If you ever wondered how stores could afford to sell items so cheaply, loss leader pricing is the answer. This business strategy involves selling a product at a lower price than the cost of producing it to attract customers and increase sales of other products. Loss leader pricing can be a great way to attract new customers, but it’s essential to ensure that you don’t lose money on every sale.

What is Loss Leader Pricing?

By definition, loss leader pricing is a price management strategy that picks one or more items to price below cost, intending to bring in customers who will purchase other profitable goods and services. Pricing at a loss means setting it lower than the costs required to make the product. 

Upselling customers must recoup these losses on profitable products or services.

The price anomaly is based on assumptions about consumer behavior: price-sensitive shoppers can be enticed into stores where they’ll buy higher-priced items, such as food and drinks. Shoppers may feel that because they’re already “in the store” (even if only in the parking lot due to online price comparisons), they might as well pick up additional items while there.

To price an item below cost, the production price must also be below market price and not price out demand. This means that (A) one needs a good understanding of costs to price accurately, and (B) there needs to be sufficient demand for this item to meet or exceed the total revenue, which includes both cost recovered and additional revenue from complementary products. The most common loss leader items are food, automobiles, household appliances, clothing, digital downloads, alcohol, or tobacco.

loss leader pricing

Types of Loss Leader Pricing Strategies

There are many different types of loss leader pricing strategies that you can use to increase sales for your business. Your business can use any of the following six types of loss leader pricing strategies to increase sales:

Skimming

The first type of loss leader pricing strategy is called skimming. Skimming is when you sell a high-priced product or service at loss leader discounts to attract new customers. The goal of skimming is to make as much money as possible off of your new customers by charging them a total price for the products or services that they buy from you. Many businesses use skimming as their primary loss leader pricing strategy.

Penetration

The second type of loss leader pricing strategy is penetration pricing. Penetration pricing is when you sell a low-priced product or service to draw customers. Penetration pricing aims to gain market share by attracting more customers than your competitors. Many businesses use penetration pricing as their primary loss leader pricing strategy. With this type of pricing strategy, you make less money per customer, but you make more customers, which translates into more sales in the long run.

Discrimination

The third type of loss leader pricing strategy is price discrimination. Price discrimination is when you charge different prices for the same product or service depending on who buys it. The goal of price discrimination is to make as much money as possible off each customer by charging them the maximum amount they are willing to pay. Many businesses use price discrimination as their primary loss leader pricing strategy. If you can set different prices for the same product or service, you can make money by finding the right price point for each customer.

Product bundling

The fourth type of loss leader pricing strategy is product bundling. Product bundling is when you sell two or more products or services together at a discount. Product bundling aims to get customers to buy more products or services from you than they would have if they had purchased them separately. Many businesses use product bundling as their primary loss leader pricing strategy. When you bundle products together, you give your customers a deal that they can’t refuse, increasing sales in the long run.

Price matching

The fifth type of loss leader pricing strategy is price matching. Price matching is when you match your competitors’ prices for the same product or service. The goal of price matching is to attract customers away from your competitors by offering them a better deal. Many businesses use price matching as their primary loss leader pricing strategy. By matching your competitors’ prices, you make it easy for customers to switch to your business, making them more likely to buy from you.

Undercutting

The sixth type of loss leader pricing strategy is called undercutting. Undercutting is when you sell a low-priced product or service to attract customers away from your competitors. The goal of undercutting is to steal market share from your competitors by offering a better deal. Many businesses use undercutting as their primary loss leader pricing strategy. Also known as aggressive pricing strategy, undercutting is a very risky strategy, but it can be effective if done correctly. Businesses that use undercutting as their primary loss leader pricing strategy should be prepared to lower prices even further if necessary to get more customers to purchase other items.

Each type of pricing strategy has its benefits and drawbacks, so you need to choose the best suits your business. If you want to increase sales, you should use one or more of these six types of loss leader strategies. 

