing strategy may also leave if another penetration pricing strategy is introduced. Therefore, the company should be cautious when raising prices, changing contract agreements, or making long-term changes.

👎 Not a long-term strategy: Penetration pricing strategies are not effective for long-term success. Implementing and allocating resources to create long-term value requires initial effort. However, implementing changing strategies can be financially challenging. It's crucial to align these strategies to smoothly transition short-term customers into lifetime purchasers.

Example of a Company Using a Penetration Pricing Strategy

Netflix attracted customers by initially offering low-priced subscriptions in order to gain a significant market share. Now, as the market leader, Netflix holds 51% of streaming subscriptions in the US and has a loyal customer base, which has led to price increases over time.

saas model pricing strategy
Source: Statista

3. Skimming Pricing

What is a Skimming Pricing Strategy?

A Skimming Pricing Strategy, also known as price skimming, is a tactic used by companies to introduce new products. They start with higher prices and gradually lower them as competition increases.

This attracts early customers willing to pay more for innovative offerings. As prices adjust based on demand, the business expands its customer base.

Price skimming is commonly used by well-known brands for new product launches, but may not be suitable for every business.

saas pricing strategy pdf
Skimming pricing is a pricing strategy used by SaaS.

Pros of a Skimming Pricing Strategy

Price skimming strategies offer several benefits by allowing increased investment in research and development. In highly competitive markets, companies devote significant resources to product research, establishing market presence, and justifying higher prices.

👍 Maximizing revenue early on: By implementing price skimming tactics, companies aim to quickly recoup their investments by selling products at the highest possible price. This strategy enhances revenue and profit, enabling companies to expand their marketing and distribution efforts.

👍 Creating customer anticipation: When combined with a gradual release method, price skimming can be highly effective. Initial higher prices generate desire and anticipation for the product, particularly among those who might not have been able to afford it initially.

👍 Adjusting prices over time: Implementing a skimming strategy offers flexibility in adjusting prices based on market changes. Starting with a higher price allows companies to assess price sensitivity and maximize profit by selling as much inventory as possible.

👍 Enhancing brand image: Price skimming can shape the market's perception of a brand, associating it with terms like innovative, futuristic, and prestigious. This strategy helps cultivate a positive brand image.

Cons of a Skimming Pricing Strategy

Price skimming offers advantages, but it can also lead to a decline in the customer base. Consider the following drawbacks when employing this strategy:

👎 ​​Frustration among early buyers: Some technology enthusiasts, who eagerly acquire the latest gadgets, may feel disappointed when they witness an overnight price drop. Nonetheless, early adopters generally comprehend the risks and willingly pay a premium to be among the first.

👎 Expectation of price reduction: Frequent utilization of the skimming strategy can undermine its purpose, as potential buyers might opt to wait for a decrease in price. This can have a negative impact on your rollout strategy and revenue during the initial pricing phase.

👎 Unsustainability in the long run: While skim pricing initially boosts profit margins, it becomes challenging to sustain high prices as the market becomes more competitive. This can lead to reduced sales and a loss of customers if the higher prices are not justified over time.

4. Value-Based Pricing

What is a Value-Based Pricing Strategy?

Value-based pricing is a strategic approach that enables businesses to determine product prices based on how customers perceive their value, rather than solely considering production costs or profit margins.

The success of value-based pricing hinges on skillfully shaping the brand and framing the value proposition to influence the price customers are willing to pay.

This strategy prioritizes brand building and value presentation over the quantity of features or product quality.

To illustrate this concept, let's look at art. Imagine producing an extraordinary piece of artwork, but without the value associated with a renowned artist. Even if the artwork is comparable to the masterpieces of Picasso, customers would not be willing to pay millions for its aesthetic appearance alone.

Essentially, value is intricately linked to the creator, their story, or the narrative they have crafted, rather than solely to the creation itself.

saas product pricing strategy
Value-based pricing is a pricing strategy used by SaaS.

Pros of a Value-Based Pricing Strategy

Value-based pricing is widely preferred in the SaaS industry for several compelling reasons:

👍 It encompasses all revenue opportunities: This pricing model allows for the customization of price points based on different market segments or target audiences, ensuring that all potential revenue streams are effectively tapped into.

