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Pricing for profit: Understanding your margins and how to increase them

As an ecommerce seller, you want to make a profit. To do that, you need to have a good understanding of your margins and what impacts them. Margins are the difference between the price you sell a product for and the cost of producing it, including all the overhead costs such as shipping and packaging. Optimizing your margins is an essential part of running a successful ecommerce business. In this blog, we'll take a closer look at margins, how to calculate them, and how to maximize them.

How to calculate your profit margins

You will often hear the words gross profit and gross margin used interchangeably when discussing pricing strategy. While they are both important financial metrics, they are not the same thing.

Gross profit is the amount of revenue a company earns after deducting the cost of goods sold (COGS). It is calculated by subtracting the total cost of goods sold from the total revenue. It represents the amount of money a company has left over to cover its operating expenses and generate profit after accounting for the direct costs associated with producing and selling its products.

Gross margin, on the other hand, is expressed as a percentage and represents the percentage of revenue that a company retains after deducting the cost of goods sold. It is calculated by dividing the gross profit by the total revenue and multiplying the answer by 100. It’s a profitability ratio that measures how efficiently a company is using its resources to produce and sell its products.

Let's look at the basics of calculating your profit margins. This will tell you what portion of your sales revenue is actually profit.

Here is a simple step-by-step guide on how to calculate your profit margins:

  1. Total all your costs. This includes the cost of producing the product, overhead costs such as shipping and marketing, and any other related costs.

  2. Subtract your total costs from the total revenue to get your net profit.

  3. Divide the net profit by the total revenue and multiply the answer by 100 to get your margin percentage.

For instance, if you sold a product for $100, and the cost to produce it was $50, while the marketing and shipping costs were $10 and $5 respectively, your total cost becomes $65. The revenue is still $100, but after deducting the total cost ($65), the net profit is $35. To calculate the profit margin percentage, divide the net profit ($35) by the total revenue ($100) and multiply the answer by 100. This results in a profit margin of 35%. Taking into account overhead costs such as marketing and shipping expenses can provide a more accurate picture of profitability and help businesses make more informed pricing decisions.

What can impact your margins?


There are several factors that can impact your margins, such as the cost of goods, competition marketing, and any other overhead expenses associated with running your business. Let's look at each one of these in more detail.

Cost of Goods

The cost of goods is the price you pay for the product itself and any related materials or components needed to produce it. The cost of goods can have a major impact on your bottom line, so it's important to manage it carefully. Here are a few ways to do this:

  1. Incorporate bulk purchasing. Wholesalers typically offer better prices if you buy in bulk.

  2. Sign up for loyalty programs with suppliers. Many suppliers offer discounts or other incentives to customers who sign up for long-term contracts or loyalty programs. Gelato+ (our paid plan) is a great example of this. 

  3. Remove any unnecessary costs. Consider each cost carefully and eliminate any that aren't absolutely necessary such as packaging materials that add to the cost but aren't essential.   


Another important factor affecting your margins is competition. If your competitors are selling similar products for less, you'll need to either lower your prices or improve your margins in some other way. Here are a few ways to do this:

  1. Offer unique or high-quality products. If your products are unique or of a higher quality than your competitors, you can charge a premium for them.

  2. Create a brand identity. Building a strong brand can help you stand out from the competition and justify higher prices.

  3. Offer added value. This could include things like free shipping, a longer warranty, or a money-back guarantee.


Your marketing efforts can also impact your margins. By driving more traffic to your store and increasing your sales, you can improve your margins by spreading your fixed costs over a larger number of sales. Here are a few ways to improve the impact of your marketing:

  1. Optimize your website for search engines. This will help you rank higher in search results and attract more visitors to your site.

  2. Utilize social media. Social media is a great way to reach a large audience and drive traffic to your site.

  3. Use email marketing. Email marketing can help you build relationships with your customers, promote loyalty programs, and drive sales.

How to get your pricing right

How to get your pricing right

Pricing your products correctly is essential to ensure healthy profit margins. As a store owner, you have so many factors to consider, so how can you ensure that your prices are just right? Here are a few tips:

  1. Do your research and be aware of the market. Knowing what your competitors are charging and understanding how customers respond to pricing can help you set competitive prices. You may think a higher price will generate more revenue, but if no one is willing to pay that price then you won't make a profit. On the other hand, you may be pricing your products lower than needed.

  2. Be flexible with your pricing. Being able to adjust your prices can be a great way to optimize your margins. Utilize sales and discounts to attract customers and maximize your profits. Learning when to increase and decrease prices will take some trial and error, but it can be a great way to boost your profits.

  3. Test different pricing strategies. Experiment with different price points to find the sweet spot that maximizes your profits. There are many different pricing strategies you can use, such as offering a bundle of products for a lower price or creating an entry-level product that’s priced lower than the rest.

  4. Consider offering loyalty programs. Customer lifetime value is an important factor in setting your prices, and loyalty programs can help you maximize it. Offering discounts or other incentives to customers who keep coming back can help you build relationships with them and ensure that you retain your best customers.

  5. Make sure your pricing reflects value. You may have a product that doesn't cost much to produce, but that doesn't mean it should be priced very low. Your prices should reflect the perceived value of your product and what customers are willing to pay for it. How do your products impact their lives? Do they solve a problem? Are there many competitive alternatives on the market? These are all factors to consider when pricing your products.

  6. Don't forget to factor in taxes when setting prices! Depending on where you sell your products and what type of business you have, taxes may be applicable to the sale. Be sure to factor in any taxes when setting your prices to ensure that you don't end up losing money on a sale.

Better margins mean a better chance of long-term success

Better margins mean a better chance of long-term success

It can be daunting to make decisions about pricing, especially when you’re just starting out. But with a little knowledge and effort, you can optimize your margins and set yourself up for success. Use the strategies discussed in this guide to understand your costs, set a competitive price, and watch your profits soar!