  • Skimming is the most profitable loss leader price strategy, followed by penetration pricing. 
  • Price discrimination is the most profitable for businesses with multiple products or services. 
  • Product bundling is the most profitable for companies that sell various products or services together. 
  • Price matching is the most profitable for businesses competing with other businesses. 
  • Undercutting is suitable for starting businesses that need to attract customers from their competitors.

Which type of loss leader pricing strategy is best for your business? That depends on the products or services you sell and the market you are competing in. However, all of these six types of loss leader pricing strategies can be used to increase sales for your business. If you are not using one of these six types of pricing strategies already, it’s time to start!

These are just a few examples, so be sure to experiment with different pricing strategies until you find the ones that work best for your business. These strategies can help you increase sales and grow your business when used correctly.

Now that you know about the most common types of loss-leader pricing, it’s time to decide which one is best for your business! Try out a few different strategies and see which one works best for you!

A man posing happily in front of a vivid purple background for an engaging blog post.

Like what you're reading?

Join the informed eCommerce crowd!

Stay connected to what’s hot in eCommerce.
We will never bug you with irrelevant info.

By clicking the Button, you confirm that you agree with our Terms and Conditions.

Advantages to Loss Leader Pricing

If you’re looking for a way to boost your sales, consider using loss leader pricing. This marketing strategy can be a great way to attract new customers and increase profits. It has several benefits such as:

#01: More products per order

When you offer a product or service at a loss, it can entice customers to buy more products or services from your business. This is because they are getting a good deal on the initial purchase, and they may be more likely to return in the future.

#02: Increased Customer Loyalty

Loss leader pricing can also help to increase customer loyalty. When customers know that they can get a great deal on specific products or services, they will be more likely to return in the future. This can help build long-term relationships with your customers and increase brand loyalty.

#03: Attract New Customers

One of the best things about using a loss leader pricing strategy is that it can help you to attract new customers. When people see that you are offering a great deal on a particular product or service, they may be more likely to buy from you. This can help to increase your customer base and grow your business.

#04: Increased Brand Awareness

Another benefit of using a loss leader pricing strategy is that it can help to increase brand awareness. When customers see that you are offering a good deal on a particular product or service, they may be more likely to remember your brand and consider buying from you in the future. Brand perception is key to any successful business.

#05: Increased Revenue

Although you may be offering a product or service at a loss, you may still see an increase in revenue. This is because customers may buy more products or services from your business when they know they are getting a good deal. In the long run, this marketing strategy can help to increase your profits and grow your business.

#06: Improved Margins

Finally, using a loss leader pricing strategy can also improve your margins. This is because you will sell more products or services at a higher price point once the initial loss leader offer has enticed the customer.

So, if you are looking for a way to increase sales and attract new customers, consider using a loss leader pricing strategy! It can be a great way to improve your business results.

> Discover the 10 key performance indicators with a major impact on your customer lifetime value!

Risks with Loss Leader Pricing

Loss leader pricing can effectively attract new customers and increase brand awareness when done correctly. However, there are a few risks that you need to be aware of before implementing this strategy in your business. Here are some risks associated with loss leader pricing and how to avoid them.

Effect on brand perception

When you offer products or services at a loss, it can negatively affect its image. Customers may start to view your business as desperate or unprofessional, leading to negative customer perception. To avoid this, make sure that you only offer products and services in line with your brand’s image and values.

Risks of loss of revenue

Another risk of loss leader pricing is that you may not make any money on the sale. This can be especially risky if you rely on these sales to generate revenue. Make sure that you have a plan in place to offset the losses incurred from offering products or services at a discount.

Legal issues

If you’re not careful, you could find yourself in violation of antitrust or price-fixing laws, especially if you opt for predatory pricing. To avoid this, make sure that you know the applicable laws in your area and stay within the guidelines.

Risk of cannibalization

When you offer products or services at a loss, you may end up cannibalizing sales from your other products or services. This can be harmful to your business in the long run. Before implementing it, make sure that you carefully analyze how loss leader pricing will impact your other products and services.

