(1) Penetration pricing
In the introductory stage of a new product's life cycle means accepting a lower profit margin and to price relatively low. Such a strategy should generate greater sales and establish the new product in the market more quickly. Penetration pricing is the pricing technique of setting a relatively low initial entry price, often lower than the eventual market price, to attract new customers. The strategy works on the expectation that customers will switch to the new brand because of the lower price. Penetration pricing is most commonly associated with a marketing objective of increasing market share or sales volume, rather than to make profit in the short term. The advantages of penetration pricing to the firm are as follows:
- It can result in fast diffusion and adoption. This can achieve high market penetration rates quickly. This can take the competitors by surprise, not giving them time to react.
- It can create goodwill among the early adopters segment. This can create more trade through word of mouth.
- It creates cost control and cost reduction pressures from the start, leading to greater efficiency.
- It discourages the entry of competitors. Low prices act as a barrier to entry.
- It can create high stock turnover throughout the distribution channel. This can create critically important enthusiasm and support in the channel.
- It can be based on marginal cost pricing, which is economically efficient.
A penetration strategy would generally be supported by the following conditions: price-sensitive consumers, opportunity to keep costs low, the anticipation of quick market entry by competitors, a high likelihood for rapid acceptance by potential buyers, and an adequate resource base for the firm to meet the new demand and sales.
Skimming involves goods being sold at higher prices so that fewer sales are needed to break even. Selling a product at a high price and sacrificing high sales to gain a high profit is therefore "skimming" the market. Skimming is usually employed to reimburse the cost of investment of the original research into the product. It is commonly used in electronic markets when a new range, such as DVD players, are firstly dispatched into the market at a high price. This strategy is often used to target "early adopters" of a product or service. Early adopters generally have a relatively lower price-sensitivity and this can be attributed to their need for the product outweighing their need to economize, a greater understanding of the product's value, or simply having a higher disposable income.
This strategy is employed only for a limited duration to recover most of the investment made to build the product. To gain further market share, a seller must use other pricing tactics such as economy or penetration. This method can have some setbacks as it could leave the product at a high price against the competition. A skimming strategy would generally be supported by the following conditions:
- Having a premium product. In this case, "Premium" does not just denote high cost of production and materials- it also suggests that the product may be rare or that the demand is unusually high. An example would be a USD 500 ticket for the World Series or an USD 80,000 price tag for a limited-production sports car such as this Figure 1.
- Having legal protection via a patent or copyright may also allow for an excessively high price. Intel and their Pentium chip possessed this advantage for a long period of time. In most cases, the initial high price is gradually reduced to match new competition and allow new customers access to the product.