👍 It facilitates market research: By implementing value-based pricing, businesses not only determine the optimal price point but also enhance their industry and market knowledge over time.

👍 It results in a superior quality product: By exclusively considering customer needs, desires, and preferences, value-based pricing enables the creation of high-quality products that truly resonate with the target audience.

👍 It fosters strong customer relationships: Actively listening to customers leads to exceptional customer service reviews and helps build long-lasting relationships with clients.

👍 It paves the way for future growth: By focusing on perceived value, businesses can achieve consistent revenue growth and unlock new expansion opportunities.

👍 It expands the customer base organically: Selling a product with added value not only increases profitability but also minimizes the costs associated with customer acquisition and retention.

Cons of a Value-Based Pricing Strategy

Value-based pricing, like many other saas pricing strategies, is not without its flaws. Here are some reasons to reconsider embracing it:

👎 Time and resource investment: Implementing a value-based pricing strategy demands a significant commitment. Quantifying buyer personas and assessing customer valuations are time-consuming and challenging tasks. This is why many companies opt for cost-plus and competitor-based pricing methods.

👎 Ongoing customer research: Customer research is an ongoing process that requires continuous attention. Once a pricing strategy is adopted, the gathered information serves as a catalyst for refinement and expansion. It's an ever-evolving task that demands perseverance and determination.

👎 Lack of precise definition: Value-based pricing is not an exact science. It relies on price sensitivity measurements and feature analysis to guide you in pricing, packaging, and positioning your product. It's an approximation rather than a definitive approach.

Who the Value-Based Pricing Strategy is Good For

Value-based pricing is a powerful strategy utilized across various industries, but it shines brightest in niche markets that meet specific criteria:

SaaS with low production costs: With software as a service, ongoing production costs are minimal. Unlike traditional manufacturing, there's no need to worry about expenses tied to materials and manufacturing for each new SaaS subscriber. As a result, cost-plus pricing isn't suitable in this scenario.

SaaS with highly specialized products: When you and your competitors offer similar products, it's likely that they hold comparable value to customers. This makes it challenging to avoid pricing based solely on what competitors offer. However, a unique product can hold greater value for customers. If it represents the only solution to a specific problem, value-based pricing becomes a fitting choice. Even if your product doesn't cost more to produce, customers will be willing to pay a higher price if it fulfills a unique need that no other product addresses.

SaaS that plans for add-ons and product upgrades: By implementing a value-based pricing strategy, you can effectively enhance the perceived value of your product by incorporating add-ons and new features. By identifying desired upgrades from your customers and developing them, you can adjust the product price accordingly.

Example of SaaS Using Value-Based Pricing

Let's delve into the strategies employed by two successful companies that have embraced a value-based pricing approach.

  • Trello: Trello effectively utilizes the "freemium" approach to attract users. They offer a free version with exceptional features and then entice users with integrations, advanced features, and increased user capacity.
  • Adobe: In 2012, Adobe transformed its business model by introducing a value-based subscription approach. Previously, customers had to make expensive one-time purchases and repurchase software for updates. With the new monthly subscription model, customers can conveniently access the latest features and updates. This approach has garnered a substantial customer base.

5. Competitor-Based Pricing

What is a Competitor-Based Pricing Strategy?

Competitor-based pricing is a strategy that determines product and service prices based on what competitors charge. It is commonly used in highly competitive markets with similar products where brand loyalty is weak. This approach does not consider factors such as production costs, product value, or consumer demand.

Implementing this pricing strategy can be advantageous for SaaS businesses in their early stages, especially when they have a limited user base and struggle to establish their own pricing model. By examining competitors' prices, businesses can enter the market with lower risk.

Once thorough research on competitors' pricing has been conducted, there are three methods to establish your own pricing strategy:

  • Setting higher prices than competitors: This demonstrates that your product offers unique and valuable features that are not available elsewhere in the market.
  • Setting lower prices than competitors: This may attract customers, but it can also raise concerns about product quality and credibility. It also carries risks of lower profit margins and covering costs.
  • Setting prices equal to competitors: If you decide to match your prices with competitors, it is important to highlight the value of your product through effective marketing and branding efforts.

