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Pros & cons of volume discounting [+ how to do it right]

What is volume discount pricing? 

Volume discount pricing, or volume discounting, is the pricing method that rewards customers who purchase more of a product or service with an increased discount. In other words, volume pricing offers tiered discounts to customers who purchase a larger quantity. The more they purchase, the bigger the discount. 

How does volume discounting work? 

Volume pricing strategy relies on the fact that everyone loves a discount. With a volume discount, you create the perfect incentive to encourage customers (individual or business) to buy goods in bulk or in larger quantities. By rewarding those that buy more with a reduced price per unit of your product or service, you're more likely to profit from a higher sale. 

If customers see greater value in bulk purchases or buying large quantities, it can be hard to resist. 

The advantages of using volume discount pricing for SaaS businesses

Volume discount pricing has a number of advantages for businesses, but it is particularly beneficial to B2B SaaS businesses. Have your ears just pricked up? Thought so.

Here are the reasons why volume discounting strategy works so well for B2B software businesses: 

1) It encourages customers to buy more 

As we’ve already mentioned, it’s hard to resist a good discount. By rewarding your customers with greater discounts for buying greater amounts, you're creating the incentive for them to purchase more.

The volume pricing method works particularly well if you're looking to shift materials quickly. And it works even better when there are minimal costs involved to allow more customers to access your product — with no need to make or distribute more for new users, for example. (That one’s for you, SaaS 👏). 

2) It ups your competitive value

Offering your product or service at a reduced rate can put you ahead of the competition. 

If you’re offering a similar service or product to competitors, what’s going to turn heads in your direction? The same value and positive impact, but at a cheaper or more reasonable price. And who doesn’t love a bargain? 

Volume discount pricing motivates your customers to increase their demand and buy more because they see greater value in your product. Plus, growing businesses are more likely to return to you if for example, they need more licenses — an easy upsell for you. 

That’s why your pricing strategy is so important. It helps you stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Get your pricing wrong, and they may view your product as cheap, low-quality, or totally overpriced — three opinions that will quickly lead your target audience into the hands of your better-priced competitors. 

Get it right, and the demand for your product will soar.

Check out our handy pricing guide!

3) It appeals to a wide audience

It’s not only the pricing strategy that can boost your sales, it’s the promotion too. By creating different price points or segments in your pricing plan, you're appealing to small businesses who may need just five licenses at a reasonable price, and to larger businesses who need 5,000. A volume discount solution prevents the final price of the package from becoming obscenely prohibitive for larger organizations.

Plus, volume discounting grants reduced rates of products that can appeal to (and incentivize) businesses, both big and small, to opt for larger quantities. 

Whether they have future scaling in mind or they just can’t deny a good deal and see the value of buying more, you’re making the decision to buy more a whole lot more tempting — and a whole lot easier too. 

There’s a whole psychology behind it, but we'll talk about that in a bit. 

How to implement a price increase in 5 steps

3 types of volume discounting 

There are different ways to introduce volume discount pricing into your software business, which means a higher possibility of it working for you. 

Here are three different examples of volume discount pricing formulas: 

1) Volume or ‘all units’ pricing 

The main gist of volume pricing — or ‘all units’ pricing — is that a certain discount is applied to unit numbers that fall within a particular pricing tier. This discount is then applied to all units — just like it says on the tin. The discount becomes greater as the number of units sold increases, meaning the original price per unit goes down.  

Example:

50-99 units = 10% discount

100-149 units = 15% discount

150-199 units = 25% discount

200+ units = 35% discount 

As you can see, customers purchasing 1-49 items would receive no discount as they would be claiming the products at their original price. Whereas, if a customer was to buy 250 units, they would benefit from a 35% savings off the total cost of units.

2) Tiered pricing: 

Similar to volume pricing, as the purchase rate increases, so does the discount. However, with tiered pricing, the discount varies within the different tiers. For example, if a customer was to buy 15 units of your product, which crossed tier 1-3, the units in tier 1 would have a different price reduction than those in tier 3. 

Look at how tiered pricing compares to volume pricing with this example: 

Unit 1: $200

Units 2-4: $170 per unit

Units 5-9: $160 per unit

Units 10-19: $140 per unit

Units 20+: $120 per unit

Here, you’ll see that if a customer opts for 8 units, they pay full price for unit 1, a slight discount of $170 for units 2, 3, and 4, and a further discount for units 5 to 8. This totals at $1190, whereas if all units were charged at the original price, it would be $1600 — giving the customer a $410 discount. 

