Tiered Pricing: The Complete Guide with Examples

By Thomas Bennett Financial expert at Priceva
Published on November 22, 2023
In today's competitive marketplace, businesses continuously seek innovative ways to optimize their pricing strategies. Among the myriad of pricing models available, tiered pricing—often referred to as layered pricing—stands prominently as a particularly adaptable and customer-focused approach. At its core, tiered pricing is about segmenting products or services into different pricing tiers, ensuring that businesses can cater to various consumer segments effectively.

These different tiers are systematically structured based on factors such as features, usage limits, or customer requirements. Often, businesses will utilize a structure of three tiers—a basic, a mid-range, and a premium offering. This tri-tiered approach not only provides a clear distinction in value proposition but also targets the budgetary constraints and aspirations of a broader customer base. For instance, a beginner user might opt for the basic tier, whereas a more advanced user might be willing to pay a premium for advanced features and additional benefits.

The brilliance of tiered pricing lies in its duality. On one hand, it empowers businesses with the flexibility to address a gamut of consumer preferences, and on the other, it offers customers the autonomy to choose a product or service that best aligns with their needs and budget. With the potential to significantly boost revenue streams, while simultaneously enhancing overall customer satisfaction, tiered pricing has been championed by various industries as a strategic win-win. As we progress in this guide, we'll delve deeper into the benefits, intricacies, and real-world applications of this dynamic pricing model.

What Is Tiered Pricing Model?

It is designed around the principle of offering varying price points for distinct qualities or features of a product or service. This strategy breaks away from the "one-size-fits-all" philosophy often seen in flat-rate pricing. Instead, layered pricing provides a spectrum of choices, ranging from basic offerings to premium packages. This ensures that customers have the flexibility to select a package that aligns closely with their needs and budget.

For instance, think of a software service. The tiered pricing model might offer a basic version with essential features at a lower price, a standard version with additional functionalities at a mid-range price, and a premium version loaded with advanced features at a higher price. By catering to the varied requirements of different users, businesses can tap into wider market segments and maximize their reach.

Tiered Pricing vs. Volume Pricing

Both tiered and volume pricing strategies focus on offering flexible pricing options to consumers. However, they cater to different motivations and behaviors.

Tiered pricing is primarily feature-driven. It's based on the notion that different customers value different features. For instance, a startup might only need basic functionalities of a software tool, while a large corporation might require advanced integrations and analytics. By providing multiple tiers, companies can cater to these diverse needs, ensuring each customer segment finds a suitable fit.

On the other hand, volume pricing is quantity-driven. It offers price reductions based on the volume of purchase. This strategy is prevalent in wholesale or B2B markets, where bulk purchases are common. For example, a business might pay less per unit when buying 100 items compared to purchasing just 10.

When should you choose tiered pricing over volume pricing?

The decision between layered pricing and volume pricing hinges on your product, target audience, and market dynamics. Adopt it when:

1) Your product or service has varied features or versions that cater to diverse customer segments.
2) You operate in a market where customers have heterogeneous needs and are looking for different product functionalities.
3) The perceived value of your offerings varies considerably across your customer base.

In contrast, lean towards volume pricing when:

1) You're targeting customers (often B2B) who make bulk purchases.
2) You're operating in a highly commoditized market where product differentiation is minimal.
3) Your primary incentive is to encourage customers to buy in larger quantities.

In essence, while tiered pricing strategy emphasizes feature differentiation and caters to varied customer personas, volume pricing seeks to incentivize quantity-based purchases. Each has its unique merits and is best suited for specific business contexts. The key is to assess your business goals, understand your audience, and choose a pricing structure that aligns with these factors.

Benefits of Tiered Pricing in SaaS

In the fast-paced and diverse world of Software as a Service (SaaS), tiered pricing has emerged as an invaluable strategy. Its adaptable nature, combined with the ability to differentiate software offerings, has made it a favorite among SaaS providers. Let's delve deeper into the significant advantages of this model in the SaaS landscape.

1. Attract a broader range of customers

A standout benefit of the price tiering is its inclusivity. Whether it's a budding startup operating on a shoestring budget or a well-established conglomerate with expansive needs, layered pricing ensures there's something for everyone. By creating distinct tiers, each catering to specific user segments, SaaS companies can appeal to a more comprehensive customer base. The range of options ensures that potential customers, irrespective of their budget or requirements, can find a suitable package.

