First of all, it's okay to change prices. Nobody expects to pay the same price for ten years. What is not okay, though, is to change prices often (unless we’re talking about dynamic pricing, which fits into another pricing paradigm altogether) – prices create expectations that need to be managed.
Second of all, you have to understand that it is impossible to move your customers to new pricing overnight, so it is best to start with a pilot project and randomly select a bunch of customers whom you will “grandfather.”
Thirdly, you have the responsibility to communicate your decision to your customers and listen to their objections or concerns. Send out an email or call and genuinely explain the reasons for switching to new prices. It’s OK to be verbose, if you need to, as long as you walk your customers through the reasons and acknowledge and listen to their objections. It’s worth trying to find common ground with your most important legacy clients and get back on the price a little to satisfy their demands. It’s okay to discount if some of your long-term customers are explicit that they can’t afford the new prices or ask to delay the new pricing policies for a few months because of the economic downturn, pandemic, etc.
Ideally, you’ll want to let your legacy customers pay the old prices as long as they wish. Suppose that is not possible or no longer financially reasonable. In that case, you may transfer them to new pricing while suggesting additional benefits in return, such as better customer service, longer support hours, free delivery, discount on favorite items, and so forth.
Lastly, consider increasing the pricing gradually. For example, if your legacy customers are accustomed to paying $1 as opposed to new clients who pay $3 for the same item, set the new price for your legacy customers at $2 and explain why you had to. It is best not to apologize because there is nothing to apologize for, it is business, yet it’s always nice to be considerate and account for other people’s circumstances.
Now, there’s a chance your legacy customers will reject a price spike. In such a case, you may renegotiate the scope of services you deliver, reduce the amount of time you spend with the customer, drop a few offers they can do without.
It all comes down to keeping the balance between what you and your customers can afford and keep up with.
Enjoyed this article? Check out our “Making sense of dynamic pricing in B2B ecommerce” article to get a deeper understanding of the B2B pricing world.