For more on tiered pricing and how it differs from volume pricing, check this out

3) Package model pricing:

Package pricing is a pricing model that includes everything that a customer might need for the product or service you’re selling, including the equipment and installation process, for example. 

The pricing strategy behind package discounting is similar to that of tiered pricing, but with some important differences. The company specifies a discount for an exact number of units, with the discount getting bigger as the unit numbers go up. The discount is applied equally across the units in each section, with a larger discount applied if the customer is happy to commit to the next ‘level’ up.

Here’s an example: 

1 unit = $100 ($100 per unit) 

5 units = $400 ($80 per unit) 

10 units = $700 ($70 per unit) 

20 units = $1000 ($50 per unit) 

With this pricing strategy, if a customer wanted to purchase an unstated amount — 7 units, for example — they would have to choose between going up to 10 units or purchasing a combination of package deals. Here, the best option would be buying a package of 5 units for $400 and a single package of two units at $100 each, with the total package price coming to $600. 

Price perception: it’s all in the mind

The success of volume discount pricing for businesses, whichever method you may be using or trying out, comes down to the psychology of how customers perceive price. 

Sure, discounts of any type are enough to pique anyone’s interest, but there's a lot to be said about how your deals are marketed and your figures are presented.

You might've heard of "charm pricing," for example. The age-old, yet effective, method of knocking one cent off your price gives the illusion of the product’s total being far lower. A product marketed at $49.99 is registered by the brain as belonging to a lower cost threshold ($40) than $50, which appears at a glance to be a steep price hike. 

Another price perception strategy is "buy one get one free," which we know you’re likely familiar with. This is where we get to play (or get played!) with a buyer’s unconscious greed and determination to get as much value for their money as possible, even if they don’t need the extra ‘free’ product. 

However, while pricing is a key consideration for the success of your product, it’s important not to price your product too low or with too great a discount as you run the risk of devaluing your brand. And that’s the last thing any business wants. 

Take your time when it comes to deciding on your pricing plans and the potential of a volume discount because it can make a difference when it comes to the growth and success of your business. When it goes well, it’s great; when it goes bad, it can be detrimental.

Examples of value-based pricing and how this model works to your advantage

The disadvantages of volume discount pricing

That leads us to our next point: the disadvantages of volume discounting. The disadvantages revolve around the value and profit gained from your product and its pricing plan. 

As we’ve already mentioned, it’s something that is easy to get right. But getting it wrong could result in the following three issues:

1) Customers devaluing your product

The psychological side of discounts is all well and good. However, if the pricing plan isn’t well thought out, your customers can quickly cross the line from questioning how the product or deal is so cheap, over into the deadly zone of questioning why it’s so cheap. When the value of your product is being scrutinized, you could be in trouble. 

2) Lowered price value

By lowering the price of your product, you are setting a new standard for your product pricing. If you’re looking into volume discounting as a growth method for your business, make sure you take this into account because a steep price increase is no customer’s favorite thing. 

3) Profit loss

Of course, by offering your product at discounted rates — whichever volume pricing formula you’re opting for — you're missing out on profit. Do the math to make sure that you’re getting in the extra sales to make up for the price reductions you’re offering up.

Find out what pricing model works best for your business 

Seeing as you’re here, you're probably considering using an element of volume discounting for your business. We might have swayed you, but we may have also swayed you in the other direction.

Volume pricing FAQS

What is the volume pricing formula?

To calculate volume pricing, businesses use what is called “quantity brackets“. To get a price with a volume discount, take the price of the bracket and multiply it by the number of units. Here’s an example:

  • 1 egg - $4
  • 2-5 eggs - $3
  • 6+ eggs - $2

What is the purpose of volume discount pricing?

Volume pricing aims to incentivize customers to purchase products and services in larger quantities. By taking advantage of a quantity discount, customers save money on bulk purchases, while businesses maintain or increase sales and profit margin.

What is the difference between a volume discount and a quantity discount?

Volume discount refers to offering discounted prices to motivate customers to purchase larger quantities of products or services. On the other hand, a quantity discount does not necessarily result in the purchase of a larger volume of products or services. Take, for example, 'Buy One Get One Free': it is considered a quantity discount, though it does not necessarily result in large quantity sales.

If you’re still wondering what the best pricing model is for your software business, we've got just the thing for you: our guide to choosing the best pricing strategy for you .

Because we’re helpful like that. 

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