Empirical studies have found that cost-based pricing remains dominant in pricing practice and suggest that practice conflicts with marketing theory, which recommends value-based prices. However, empirical studies have yet to examine whether cost-plus formulas represent the pricing approach or essence.
This study aims to address the factors that explain price setting whereby the cost-plus formula is not just the pricing approach but also the pricing essence. This examination is grounded in a survey conducted on 380 Brazilian industrial companies.
The results show that, for price-makers, the cost-based pricing essence is positively associated with four factors (two obstacles to deploying value-based pricing, company size and differentiation), but it is negatively related to one factor (premium pricing strategy). For price-takers, the cost-based pricing essence is positively associated with four factors (two obstacles to deploying value-based pricing, coercive isomorphism and use of full costs), but it is negatively related to five factors (one obstacle to deploying value-based pricing, company size, competitors’ ability to copy, normative isomorphism and experience).
The key contribution of this paper is demonstrating that cost-plus formulas do not go against the incorporation of competitors and value information. This study reveals that it is possible to set prices based on either value or competitors’ prices while simultaneously preserving the simplicity of the cost-plus formulas. Via the margin, firms may connect costs to information about competition and value. The authors also demonstrate the drawbacks of not segregating companies into price-makers and price-takers and an excessive focus on the pricing approach at the expense of pricing essence.
Amaral, J.V. and Guerreiro, R. (2019), "Factors explaining a cost-based pricing essence", Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Vol. 34 No. 8, pp. 1850-1865. https://doi.org/10.1108/JBIM-12-2018-0373Download as .RIS
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