Pros of a Competitor-Based Pricing Strategy

Here are the key benefits of using a competition-based pricing approach:

👍 Price Flexibility: Setting your product price based on competitor benchmarks allows you to adapt to market changes as your business expands. Conducting competitive pricing analysis provides valuable insights for effective competition. Using price tracking software can simplify this analysis process.

👍 Simplicity in Execution: Competition-based pricing is easy to implement. Unlike other pricing strategies, you don't need extensive research or complex calculations. Just gather information on your competitors' pricing and make informed decisions accordingly.

👍 Compatibility with Other Strategies: While competition-based pricing solely focuses on competitors and doesn't consider consumer demand and production costs, it can still be beneficial to use multiple pricing strategies. For example, a SaaS company can evaluate software development and marketing costs using the cost-plus method, while also comparing prices with similar competitors. Employing a combination of pricing strategies allows businesses to effectively stay ahead and cover costs efficiently.

Cons of a Competitor-Based Pricing Strategy

Competition-based pricing may not always be advantageous for every business due to drawbacks that require careful consideration:

👎 Ignoring consumer demand: Competition-based pricing assumes competitors set prices intelligently and suggests others should follow suit. However, blindly following a primary competitor can result in stagnant or sporadic price changes, losing touch with consumer demand.

👎 Limited flexibility: Competition-based pricing focuses solely on competitors' prices, assuming uniformity in factors like production value and cost structure. However, higher fixed costs or unique product features require additional considerations for maximizing profitability. Setting identical prices to competitors with exclusive features can result in missed opportunities.

👎 Perception as an ordinary brand: Price is one of the first things consumers notice. Setting prices in line with the market average may lead to your brand being perceived as ordinary. Users may not expect unique offerings if your prices align with similar solutions.

👎 Long-term inefficiency: Competitors may adjust prices over time. However, incorporating changes without careful consideration may not be suitable for your SaaS.

Example of Companies Using a Competitor-Based Pricing Strategy

Competition-based pricing is crucial in the fiercely competitive business landscape. Let's explore how top brands use this strategy to achieve success.

✅ Amazon: Retailers depend on competition-based pricing to set product prices. Amazon, the global e-commerce giant, serves as a prime example. By analyzing competitor pricing, Amazon ensures it offers the most competitive prices, maintaining a strong edge in the industry.

✅ Apple: Apple follows a distinctive pricing strategy, setting higher prices justified by exceptional branding and marketing. By combining competitive and premium pricing, Apple upholds its elevated price points.

This shows that competition-based pricing doesn't always mean being the most affordable option.

CRM software: The rivalry between Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics showcases competition-based pricing. These providers monitor each other's pricing, resulting in aggressive discounting and attractive offers for customers.

✅ Web design businesses: Web design companies analyze pricing, gathering quotes and comparing features. This approach fosters product improvement, differentiation, and motivation for success.

6. Demand-Based Pricing

What is a Demand-Based Pricing Strategy?

Demand-based pricing is a strategic approach that aligns product costs with customer demand. In simple terms, when demand is high, prices increase, and when demand is low, prices decrease.

This method acknowledges that prices can fluctuate based on demand levels over time. It is commonly employed in the tourism industry, where demand varies between peak and off-peak seasons.

For instance, during holidays such as Christmas, airlines raise prices to capitalize on travelers' willingness to pay more for festive reunions.

Conversely, when demand decreases, airlines lower prices and offer discounted flights to attract budget-conscious travelers during the off-peak season.

the anatomy of saas pricing strategy
Demand based pricing is a pricing strategy used by SaaS.

Pros of a Demand-Based Pricing Strategy

A demand-based pricing strategy is a smart approach that businesses use to boost revenue. It involves adjusting prices based on demand levels, setting higher prices during high demand periods and lower prices during low demand periods.

This tactic is gaining popularity, especially in the digital realm where companies can monitor customer behavior and adjust prices quickly. Here are the benefits of implementing a demand-based pricing strategy:

👍 Enhanced Profitability: By adopting a demand-based pricing model, businesses can adjust their prices based on consumer demand, leading to increased profitability. This flexibility allows businesses to respond swiftly to demand fluctuations, ensuring competitiveness in the market. Aligning prices with consumer demand consistently can attract and retain customers, resulting in higher profits and revenue growth.

