Pricing Trends in E-commerce

By Thomas Bennett Financial expert at Priceva
Published on November 2, 2023
Most businesses are eager to pinpoint the most effective pricing strategies in today's landscape. How does one determine which strategies to incorporate into their marketing mix?

Sadly, there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer to this. Every business has unique needs and goals, hence their pricing approach must be bespoke. But to craft such a strategy, it's crucial to be well-informed about the different pricing strategies available and understand when each is most potent.

In this article, we'll delve into the latest pricing trends in the e-commerce sector. Our hope is that this insight will guide you in developing your distinct pricing strategy and steer you clear of methods that don't yield results.

Dynamic Pricing

Dynamic pricing is a strategy where companies continuously adjust their prices in response to market conditions.

Factors driving these changes vary by company, but typically encompass: demand and supply dynamics, competitor pricing, seasonality, market positioning, production and/or distribution costs, among others.

Amazon stands as a prime example of dynamic pricing done right. The retail giant has devised an intricate internal mechanism that monitors competitor pricing, weighs myriad factors, and recalibrates over 2.5 million product prices daily based on optimal price-demand correlations.

No one can dictate whether a lower or higher price point will elevate your profits without testing its impact on your online store's sales. That's why dynamic pricing heavily leans on extensive historical data analysis.

Embarking on dynamic pricing requires an upfront investment in terms of effort, but the payoff is substantial down the line. Companies end up with a finely-tuned forecasting system for optimal prices and sales volumes, furnishing a significant edge over competitors.

Market leaders have long grasped this and actively harness this pricing method. According to Bain & Company, the industry frontrunners across various sectors are almost twice as likely to employ dynamic pricing.

Information Transparency

In today's digital age, consumers have easy access to pricing information, making it straightforward for them to spot discrepancies. It's no secret that some online retailers, in an attempt to boost sales, resort to displaying an inflated "original" price.

To illustrate, consider the example below. An item displays an original price of $69.99, now slashed to $44.37.
A $25.62 discount surely looks tempting, but is it genuinely legitimate?
By tracking the price history, we observe that the item's cost has long been below the $69.99 mark. In such instances, the discounted offer is essentially based on a fictitious original price.

Before considering such marketing tactics, retailers must recognize that contemporary shoppers can not only find the best online deals within seconds but can also compare offers from different cities, regions, or even countries.

Such gimmicks, in the long run, tarnish the company's reputation. To win the trust of your clientele and garner loyal customers, pricing must be transparent and honest.


The essence of personalized pricing is for a retailer to understand who their customers are and to stimulate buying behaviors based on knowledge of their preferences and actions.

Online stores often collect consumer data, with their consent, to curate a tailored shopping experience. This accumulated historical data is employed to discern individual buying patterns, offering each consumer customized discounts and deals through dynamic pricing mechanisms.

For instance, suppose a client purchases office paper and toner cartridges for their business. Every three months, they seek a favorable bulk buy deal. Armed with such valuable data, online retailers can extend a tailored discount a week before the client's usual purchase time.

Rather than continuously doling out broad discounts aimed at every individual customer, an understanding of purchasing habits empowers retailers to offer precision-tailored prices.

Such an approach boasts three significant advantages:
‣ Recognizing customer needs and catering to them precisely when needed fosters a loyal relationship with your clientele.

‣ The likelihood of a customer choosing to purchase from you substantially escalates.

‣ Even though big data analysis might come with a price, its deployment can prove more cost-effective than leveraging dated strategic tactics.

Psychological Pricing

Psychological pricing remains a relevant strategy that leverages psychological techniques to influence consumers' spending habits or purchasing behaviors.

Ending prices with an odd number, particularly the digit 9, might be an old tactic, but it's still effective.

Psychological pricing was a dominant trend in 2022, and there are several strategies one can employ within this framework.

