Volume Pricing: 5 Steps to Set Up Volume Discounting Structure

By Thomas Bennett Financial expert at Priceva
Published on November 22, 2023
In the realm of modern commerce, volume pricing emerges as a compelling strategy, an embodiment of the age-old saying, “buy more, save more.” At its core, this approach revolves around offering customers the opportunity to purchase goods at reduced prices as they buy in larger quantities. This not only ensures that customers are enticed by the volume discount offerings but also guarantees that businesses drive sales in bulk, optimizing the 'per unit' costs.

As the retail landscape continues to evolve, the volume pricing model becomes ever more prominent, being an effective tool to incentivize bulk purchases and simultaneously optimize profit margins. Delving deeper, volume discounting is not merely about slashing prices haphazardly. It’s a nuanced pricing strategy, a blend of understanding customer behavior, market trends, and the innate value of products. Whether it's structuring a volume pricing strategy for a new product or revamping an existing volume pricing structure to meet the changing demands, it's crucial to balance customer attraction and business profitability.

The journey into bulk pricing is vast, layered, and, when executed right, profoundly rewarding. Join us as we delve into the intricate web of volume pricing, exploring its many facets, strategies, and real-world applications.

What is Volume Pricing?

Volume pricing is more than just a tactical decision; it's a strategic approach embraced by businesses seeking to harness the power of economies of scale. Essentially, scale pricing involves adjusting the price per unit based on the quantity of the product a consumer chooses to purchase. This pricing strategy is designed to strike a balance, ensuring that while consumers get more value for buying in bulk, businesses also increase their sales and potentially their overall revenue. The underlying premise of scale pricing hinges on the notion that as the volume of purchase increases, the cost incurred by the business for producing or procuring each additional unit typically reduces. This reduction is then passed on to the consumers in the form of volume discounts, creating a win-win scenario for both parties.

How Does Volume Discounting Work?

Volume discounting is not just a cursory price cut; it's a well-thought-out pricing strategy aimed at enticing customers to purchase more. By offering products at a lower per unit price when purchased in larger quantities, businesses not only increase their sales volume but also bolster customer loyalty. Imagine a scenario where a customer is deliberating whether to buy 10 units of a product or go for 20. If the per unit price reduction for 20 units offers significant savings, they're more likely to opt for the larger quantity. Thus, volume discount pricing can subtly nudge consumers towards making bulk purchases, optimizing stock turnover for businesses. Moreover, this approach, when paired with other strategies, forms a comprehensive volume pricing model that can cater to diverse consumer needs and preferences.

Who Uses Volume Pricing?

Volume pricing isn't exclusive to any one industry. Its versatility and efficacy make it a go-to strategy for various sectors. Wholesalers often employ bulk pricing to move large quantities of goods to retailers. Retailers, in turn, might use volume discounts to incentivize consumers to buy more. Manufacturers can harness this pricing strategy when dealing with distributors, ensuring larger orders. In the B2B realm, businesses might offer volume discounts to clients placing large orders or entering long-term contracts. Even in the digital space, SaaS companies often employ a volume pricing structure, offering reduced rates for bulk licenses or long-term subscriptions. The strategy's appeal lies in its ability to cater to both ends of the market spectrum: from individual consumers enticed by the prospect of saving on larger quantities to businesses looking to optimize their procurement costs.

Types of Volume Pricing Structures

Volume pricing is a dynamic strategy that varies in structure based on the product, market dynamics, and business goals. Delving deeper into its anatomy reveals diverse structures, each tailored to distinct business requirements and consumer behavior. Let's explore these structures in depth:


A commonly adopted volume pricing model, tiered pricing, segments product quantities into distinct 'tiers' or brackets. Each of these tiers has its own price point, designed to provide greater discounts as purchase quantities increase. For instance, buying 1-10 units might fall under the first tier at a specific per unit price, while buying 11-20 units could fall under a second tier offering a reduced price. The beauty of tiered pricing lies in its simplicity and direct relationship between quantity and price. It serves as a clear incentive for customers: the more they buy, the less they pay per unit.


Threshold-based pricing operates on benchmarks. Here, once customers exceed a certain purchase 'threshold' or benchmark, they qualify for a discount. As they purchase even more, crossing further thresholds, deeper discounts are unlocked. This volume pricing structure is strategic, nudging customers to push their orders just a bit more to gain better savings. For businesses, it's a mechanism to encourage larger quantities, optimizing both revenue and inventory turnover.