2. Boost sales by encouraging upgrades to higher tiers

The dynamic nature of businesses means that their software needs are ever-evolving. As a company grows, its software requirements often expand. With the model SaaS providers can seamlessly support this growth trajectory. As businesses recognize the need for additional features or user accesses, the allure of the next tier becomes irresistible. This organic upselling approach not only benefits the SaaS provider in terms of increased revenue but also ensures customers always have access to features that align with their growth stage.

3. Bring in more revenue with higher-volumes sales

One of the foundational pillars of tiered pricing strategy is the enhanced perceived value with each subsequent tier. While basic tiers cater to essential needs, the higher tiers, packed with advanced features and integrations, often come with a premium price tag. And since these advanced tiers offer significant added value, customers are frequently willing to invest more, resulting in higher revenue for SaaS companies. The differential pricing between tiers ensures that companies can maximize profits while still offering value at every level.

How is Price Tiering Calculated?

The science and art of determining the perfect price points for each tier involve a blend of cost analysis, market research, and understanding customer psychology. The first step in the price tiering involves understanding the intrinsic costs associated with each tier. This includes direct costs like server space, support, and feature development, along with indirect costs like marketing and administration.

Once the baseline costs are understood, competitor pricing analysis can provide insights into the market's expectation. However, the linchpin is understanding the perceived value for the customer. Through surveys, feedback, and market trends, businesses can gauge what features or services customers value most and are willing to pay a premium for. The culmination of these factors helps in structuring the tiers in a way that's profitable for the business while providing undeniable value to the customer.

Common Variations in Tiered Pricing Models

In the multifaceted realm of pricing, tiered strategies have taken center stage for many businesses. Although the basic tenet of tiered pricing is constant—offering different levels of products or services at varying prices—its manifestations can be diverse. This adaptability stems from the model's ability to mold itself according to a company's specific offerings and the peculiarities of its target market. Let's delve deeper into a few common variations, taking a closer look at the nuances of a three-tiered pricing strategy.

Feature-Based Tiering

At the heart of feature-based tiering lies the idea of value proposition. Businesses use this strategy to segregate their offerings based on the depth and breadth of features available in each tier.

Basic Tier
As an entry-level option, this tier is typically priced the lowest and provides users with essential functionalities. It's an enticing choice for beginners or those who need a solution without all the bells and whistles.

Intermediate Tier
This middle layer is a balanced blend, offering more advanced features than the basic tier but not as comprehensive as the top tier. It's aimed at intermediate users or businesses that need a bit more functionality but aren't yet ready for a full-scale premium offering.

Premium Tier
This is the most advanced tier, catering to users who demand a holistic solution. Beyond just advanced features, this tier often includes integrations with other platforms, dedicated support, and sometimes even personalized consultations or training sessions.

User Access-Based Tiering

In industries where the product is intrinsically linked to user access—like SaaS or subscription-based platforms—tiering based on user limits becomes critical.

Solo Tier
Aimed at individual professionals or freelancers, this tier offers access for a single user. It's an affordable way for individuals to leverage a platform without investing heavily.

Team Tier
Geared towards small to medium-sized teams, this level provides multiple accesses, often with collaborative features and shared resources.

Enterprise Tier
Tailored for large organizations, this tier provides unrestricted access, often accompanied by dedicated customer support, advanced security features, and tailored solutions.

Hybrid Models

Recognizing the myriad needs of their audience, many businesses opt for a hybrid model, marrying the benefits of both feature-based and user access-based tiering. By integrating these two models, businesses can ensure a more flexible and appealing pricing structure, catering to a broader spectrum of customer requirements. In essence, the hybrid model embodies the versatility of tiered pricing, offering layered solutions that can adapt to various market demands.

Tiered Pricing Examples

One of the best ways to understand layered pricing is by diving into real-world examples. These showcase how diverse companies leverage the pricing model to cater to varied customer needs while optimizing their revenue streams.


Zendesk stands out as a premier customer service software platform. Their tiered pricing structure beautifully aligns with the diverse needs of their customer base. From startups to mammoth enterprises, Zendesk has tiers that provide tools appropriate for each business's scale. As customers navigate from basic to more advanced tiers, they encounter a plethora of enhanced features, optimizing their customer service capabilities.

Crazy Egg

In the realm of digital analytics, Crazy Egg has made a significant mark with its heatmap tool. Their layered pricing is designed around the number of pageviews and domains a user wishes to track. This ensures that whether you're a blogger tracking a single domain or a conglomerate monitoring multiple websites, there's a tier tailored for you.


The email marketing landscape has been significantly shaped by Mailchimp. Their tiered pricing structure ingeniously combines feature-based and contact number-based tiering. This approach ensures that regardless of whether you're just starting with email marketing or you're a large enterprise with millions of contacts, Mailchimp has a pricing tier that fits like a glove.


