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The Ultimate Guide to Implementing a Premium Pricing Strategy

Key points

  1. Premium pricing strategy involves charging higher prices to demonstrate superior quality and create a sense of exclusivity and value.
  2. Benefits of premium pricing include higher profit margins, enhanced brand image, competing on quality rather than price.
  3. Premium pricing works best for brands with a reputation for high-quality products or services, unique selling propositions, target markets that value luxury.

Back in 2021, Rolex produced an estimated 1.05 million watches, generating a revenue of $8.807 billion. That’s an average of $8,300 per watch. And according to reports, you can spend up to three years on the waiting list to get your hands on a new Rolex model.

This begs the question: why do people spend such a huge amount and wait that long to purchase an item whose only function is to tell time? When they can get something similar around the corner for as low as $5.

The answer lies in the perception that comes with owning a brand synonymous with wealth and success. But beyond this, the expensive price also creates a sense of exclusivity, high quality, durability, and longevity. Qualities not commonly associated with lower-priced brands. Therefore, it’s safe to say Rolex has mastered the art of premium pricing.

But this type of pricing strategy is not limited to the luxury goods industry. Any business looking to enhance its brand image, increase profit margins and gain a competitive edge can implement a premium pricing strategy.

In this article, I’ll shed more light on what a premium pricing strategy is, when to use it, and how to implement it for your business. You’ll also discover whether it’s the right strategy for agencies.

What is a premium pricing strategy?

A premium pricing strategy involves charging higher prices than your closest competitors. The goal is to demonstrate that your brand’s products or services are of higher quality than others. Hence, the reason it costs more.

Also known as prestige pricing, it’s often used by luxury brands, niche markets, or businesses with specialized products, especially in the fashion, tech, and automobile industries.

Think about the last time you purchased a product: you probably had different price options but you chose the one that costs more. Why? Because as humans, we associate higher prices with superior quality.

This is what premium pricing achieves. Charging high prices helps to differentiate your brand from other lower-priced alternatives, and also raises the perceived value of your product.

An example of a brand that uses premium pricing to great effect is Apple. They charge top dollar for their products like the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook. Despite the expensive price, their loyal customers keep buying because Apple has proven that their products are of superior quality. Apple has even gone so far as to design components such as the processor in-house to further set themselves apart, and become an industry leader.

Why use a premium pricing strategy?

1. Higher profit margins

Using a premium pricing strategy can result in higher profit margins for your brand. Charging more for your services helps to generate more revenue per sale and increase your overall profit. For instance, creating a website for $10,000 is more profitable than building one for $2,000.

2. Enhances brand image

It’s no secret that some consumers are willing to pay more for products or services they consider exclusive, high-end, and of superior quality. As such, setting premium prices enhances your brand image and positions your products as luxury items.

enhances brand image

For example, some people spend more to own a premium car brand like Mercedes-Benz over a Hyundai even though they perform the same function. This is as a result of the luxury brand image Mercedes has built overtime.

3. Compete on quality, not price

Unlike the competitive pricing strategy, premium pricing allows you to compete on quality and value rather than price. Charging more means you invest in better materials, equipment, processes, marketing, and customer service to ensure the standard of your product is of high quality.

This helps to differentiate your brand from lower-priced competitors, create a strong barrier to entry, and attract potential clients ready to pay more for quality.

4. Lower sales volume

While it may seem counterintuitive, a lower sales volume is one of the advantages of premium pricing. By selling fewer products at a higher price point, you can create a sense of scarcity and increase its perceived value. Those working off a project-based pricing strategy do need to adjust to this idea, but they’ll soon realize its many advantages.

Luxury watch brands such as Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet employ this marketing tactic. They only produce limited units of their watches each year, thereby making them scarce, exclusive, and more desirable to own. For a service business, you can limit the amount of recurring subscription services you sell.

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5. Attract high-value clients

Some consumers like to be associated with luxury brands. A premium pricing strategy helps to attract these types of customers who want to differentiate themselves from the masses by owning expensive products.

By establishing premium pricing, you can tap into the emotions of your customers and create a sense of belonging.

When to use a premium pricing strategy?

Premium pricing works best for brands that have established a reputation for providing high-quality products or services. If your brand is associated with low prices or quality, it may be difficult to convince customers to pay more for your product.

That being said, here are some conditions that allow you to implement a prestige pricing strategy for your business.

1. First movers

If you’re the first to introduce a new product in a market, you can set a higher price tag to gain an advantage over competitors who may later imitate your product.

But unlike price skimming, you don’t have to gradually reduce the price over time. Instead, set your price as the benchmark for customers willing to pay for quality.

However, it’s important to maintain the same high quality and standard that your customers associate with you. This will help to retain them in the face of fierce competition.