A strategy often seen in the SaaS industry, packaging involves bundling products or services into predetermined sets or packages. Each package offers a unique price, and as the size of the package increases, the per-unit price generally decreases. This not only simplifies the purchasing decision for customers but also streamlines inventory and service management for businesses.

Advantages of Volume Pricing

The concept of scale pricing, deeply rooted in economic theories and purchasing behaviors, offers an array of benefits for businesses. Here's a detailed examination of its multifaceted advantages:

Increased average order size

At the heart of the bulk me pricing strategy is the powerful incentive for customers to buy more. The prospect of a decreased per unit cost when buying in larger quantities can greatly influence purchasing decisions. This principle not only amplifies immediate revenue streams but also plays a pivotal role in optimizing inventory management. When customers buy more, businesses can streamline inventory turnover, which in turn can lead to reduced storage expenses and better cash flow management. It's a win-win: customers save money, and businesses improve their bottom lines.

New customers

The gravitational pull of volume discount pricing cannot be underestimated. By dangling the carrot of substantial savings, businesses can effectively pull in a new segment of the market. This segment includes both individual consumers and enterprises looking to maximize their purchasing power. In a competitive market landscape, a well-executed volume discounting model can differentiate a business, setting it apart and driving market expansion.

Broader appeal

A nuanced volume pricing model is like a finely-tuned instrument that caters to a symphony of customer types. Whether it's the bulk buyer seeking substantial discounts or the occasional shopper enticed by potential future savings, the strategy has a broad resonance. By striking a balance, businesses can ensure their appeal spans various demographics, fostering both loyalty and incremental sales.

Disadvantages of Volume Pricing

While volume pricing is an effective tool in the marketer's kit, it's not without potential pitfalls. Let's delve into some challenges that businesses might face:

Customers devaluing your product

The price-quality inference is a well-documented consumer behavior. If the price is too low, some customers might correlate it with inferior quality. When a product is continually available at a steep discount, there's a potential risk of it being perceived as less valuable or of lower quality. This perception can be detrimental in the long run, especially if competitors maintain higher prices and tout superior quality.

Lowered price value

A brand's pricing strategy speaks volumes. Consistently offering products at a discount might give customers the impression that the product is never worth the original price. Over time, this can erode the perceived value of the product and the brand itself, making it difficult for businesses to revert to regular pricing without facing backlash.

Profit loss

Volume pricing is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can stimulate sales and increase inventory turnover. On the other hand, if not meticulously planned and executed, it can lead to profit erosion. Selling more units at a significantly reduced price might not always compensate for the lower profit margins on each unit. Businesses must ensure their scale pricing models are sustainable and do not compromise their overall profitability.

Tiered Pricing Versus Volume Pricing

In the vast realm of pricing strategies, tiered and scale pricing stand out, especially for businesses aiming to incentivize bulk purchases. But, while they might seem similar at a glance, they operate on distinct principles.

Tiered Pricing: Think of tiered pricing as a stair-step approach. Here, customers are charged based on predefined usage or purchase tiers. For instance, the first 100 units might cost $2 each, the next 200 units at $1.80 each, and so forth. The price per unit changes only when it moves to a new tier. This pricing strategy is especially prevalent in industries like utilities or SaaS, where usage can be segmented into different brackets.

Volume Pricing: With scale pricing, it's all about cumulative quantities. Customers get discounts based on the total number of items they buy. The more they buy, the less they pay per unit. So, if a customer orders a large quantity, the reduced per-unit price is applied to all units in that order. This strategy is commonly used in wholesale and retail, making it enticing for customers to buy in larger quantities.

While both strategies aim to encourage increased consumption or purchase, their application and impact can vary, requiring businesses to choose based on their specific needs and customer behaviors.

5 Steps for Establishing Volume Pricing

Crafting an effective volume pricing model is both an art and a science. Here's a comprehensive guide to get you started:

1. Assess Your Costs
Delving deep into your cost structure is paramount. Understand the fixed and variable costs associated with your product or service. By determining your break-even point and desired profit margins, you can ascertain how much of a volume discount you can afford to offer without compromising profitability.

2. Analyze Customer Behavior
Before setting up any pricing strategy, immerse yourself in your customer's shoes. Understand their purchasing patterns, needs, and preferences. Are they inclined towards bulk buying? What kind of volume discounts would be enticing for them? This step ensures your volume discount pricing model resonates with your target audience.

