Sustainable pricing strategies: what are they and how to implement them

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A sustainable pricing strategy involves setting prices that cover a company’s social and environmental costs for each sale. It aims to contribute to the drive for a sustainable economy, to reduce the impact on the planet and its people, thus meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Given its importance for the future and its weight for many users, it is vital for e-commerce businesses to know how to integrate sustainable prices into their pricing strategy, and to know the pros and cons.


Keys to setting sustainable prices 

Percentages for social and environmental costs are added to the minimum selling price to obtain sustainable prices. The seller (brand or retailer) must be aware of their activity’s impact on society and the environment. 

Among these social and environmental costs that e-commerce businesses can offset with sustainable prices are the by-products of the increase in air pollution, the exploitation of certain raw materials or the perpetuation of poverty in developing countries, either caused by low wages or instability in the working environment. In many cases, the seller may not be responsible for the entire manufacturing and supply chain. However, they can be aware of its impact and try to offset it. 

However, for users to purchase, prices must remain competitive. Therefore you need to be highly aware of competitors’ prices to ensure optimal implementation of this sustainable increase. Ultimately, the aim is to offer attractive prices which will help improve our environment. 

Examples of sustainable prices

When applying a sustainable pricing strategy, you can: 

  • Devote a percentage of the price to reducing the logistics chain’s carbon footprint. Many airlines are already doing this. 
  • Collaborate with the environmental or humanitarian NGOs for whom this extra percentage on each product or service is intended. 
  • Create your own sustainable development programs. 

Avoid what is known as greenwashing. This involves creating a greener brand image underpinned only by storytelling, not storydoing, i.e., without real actions to back it up. In the long-term consumers can become aware of this, and it can affect your credibility and brand image and can have corresponding repercussions for your sales.

Pros and cons of sustainable pricing for e-commerce businesses

Pros and cons of sustainable pricing for e-commerce businesses 

Advantages

The advantages of this social pricing strategy are clear to see. However, this strategy can also bring benefits to sellers in their day-to-day lives:

  • Increased engagement with customers who are more aware of sustainable development. 
  • Higher loyalty rates. 
  • Strengthening the brand image and the company’s commitment to society. 

Disadvantages 

  • More price-sensitive and less conscious users can turn to other brands. 
  • Risk of a reduced profit margin.
  • To maintain a competitive position, you need to keep tight control of your own and competitors’ prices. 

Therefore, you can use pricing tools to achieve optimal pricing, and guarantee the company’s profit margin. This will help you always keep track of your competitors’ prices, and vary your prices according to supply and demand, to achieve the best results while helping to take care of everything and everyone.

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