👍 Improved Customer Satisfaction: Demand-based pricing models contribute to customer satisfaction by making products or services accessible at reasonable prices. This fosters customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.

👍 Deeper Customer Insights: Demand-based pricing helps businesses gain valuable insights into customer behavior and preferences. By understanding customer buying habits and responsiveness to price changes, businesses can improve their marketing campaigns and refine their product offerings for maximum success.

👍 Enhanced Revenue Generation: Demand-based pricing allows businesses to optimize revenue by leveraging market conditions and customer behavior. For instance, during periods of high demand and limited supply, businesses can increase prices without sacrificing sales. Conversely, they can adjust prices to stimulate sales and maintain profitability when the market is saturated or consumer interest declines.

Implementing a demand-based pricing strategy helps businesses manage pricing effectively, align with customer demand, drive profitability, and ensure customer satisfaction.

Cons of a Demand-Based Pricing Strategy

Demand-based pricing can maximize profits, but it may not suit every business. High fixed costs can lead to losses when reducing prices during slower seasons. In highly competitive markets, setting prices too high may invite undercutting by other companies.

Note that demand pricing may not be ideal for larger businesses with a strong customer base. Take Disney, for example. Even during off-peak seasons, they command premium ticket prices.

Drawbacks to consider with demand-based pricing:

👎 Labor-intensive: Implementing this strategy requires thorough research and understanding of the market. Tour operators must invest time and money to identify low and high seasons and monitor customer responses.

👎 Potential backfire: If demand is unpredictable, implementing this strategy can have negative consequences. For instance, raising prices before the peak season without the expected demand may not make sense.

👎 Incompatibility with package deals: Demand pricing may not be applicable when package deals are involved. For instance, if a tour includes food and beverage or transportation services, a fixed price is likely set for that combination.

👎 Competitor catch-up: Setting prices too high may result in low adoption rates, allowing competitors to catch up. Conversely, selling at loss-making prices during low demand poses a risk if maximum fixed costs are not calculated.

Who the Demand-Based Pricing Strategy is Good For

Demand-based pricing offers a range of approaches to address various challenges. If one strategy proves ineffective, there are alternative methods available to enhance profitability.

For example, while commoditized items like keyboards or cloud-based apps may not be suitable for a value-based pricing model, emerging companies offering such products can still benefit from penetration pricing strategies.

However, it's important to consider that demand-based pricing may not lead to success if you sell:

  • Easily comparable products or services. Customers may choose competitors with lower prices unless you can provide additional benefits.
  • Products or services subject to contractually-agreed prices. Fixed price agreements, such as service contracts or subscriptions, cannot be adjusted based on changes in customer demand.
  • Storable products. Convincing customers to make purchases at a higher price can be challenging when they typically buy household chemicals or food products with a long shelf life during promotions.

7. Cost-Plus Pricing

What is a Cost-Plus Pricing Strategy?

Cost-plus pricing is a method used to determine the selling price of a product. It involves calculating business expenses and adding a desired markup percentage.

This approach is crucial in pricing strategies as it sets a minimum price for profitability. When implementing cost-plus pricing, the focus is often on the cost of goods sold (CoGS). 

For SaaS businesses, CoGS encompasses expenses such as cloud infrastructure, customer support, and software engineering. Typically, CoGS represents around 30% of revenue, but it may exceed this for businesses dealing with physical products or custom development.

However, it's important to consider other costs, including sales and marketing. Another vital metric for many SaaS businesses is the customer acquisition cost (CAC).

pricing strategies for saas companies
Cost-plus pricing is a pricing strategy used by SaaS.

Pros of a Cost-Plus Pricing Strategy

Cost-plus pricing has a key advantage: it is simple to implement and comprehend. No need for rigorous market research or competitor analysis to determine your prices. Just know your costs and desired profit margin.

