Q&A - What is competitor-based pricing?

Jim Riley

2nd January 2011

Competitor-based pricing involves the setting of prices based on what rivals are charging.

If there is strong competition in a market, customers are faced with a wide choice of who to buy from. They may buy from the cheapest provider or perhaps from the one which offers the best customer service. But customers will certainly be mindful of what is a reasonable or normal price in the market.

Most firms in a competitive market do not have sufficient power to be able to set prices above their competitors. They tend to use “going-rate” pricing – i.e. setting a price that is in line with the prices charged by direct competitors. In effect such businesses are “price-takers” – they must accept the going market price as determined by the forces of demand and supply.

An advantage of using competitive pricing is that selling prices should be line with rivals, so price should not be a competitive disadvantage.

The main disadvantage is that the business needs some other way to attract customers. It has to use non-price methods to compete – e.g. providing distinct customer service or better availability.

Jim Riley

Jim co-founded tutor2u alongside his twin brother Geoff! Jim is a well-known Business writer and presenter as well as being one of the UK's leading educational technology entrepreneurs.

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