Pricing plays a crucial role for any retailer. There are several pricing strategies that retailers can choose from getting a competitive edge in the market and ensuring a good profit margin. One such pricing technique is markdown pricing.

What is the Meaning of Markdown Pricing?

Markdown pricing refers to a strategy used by retailers to reduce the selling price of a product in order to stimulate sales and clear out excess inventory. It involves reducing the original price of a product to attract customers and encourage them to make a purchase.

By reducing the original selling price of a product to entice customers to make a purchase. This strategy is typically employed when retailers have excess inventory that needs to be sold quickly. By offering discounts, retailers create a sense of urgency among customers and incentivize them to buy the product before it’s sold out or the price goes back up. Markdown amounts can vary, ranging from small percentage discounts to more significant reductions.

Retail Markdown pricing strategy is the most effective technique used by retailers for cutting the price of the product, increasing sales, and clearing out stock. It is essential for a business to prevent unnecessary waste and loss along with maintaining seasonal items’ profitability.

In today’s blog, we will get deeper into the concept of markdown pricing and how it can help in the online retail business.

What are Markdowns in Retail?

A markdown pricing strategy is a permanent reduction in the price of a product at the end of its lifecycle/ seasonality. Markdowns are used for temporarily boosting the demand for products that were witnessing lower sales throughout the product lifecycle. It is also an competitive pricing strategy for clearing out the inventory. It is important to manage markdown pricing accurately as it can impact inventory management and profits.

The markdowns in retail helped in clearing the stock of the products that were not selling well or were close to their seasonal lives. In some cases, the businesses might use markdown pricing for attracting new clients by offering discounts of specific products. Markdowns are one of the significant pricing strategies in the retail sector.

Markdowns are a result of excessive inventory at the end of the selling season. This type of pricing strategy is almost inevitable. It’s not possible to have a perfect inventory for satisfying the customer demands. Most retailers have a bit of extra inventory at the end of the season or product lifecycle. Though markdown appears to be similar to promotions, there is a difference between the two.

What is Markup and Markdown pricing?

A markdown pricing refers to reducing the price of a product for clearing the stock, and a markup pricing refers to the value that is added to the cost price for coming up with a selling price that includes the required profit margin. Some retailers take into consideration the cost of the product and add a specific percentage of it for setting the final price. The markup pricing strategy helps a retailer set the prices for the goods and services that help in estimating and generating significant profits.

How to Calculate Markup and Markdown Price?

Markup Pricing Formula:
Markup price is the selling price of a product that includes an additional amount or percentage added to the cost price.

Markup Price = Cost Price + (Cost Price × Markup Percentage)

For Example, let’s say you have a product with a cost price of $50 and you want to apply a markup of 25%.

Markup Price = $50 + ($50 × 0.25)
Markup Price = $50 + $12.50
Markup Price = $62.50

Markdown Price Formula:
Markdown price is the selling price of a product that includes a reduced amount or percentage subtracted from the original price.

Markdown Price = Original Price − (Original Price × Markdown Percentage)

For example, let’s say you have a product with an original price of $80 and you want to apply a markdown of 15%.

Markdown Price = $80 ($80 × 0.15)
Markdown Price = $80 $12.00
Markdown Price = $68.00

How to calculate Markup and Markdown Price

Details About Markdown Pricing

1. Determining the Right Time for Markdowns

Timing is crucial when it comes to implementing markdown pricing. Analyze historical sales data, market trends, competitive prices and customer behavior to identify the optimal moments to initiate markdowns. Consider factors such as seasonal demand, product lifecycle, and upcoming promotions. By aligning markdowns with peak buying periods or slow-moving inventory, you can maximize their impact.

2. Setting the Markdown Strategy

Effective markdown pricing requires careful planning and consideration. It’s essential to strike a balance between attracting customers with enticing discounts while preserving profit margins. Develop a clear strategy that outlines the percentage of markdowns for different product categories, the duration of the markdown period, and any additional incentives, such as bundling or loyalty rewards.

3. Segmenting Your Inventory

Not all products within your inventory may require the same level of markdown. Segment your inventory based on factors such as popularity, seasonality, or age. By categorizing products, you can tailor your markdown pricing strategy accordingly. Focus on items that have lower demand or are approaching the end of their lifecycle, maximizing the impact of markdowns on those specific products.

4. Effective Promotion and Communication

To ensure the success of markdown pricing, effective promotion and communication are essential. Utilize various marketing channels, such as social media, email newsletters, and in-store signage, to create awareness about your markdowns. Clearly communicate the value customers will receive and emphasize the limited-time nature of the discounts. This generates a sense of urgency and encourages prompt purchasing decisions.

5. Monitor and Adjust

Monitoring the performance of your markdown pricing strategy is vital for ongoing success. Regularly analyze sales data, customer feedback, and inventory turnover rates to evaluate the effectiveness of your markdowns. Identify patterns, assess customer response, and make necessary adjustments to optimize your strategy. Remember, markdown pricing is a dynamic process that requires continuous monitoring and adaptation.