👍 Easy Implementation: Employing a cost-plus pricing strategy is a straightforward process. By analyzing production costs, including labor, materials, and overhead, businesses can determine an appropriate markup price. Extensive research is not required, simplifying the pricing approach.

👍 Assured Cost Recovery: Cost plus pricing enables businesses to recover their expenses and generate profits. This method involves calculating all costs and using the information to set prices, ensuring that each sale contributes to covering the incurred expenses. By minimizing the risk of financial loss, this approach helps maintain the smooth operation of the business.

👍 Encourages Cost Control and Efficiency: Cost plus pricing encourages businesses to closely monitor and control their costs. This entails diligent cost tracking, regular review, and identification of areas of inefficiency. By reducing wastage and improving operational effectiveness, businesses can optimize their cost structure and enhance overall efficiency.

👍 Establishes Customer Trust: Cost plus pricing provides customers with a transparent breakdown of costs, allowing them to understand how the selling price is determined based on the actual expenses incurred by the business. This high level of transparency not only fosters trust and credibility with customers but also empowers them to make informed decisions.

Cons of a Cost-Plus Pricing Strategy

Cost-plus pricing, while simple, can present several challenges, particularly for SaaS and subscription businesses:

👎 Potential Overpricing: Failing to consider competitor prices may lead to unreasonably high selling prices. As a result, customers may choose more affordable alternatives, resulting in decreased sales.

👎 Lack of Flexibility: Cost-plus pricing assumes fixed costs for products or services, which may not always reflect reality. Changes in demand, market trends, and competition can disrupt this assumption. Businesses relying on cost-plus pricing may struggle to quickly adjust prices to remain competitive and profitable.

👎 Uncertainty in Cost Coverage: Sales volume is projected before pricing the product, but these estimates can sometimes be inaccurate. Overestimating sales and applying low markups can result in fewer items sold, leaving production costs uncovered and causing financial setbacks.

👎 Limited Pricing Efficiency: Cost-plus pricing lacks a guarantee of pricing efficiency. Focusing solely on incurred costs may discourage expense optimization and operational efficiencies. Consequently, controlling expenses, improving productivity, and fostering process innovation for enhanced competitiveness may prove challenging.

Who the Cost-Plus Pricing Strategy is Good For

Cost plus pricing is particularly effective in certain industries, such as manufacturing, construction, and consulting, where costs play a significant role in determining pricing. There are four common situations where this pricing strategy can be employed:

✅ Cost-Driven Industries: In industries where costs are a primary driver, adopting a cost plus pricing approach ensures that all necessary resources, expertise, and efforts involved in delivering complex offerings are properly accounted for. This approach helps provide fair compensation for the value provided.

✅ Long-Term Contracts: Long-term and government contracts often require clear breakdowns and justifications of expenses. Cost plus pricing offers a straightforward and transparent method for determining the selling price by considering all relevant costs. This transparency builds trust and facilitates efficient contract management.

✅ Customized or Unique Offerings: For businesses that provide customized or unique offerings, cost plus pricing can be advantageous. The pricing approach takes into account the specific costs associated with tailoring products or services to meet individual customer requirements.

✅ Uncertain or Volatile Cost Environments: In situations where costs are uncertain or subject to volatility, cost plus pricing provides a flexible and adaptable approach. By incorporating costs into the pricing structure, businesses can better manage and mitigate potential fluctuations in cost.

8. Dynamic Pricing

What is a Dynamic Pricing Strategy?

Dynamic pricing is a strategic approach used by SaaS companies to refine their pricing strategies. It considers factors like customer demand, competitor pricing, and market trends. This strategy helps companies expand their customer base and stay competitive in a rapidly changing marketplace.

Subscription-based pricing models offer significant advantages for SaaS companies. They allow companies to adjust prices based on market dynamics, enabling agility and growth. This flexibility contributes to overall success.

At its core, dynamic pricing aligns the price of a product or service with its perceived value among customers. It involves precise adjustments based on customer segmentation, seasonal fluctuations, and time-sensitive promotions.

By aligning prices with customers' perceived value, SaaS companies achieve sustainable revenue growth and build strong customer relationships. This approach enhances profitability and fosters loyalty.

pricing strategies saas
Dynamic pricing is a pricing strategy used by SaaS.