3. Competitor Analysis
Pricing doesn't operate in a vacuum. You're in a market teeming with competitors. Understand their pricing models. Are they offering volume discounts? If so, at what thresholds? Gaining these insights will help you carve out a competitive yet profitable volume pricing strategy.

4. Test Different Structures
The real world is the best testing ground. Consider A/B testing different scale pricing structures to gauge which resonates best with your customers and brings optimal profitability. This iterative approach helps fine-tune your model.

5. Regularly Review & Adjust
The only constant in business is change. As market dynamics shift, customer preferences evolve, and your costs fluctuate, your volume pricing strategy should not remain static. Periodically revisit and optimize it, ensuring it remains aligned with your business goals and market realities.

Tips for Volume Pricing Success

In the realm of pricing strategies, volume pricing emerges as a favorite for many businesses aiming to drive sales and maintain customer loyalty. To harness its full potential, however, a strategic approach is crucial. Here are some vital tips to ensure success:

1. Educate Your Customers: An informed customer is more likely to engage with your volume pricing offers. Use marketing materials, emails, or on-site banners to highlight the benefits of purchasing in larger quantities. Make them understand the per-unit savings they can achieve, showcasing the value proposition clearly. This not only encourages bulk purchases but also fosters customer loyalty as they perceive the tangible benefits of shopping with you.

2. Flexible Structures: The beauty of volume pricing lies in its adaptability. Instead of sticking rigidly to one volume pricing model, consider using flexible structures that can be tailored as per market dynamics and customer demand. This ensures you're always offering the most enticing deals while staying in line with your business objectives.

3. Monitor Profit Margins: While the lure of increasing sales through volume discounting is strong, it should never come at the expense of eroding your profit margins. Ensure that the discounts offered align with your cost structure. Regularly assess and adjust your volume pricing structure to ensure it's profitable while still appealing to your target demographic.


Scale pricing stands tall among various pricing strategies, boasting the ability to incentivize customers to buy more while potentially increasing a business's profitability. When adeptly executed, it morphs into a potent tool that benefits both the customer, through per unit savings, and the business, via larger order sizes and enhanced loyalty. If you're contemplating integrating bulk pricing or any other pricing strategy into your business model, having expert guidance like that from Priceva can be invaluable. Navigate the intricate landscape of volume discount pricing with a seasoned partner, ensuring your business achieves its desired growth trajectory.


What is an example of volume pricing?

Volume pricing is commonly encountered in both B2B and B2C markets. A practical illustration can be seen in the apparel industry. Imagine a T-shirt company: For individual customers or small-scale retailers, they might charge $20 per shirt for orders under 100 shirts. However, for larger orders or bulk buyers like merchandisers or event organizers, the price might be slashed to $18 per shirt for orders exceeding 100. This incentivizes customers to buy in greater quantities, benefitting from the reduced per-unit cost. Such a pricing strategy not only boosts sales but also encourages brand loyalty as customers recognize the tangible benefits of larger orders.

What is an example of volume discounting?

Volume discounting is ubiquitous in the retail landscape. Take a stationery store as an example. A student or office worker might drop by to purchase a single notebook priced at $5. But, if the store offers a 10% discount for buying more than ten notebooks, a school or a business might jump at the chance to stock up, effectively saving on each notebook they purchase. The store, in turn, moves more stock in a single transaction and strengthens its relationship with bulk buyers.

What is a typical volume discount?

The extent of volume discounts can vary widely depending on the industry and the nature of the product or service in question. In the tech world, software or SaaS companies might offer a modest 5% discount for yearly subscriptions or larger user counts. Meanwhile, in the wholesale industry, discounts can be more aggressive, sometimes reaching up to 20% or even more for bulk purchases. It's essential to gauge the industry standard, competitor offerings, and the cost structure before determining the most viable volume discount.

What is the difference between volume and tier pricing?

While both volume pricing and tiered pricing aim to incentivize customers, their structures are distinct. Scale pricing is straightforward: the more units you buy, the less you pay per unit. It's a direct correlation between quantity purchased and the per-unit price. On the other hand, tiered pricing operates within specific brackets or tiers. For example, purchasing 1-10 units might cost $10 each, but 11-20 units could be priced at $9 each. It's less about the total quantity and more about the specific range or tier the purchase falls into. This system can often be seen in service-based industries, like utilities or software services, where users are charged based on predefined usage tiers.

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