Product devaluation

There is the risk of devaluing your brand. If you’re not careful, customers may start to view your brand as cheap or low quality. Again, make sure that you only offer products and services that positively reflect your brand.

By understanding the risks associated with loss-leader pricing, you can take steps to avoid them and effectively use this strategy in your business.

> Do you want to try a strategy that isn’t related to the prices you apply? Discover Customer Value Optimization Guide!

Loss Leader Pricing Examples

Many brands have used loss leader pricing to increase brand awareness and attract new customers. Here are five companies that embraced this pricing strategy:

Walmart

Walmart is the perfect example of a loss leader company. They are known for their low prices on everything from groceries to electronics, most of which are sold below cost. By offering products at a lower price than their competitors, Walmart attracts more customers and increases revenue from other products.

Amazon

Another company that has had great success with loss leader pricing is Amazon. In addition to selling products at a lower price than their competitors, Amazon also offers free shipping on orders over $25. This combination of low prices and free shipping has helped Amazon become one of the largest online retailers in the world.

Apple

Apple is another company that has embraced loss-leader prices. They are known for their high-priced products. However, Apple can attract more customers and increase sales by offering products like the iPhone and iPad lower than their competitors.

Netflix

Netflix is another company that has had great success with loss leader pricing. In addition to offering a low monthly price, Netflix also offers a free month of service for new members. This combination of low prices and free trials has helped Netflix attract millions of subscribers worldwide.

Gillette

Gillette is a company that uses loss leader pricing to increase market share. In addition to selling products at a lower price than their competitors, Gillette also offers free samples of their products (TREO). This combination of low prices and free samples has helped Gillette become the leading razor company globally.

Wrap up

The use of loss leader pricing is one way to get customers in the door and maybe a strategy you want to consider for your business. If it sounds like something that would work well with your marketing plan, give it a try.

But how do you know when it’s time for your company to switch from the traditional “make money on every sale” model of business? If there is no end goal or deadline that will determine success, then this type of pricing strategy might be right for your company.

To increase sales by using the power of loss leaders correctly at all stages of the customer acquisition funnel – from prospecting through conversion – we recommend researching consumer behavior patterns.

Tired of losing customers to your competitors?

Get expert advice & start building better Customer Experiences.

Frequently asked questions about loss leader pricing

What is the loss leader pricing strategy?


Loss leader strategy is an approach used by many businesses to lure in new customers with loss-leader discounts on certain items, and then hope that they will buy other products while they’re there. It can be a great way to attract new customers, but it’s important to ensure that you don’t lose money on the deal.

What is an example of loss leader pricing?


Several companies use the loss leader approach as their marketing tips. For example, Amazon usually prices their items lower than competitors, but they do it knowing that the customer will purchase other items while they shop on Amazon. With this marketing strategy, Amazon makes up for its losses with additional sales of other products the user may purchase.

Is loss leader pricing good?


There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the pros and cons of loss leader pricing will vary depending on your business. However, it is important to define loss leader pricing, understand what it is and how it can benefit your company. There are several advantages of loss leader pricing. For instance, it can help you attract new customers and grow your business.
Additionally, it can help increase brand awareness and generate leads. However, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider before implementing a loss leader pricing strategy. For example, you could experience a decrease in profits or find that you’re not covering your costs. Follow expert tips to help you decide if loss leader pricing is right for your business and learn how to use it to your advantage.

Why would a business use loss leader pricing?


There are several reasons why a business might use loss leader pricing. Sometimes, it’s used as a way to attract new customers and generate interest in a product or service. Other times, it can be used to drive traffic to an online store or boost sales during slow periods. Whatever the reason, loss leader pricing is a powerful marketing tool that can be used to achieve specific goals. Be armed with business essentials for loss leader pricing. Familiarize yourself with the concept and how to use it to your advantage to increase profits.