Pricing Models Used for Dynamic Pricing

Dynamic pricing is a key consideration for SaaS companies, who employ various pricing models to achieve their goals.

These include:

  • Value-based pricing: By aligning prices with the perceived value customers derive, SaaS companies can tailor their pricing to match the unique features and benefits they offer.
  • Competitor-based pricing: Monitoring and adjusting prices in response to competitors' strategies enables SaaS companies to remain competitive and adapt swiftly to market shifts.
  • Demand-based pricing: Adjusting prices based on fluctuations in customer demand allows SaaS companies to maximize revenue during periods of high demand and attract more customers during periods of low demand.
  • Time-based pricing: Taking into account factors such as the day of the week, time of day, or seasonal trends, SaaS companies can adjust prices strategically. For example, offering discounted pricing during off-peak hours or slow business periods to encourage usage and entice potential customers.

These pricing strategies empower SaaS companies to optimize their revenue while providing value to their customers.

Pros of a Dynamic Pricing Strategy

Dynamic pricing is crucial for SaaS companies to maximize revenue and maintain a competitive edge in the marketplace. To fully leverage its potential, consider the following essential guidelines:

👍 Maximize revenue: SaaS businesses can enhance profitability by adjusting prices based on real-time market demand. This strategy, known as revenue management with dynamic pricing, has proven highly effective.

👍 Increase customer satisfaction: Following best practices for dynamic pricing can enhance customer retention and satisfaction. Offering lower prices during off-peak periods can attract customers who may have otherwise overlooked your product or service.

👍 Gain market insights: Dynamic pricing enables businesses to gain a comprehensive understanding of the market. By analyzing pricing trends, competitor behavior, and customer preferences, valuable insights into market dynamics, including customer behavior and purchasing patterns, can be obtained.

Cons of a Dynamic Pricing Strategy

Dynamic pricing offers numerous advantages, yet it is crucial to consider potential drawbacks and steer clear of common pitfalls.

👎 Unfavorable customer perception: Customers may develop a negative impression of your brand when they observe frequent price changes or discover others receiving better deals.

👎Risk of price wars: Implementing dynamic pricing can trigger intense competition among rivals. Continuously lowering prices to attract customers may lead to detrimental price drops, affecting the profitability of all parties involved.

👎Potential time-consuming nature: Smaller businesses may find implementing dynamic pricing to be time-consuming. It requires advanced pricing analytics tools, real-time pricing techniques, and a robust technological infrastructure. Skilled employees and adequate resources are essential for proper execution.

👎Possible loss of business with excessive price hikes: Excessive price increases during peak demand could result in customer attrition and decreased profits. Overusing dynamic pricing might irritate your customer base and lead to missed opportunities for future business.

Example of SaaS Using a Dynamic Pricing Strategy


Many SaaS companies employ a pricing strategy that may appear exclusive to innovation, but in reality, it is quite common. When exploring SaaS programs, you may come across an "Enterprise" or "Corporate" tier with a "Contact Us" call to action instead of a fixed price. These businesses utilize dynamic pricing, adjusting charges based on client size and required services.

HubSpot offers both Professional plans and Enterprise plans. The Professional plans have a set price, whereas the Enterprise plans start at $1,200 per month for 10 paid users. Instead of providing a specific price, the pricing page encourages users to "Talk to Sales," indicating a flexible dynamic pricing strategy.

📚 Recommended Reading

👉 SaaS psychological pricing explained

Laura Ballarin

I'm Account Manager at Scalecrush. You'll find me here talking about my no-nonsense approach to content marketing.

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Saas Pricing

Price Skimming, Great To Generate Initial Revenue

Skimming is a pricing strategy where you initially set your SaaS prices higher than usual, then gradually lower them over time. The idea is to attract a smaller target market first and generate initial revenue. 
Laura Ballarin
6 min
Saas Pricing

Captive Pricing For SaaS: An Excellent Way To Attract Customers

Captive pricing, also known as captive product pricing, is a pricing strategy where a "core" product is offered at a lower price, but additional products required to fully use the core product are charged separately. 
Laura Ballarin
6 min
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