Are pricing policies an impediment to the success of customer solutions?

Arun Sharma, Gopalkrishnan R. Iyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


In an era of declining pricing power and increased global competition, customized solutions appear to be an effective way to build competitive advantages without the debilitating effects of price competition. Solutions involve provision of an integrated combination of goods and services that are designed to meet a business customer's specific needs. Premium prices and higher margins can be extracted by solution providers, who now have considerable incentives to design and market innovative solutions for their customers. We examine the applicability of various pricing frameworks and pricing practices in the context of two industries - business process outsourcing and power generation equipments. Our interviews suggest that firms predominantly use traditional pricing strategies; new strategies for solution pricing are only emerging; and, successful firms are currently using hybrid pricing models. We find that the solutions that we observed among practitioners are not what theory would suggest as true solutions but what would be described by theory as bundled products. We also find that solutions are in the eye of the beholder, i.e., if customers can de-bundle offerings, they are not true solutions. We extend our findings to academic theory and to the practice of developing and pricing solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)723-729
Number of pages7
JournalIndustrial Marketing Management
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Buyer-seller relationships
  • Customer solutions
  • Pricing solutions
  • Value pricing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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