Canva's rise in the graphic design space is commendable. Their simple yet effective two-tiered approach showcases the power of tiered pricing. Users can start with a free tier offering essential design tools, but for those seeking to unlock the full potential of the platform, there's the pro tier, brimming with advanced features.

Microsoft 365 Business

Microsoft, a tech behemoth, embraces layered pricing in its 365 Business suite. Each tier is meticulously crafted, offering a unique blend of applications and services. This ensures that whether you're a small business needing basic office tools or a larger enterprise requiring advanced collaboration suites, there's a tier ready for you.

How to Set Your Tiered Pricing Strategy

Crafting an effective pricing strategy necessitates a blend of market insights, competitor analysis, and deep understanding of your customer base.

Develop tiers with customer personas in mind

It's imperative to remember that each tier should resonate with specific customer personas. Dive deep into understanding their unique needs, the challenges they face, and their budget constraints. This granular understanding will be the cornerstone of crafting tiers that find a perfect market fit.

Clearly distinguish differences between tiers

Ambiguity is the enemy of choice. When customers are evaluating which tier to opt for, the differences should be crystal clear. This doesn't just mean listing more features but highlighting the enhanced value and benefits each successive tier offers.

Price your tiers carefully

In the world of layered pricing, price points can make or break your strategy. Conduct a thorough competitor analysis, get to the heart of your cost structures, and actively solicit customer feedback. This trifecta will guide you in setting price points that strike the perfect balance between value and affordability.

Download the ebook: Data-driven Pricing Strategies

To refine your layered pricing game, it's invaluable to harness the power of data. Delve deep into understanding market trends, customer behaviors, and pricing dynamics with resources like the "Data-driven Pricing Strategies" ebook. Such insights can elevate your tiered pricing model to new heights.

Metrics for SaaS Tiered Pricing

When adopting tiered pricing for SaaS, it's essential to monitor key metrics like Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), and Average Revenue Per User (ARPU). These metrics offer insights into the strategy's effectiveness, ensuring you achieve the desired balance between customer acquisition and profitability.


Tiered pricing stands out as a pivotal element in the toolkit of modern business strategies. Beyond merely setting a price, it's a reflection of understanding diverse customer needs, valuing their varying consumption behaviors, and maximizing potential revenue sources. The multifaceted nature of the tiered pricing model allows businesses to cater to the minimalist users just as effectively as the power users, ensuring no segment feels overlooked.

Delving deeper, one recognizes that layered pricing isn't just about economics; it's about psychology. It recognizes that customers perceive value differently. Some seek basic functionalities at an affordable rate, while others are willing to pay a premium for advanced features and superior service levels. By implementing the pricing strategy, businesses can tap into these varied perceptions, ensuring that each customer finds a tier that resonates with their needs and budget.

Moreover, as markets evolve and competition intensifies, the dynamism of layered pricing offers the flexibility businesses need to adapt. Whether it's introducing a new tier, tweaking features, or adjusting price points based on market feedback, the model is inherently designed for evolution.

In this era of data-driven decision-making, leveraging tools like Priceva can elevate the effectiveness of your tiered pricing model. By harnessing analytics and insights provided by such platforms, businesses can fine-tune their strategies, ensuring they remain aligned with market dynamics and customer expectations.


What is tiered pricing vs flat pricing?

Layered pricing is about differentiation and choice. It divides products or services into various tiers, each with distinct features or quantities, and a corresponding price point. This contrasts with flat pricing, where one price encompasses all features or levels of consumption, offering a 'one-size-fits-all' approach.

How do you make tiered pricing?

Crafting a successful price tiering requires a mix of market research, cost analysis, and customer feedback. Start by segmenting your product or service based on features or consumption levels. Then, associate a price to each segment, ensuring it reflects the cost of delivery, competitor prices, and the perceived value to the customer. Regularly review and adjust based on market dynamics and feedback.

What is an example of a tiered product?

A classic example of tiered product offerings can be seen in online cloud storage services. Users might get a basic amount of storage for free (a basic tier), pay a moderate fee for a larger storage capacity (a mid-tier), and a higher fee for vast storage space with additional features like enhanced security (a premium tier).

What is the difference between tiered pricing and stepped pricing?

While they might seem similar, tiered and stepped pricing have subtle differences. This type of pricing charges customers based on the tier they fall into, with each tier offering specific features or consumption levels. Stepped pricing, on the other hand, incrementally increases the unit price as consumption rises, typically without offering additional features. Think of it as "volume discounts" in reverse.

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