One such technique involves using a "decoy product", which we've already discussed.
Take Starbucks, one of the most renowned coffee brands, for instance. They initially offered three beverage sizes: Short, Tall, and Grande. Most people tend to avoid extremes, often settling for the middle option. When Starbucks eliminated the Short size and introduced the Venti, the Grande suddenly became the middle—and most popular—choice. In doing so, consumers were more willing to shell out extra cash. This is the decoy product effect in action.

Effective Pricing Techniques in E-commerce

Pricing is crucial in e-commerce, especially on marketplaces where a single page may showcase several sellers offering near-identical products. Multiple studies have shown that, for consumers browsing products, price is the most persuasive factor in their purchase decision. In this context, staying updated on pricing trends is essential. Make sure to adjust your prices in line with these tendencies.

Let's explore some pricing methods beneficial for your online venture:

Double the Benefit or Offer Part for Free

Techniques that utilize simple math and present an enticing deal to the consumer when performing desired actions tend to boost sales effectively.

For example, an offer like "buy one slice of pizza, get the second free" seems more appealing than "get 50% off when you order two slices of pizza." The former tends to sell better. Although both offers essentially convey the same value, the latter seems a tad more complex because of the slight calculation involved.

"Happy hours" in cafes and restaurants also stimulate demand without the explicit use of numbers. Customers instantly recognize it as a lucrative deal. This too is a facet of psychological pricing.

Odd Pricing

Many marketers swear by this tactic when aiming to boost demand. They switch from even pricing to an odd or slightly cheaper figure. Customers often tend to favor products priced with an odd-ending number over those ending in an even number.

This pricing strategy tends to be effective, especially on platforms with high traffic. Even minor adjustments can lead to significant impacts.

Descending Order Pricing

Customers are often more inclined to spend on mid-range and premium products when the prices are listed in a descending order. However, it's vital to note that consumers value freedom of choice. Even if you rank products in descending order, ensure alternative sorting options are available.


Big data also aids in micro-targeting. Marketers harness big data analytics to identify hyperlocalized pricing zones. Suppose there's a significant income disparity between two neighboring regions.

Offering the same products at identical prices to both is not the best approach. Instead, you can differentiate the product lineup targeting different customer bases.

Consider this example:

Let's say you wish to sell smartphones in these areas. Your inventory includes both iPhones and Xiaomi smartphones. While both have similar specifications, the iPhone brand symbolizes prestige, whereas Xiaomi phones often win on cost-benefit analysis.

In the region with people having low discretionary incomes, pushing them to buy an expensive smartphone isn't the wisest move. Conversely, targeting the promotion of Xiaomi phones specifically to that region can potentially boost sales.

Discretionary income is the portion of a consumer's net income remaining after essential expenses, tax payments, and costs to meet basic living needs are deducted.

E-commerce Automation

E-commerce automation refers to either the creation of unique software solutions or the employment of pre-existing ones. Its main purpose is to simplify the daily operational management of product assortments and pricing for online businesses.

Automation consistently monitors the actions of competitors, keeping one updated about daily pricing changes of other market players. This makes it considerably easier to regularly track key metrics without being bogged down by tedious manual tasks. This efficiency frees business owners or top-tier managers to focus on a more strategic role, delegating tasks that previously consumed a lot of time and attention to automated systems.

Monitoring competitors' product pricing is crucial for several reasons. It allows you to:

‣ Identify the best price point, making your product more appealing,
‣ Spot numerous discounts and price adjustments from competitors,
‣ Track product availability among competitors or distributors,
‣ Automatically calculate the optimal price for each brand or product group based on specific formulas.

In doing so, you're always a step ahead of the competition, maintaining dynamic pricing. Using automation tools in e-commerce helps you sweat the small stuff less and concentrate on the bigger picture.


From the dawn of trade to the present day, sellers have been refining tactics and techniques aimed at persuading their customers to purchase more frequently and in larger quantities. Some of these strategies have proven so effective that they've endured through the ages, while more contemporary ones leverage scientific discoveries, psychology, and the power of data analytics. Undoubtedly, pricing trends will continue to evolve. Stay informed about modern methodologies and be nimble in adjusting your pricing strategy, taking advantage of emerging opportunities.

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