2. Unique selling proposition

Having a unique selling proposition helps your brand stand out from your competitors. So, if your product contains a special feature that’s unavailable anywhere else, you can use it to justify the premium price.

For example, if you offer unique white label services others are not offering, it makes sense to charge more money for it. Customers who understand the value will happily pay for it.

3. Limited production

Do you have a product that’s limited or not readily available to the public but only to a select group of people? Place a premium price on it.

Making it exclusive creates a perception in the minds of consumers that it must be worth more than other similar products.

4. Target market

No matter how great your product is, some high-income earners would never associate themselves with it if it has low-price.

As such, if you’re targeting the luxury market, setting premium prices for your products or services is a no-brainer. Only then will your ideal potential clients listen to what you have to offer.

5. Patented product

Patenting your product will prevent competitors from creating, using, or selling it without your permission for a limited time. As such, you can set a premium price on your products since there are no close substitutes in the market.

6. Loyal customer base

Got a strong, loyal customer base? Have you built a solid reputation as a company that offers high-quality products? Then you can establish premium pricing. Doing this will help you stand out from other brands that offer similar services to yours.

However, it’s important to note not all customers may afford the new price. So rather than lose them to competitors, you can create a low-price product to cater to the mass market. 

How to implement a premium pricing in your agency

1. Know your target audience

Before implementing premium pricing, it’s important to know who your target audience is and what influences their buying decision.

Ask yourself:

  • Do they value quality over price?

  • Would they be willing to pay more if you raise your prices?

  • How valuable is your product to them?

  • What do they find unique about your product that will justify a more expensive price?

Ensure you get answers to these crucial questions before you decide to increase your prices. Otherwise, you may lose your customers to lower-priced competitors.

You can survey or interview your existing clients to get their feedback. It will help you to determine if premium pricing is the right strategy for your business.

2. Identify your unique value proposition

People won’t pay a premium price for your product if there’s no major difference between yours and what’s out there. As such, the only way to justify the high price you charge is to identify your unique value proposition (UVP).

unique value proposition

In other words, pinpoint what distinguishes your product from your competition. This can be in the form of a unique feature, superior materials, innovative design, environmental friendly packaging, or excellent customer service.

For example, Apple’s state-of-the-art design (both internal and external) and exclusive ecosystem is the UVP that differentiates its products from brands. And they do a great job of showing this across all their digital platforms.

3. Communicate your UVP

Once you know your target audience and you’ve identified your UVP, the next step is to create messaging that clearly communicates your UVP on all your marketing materials, website, and social media pages.

The goal is to reinforce the idea that your brand is worth the premium price you’re charging. To accomplish this, tailor your messaging to resonate with the kind of people you’re targeting to match their budget, needs, and desires.

4. Create a sense of exclusivity

It’s no secret that some customers value more than just quality. They also want the exclusive access that comes with buying a product. You can leverage this to create a sense of exclusivity around your premium-priced products.

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You can add members-only access, limited editions, or exclusive offers as part of a deal. This way, you’ll not only justify the high price you’re charging but also make your customers feel special.

5. Say no to promotions

One common marketing tactic most businesses use to snatch customers from their competitors is to slash the prices of their products. But this strategy only works for price-sensitive customers.

When using a prestige pricing strategy, don’t reduce your price for the sake of a promotion because high-value customers are not bothered about price. Even worse, reducing your price might eliminate the sense of luxury associated with your brand. 

For example, high-end brands like Ferrari or Louis Vuitton, never run promotions, Black Friday sales, or discount offers to entice customers.

6. Excellent customer support

Charging your customers much higher than the market price means they are considered high-value clients. This means providing excellent customer support is non-negotiable.

Therefore, when implementing a premium pricing strategy, ensure your customer support team is knowledgeable, professional, and responsive. Failing to do so might lead to you losing one premium customer—and that can be a big hit for your financial situation.

Is premium pricing strategy a good choice for agencies?

Premium pricing can be an effective strategy for agencies that offer high-quality and unique products or services. However, you can’t wake up one morning and decide to start charging a higher price. You’ll lose customers faster than you realize.

A better strategy will be to:

  • build a strong brand reputation

  • have a large, loyal customer base

  • identify a unique selling point

Only then can you justify charging customers a premium price for your products or services.

Final thoughts

Premium strategy is a game-changer for any business that offers unique, high-quality services. Done right, you can stand out from competitors, increase your profit margins and gain a competitive advantage.

However, it requires a commitment to providing high-quality products or services and offering world-class customer support consistently. Anything less and you’ll lose your positioning as a premium brand.

Avatar of Chris Willow
Founder of SPP
Chris started Service Provider Pro back in 2014 as a way to help automate a video production agency he was running at the time. Being early to productized services, he was frustrated with having to piecemeal different tools and services and ended up building an all-in-one client portal platform for himself and a few friends. That eventually took off and now Chris helps agency owners scale through software and systems.

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