6. Maintain Profitability

While markdown pricing aims to increase sales volume, it’s essential to maintain profitability. Carefully calculate the impact of markdowns on your margins and overall financial health. Consider factors such as the initial markup, anticipated sales volume, and associated costs. Strive to strike a balance between offering attractive discounts and preserving your bottom line.

Difference between Markdown and Discount

For running a business, every penny matters. It is important to first understand the difference between markdown and discount.

Markdown PricingDiscount
PurposeClear out inventory, promote sales, adjust prices based on market conditionsAttract customers, increase sales volume, promote specific products or services
ApplicabilityEntire product lineSpecific
EffectPermanent reduction in priceTemporary reduction in price

Markdown is the devaluation of the product depending on its inability to be sold at the original selling price. For example, the retailer prices a sweater at $100 and after a month of witnessing low sales, they markdown the sweater to 20% off and sell it at $80. Though the retailer lost $20 on the markup, they are able to invite more people for buying at a price point which they might prefer as compared to the original one.

As the sweater was not selling well at $100, offering a markdown price resulted in sales that weren’t happening otherwise. In some cases, the markdown needs to move from 20% off to 30%, and 40% if required when the sales continue to be low. You must not rush but not wait for too long as well for applying the retail markdown strategy as the product should still be relevant to the season or the trend.

A discount is a reduction in the price of a product depending on the customer making the purchase. Examples of discounts are employee discounts, senior citizen discounts, frequent-buyer discounts, etc. Many retailers offer discounts as they witness customers coming back to their store for purchases due to discounts offered to them.

Deep discounts allow them to enjoy the benefits of increased footfall. How much they wish to offer as a discount completely depends on them. A 10% discount is fine while 15% is quite attractive. 20% discount is great while 30 to 40% is a generous discount. If you decide to offer more, it should be done carefully. After all, the aim is to run a business for making money.

Both retail markdown strategy and discount pricing can be permanent or temporary based on how your market them to the customers.

How do Markdowns Benefit a Retail Store?

The retail markdown strategy helps in clearing the inventory so that it can create space for new products. Push the excess seasonal stock of the product before the particular season ends. Markdown pricing helps in increasing sales before the products surpass their expiration date. Markdown margin helps in increasing the sales of slow-moving products.

Increasing Sales and Conversion Rates

Markdown pricing serves as a powerful incentive to drive online sales. By offering discounted prices, you can capture the attention of price-sensitive customers who are actively searching for deals. Lower prices can entice potential buyers to make a purchase, leading to increased conversion rates and higher sales volumes. A well-executed markdown strategy can create a sense of urgency, encouraging customers to complete their purchases promptly.

Clearing Excess Inventory

Just like in physical retail, online businesses often encounter the challenge of excess inventory. Markdown pricing provides a solution by allowing you to effectively clear out surplus stock. When you offer discounts on slow-moving or seasonal items, you can quickly move inventory, free up storage space, and prevent financial losses associated with carrying excess stock. This helps maintain a streamlined and efficient online inventory.

Attracting New Customers

In this highly competitive online retail space, attracting new customers is crucial for every business growth. Markdown pricing acts as a magnet, drawing in price-conscious shoppers who are actively searching for the best deals. By positioning your online store as a destination for attractive discounts, you can expand your customer base, increase brand visibility, and potentially convert first-time buyers into loyal customers.

Enhancing Customer Engagement and Loyalty

Markdown pricing serves as a valuable tool to engage with customers and cultivate loyalty. Regularly offering discounted prices creates anticipation and excitement among your customer base. By leveraging targeted email campaigns, social media promotions, and personalized recommendations, you can effectively communicate your markdown deals, fostering a sense of exclusivity and building customer loyalty.

Types of Markdown Pricing


One of the first types of markdown is promotional pricing. It is the discount that results from promotional sales of all kinds such as temporary price cuts, endcap promotions, circular promotions, coupons, and more.


When a retailer decides that they won’t stock a product ever again, they put it on clearance sale with a retail markdown strategy. It can be an outdated item or style that the company wishes to replace with new offerings. It can be a subpar product that retailers might not wish to stock again.

In short, clearance means getting rid of the extra inventory which can be achieved with the help of a retail markdown strategy.

Markdowns for Damaged Products

It is the post-delivery damage or spoilage of the items. The retailers try to sell such defective products at a markdown pricing to get rid of the spoiled item. This reduction is done for damaged goods. You might have seen a store offering discount on a short because it was missing a button.


The retail markdown strategy is an effect of the price matching which retailers do for gaining a competitive edge. If the competitors are selling at a lesser price, it is essential to apply markdown pricing so that buyers don’t switch to the competitors.

The markup and markdown pricing are an essential part of the pricing strategies for retailers. When used well, it can help in ensuring a great profit margin.

Make Your Retail Business Completely Data-Driven

Markdown pricing is a powerful tool for online retailers, enabling them to increase sales, clear excess inventory, attract new customers, and enhance customer engagement. By implementing well-planned markdown strategies, leveraging data-driven insights, and effectively communicating discounts, online businesses can thrive in the competitive e-commerce landscape. Embrace the potential of markdown pricing to unlock new opportunities, strengthen customer relationships, and drive sustainable growth for your online retail venture.

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