Pricing Case Interview: Step-by-Step Guide

Pricing case interviews

Pricing consulting cases are one of the most common types of case interviews. You will most likely see at least one pricing strategy case in your upcoming interviews.


A pricing case interview may look something like the following:


Apple is about to launch their latest version of the iPhone. What is the optimal price that they should set for this new product?


Fortunately, pricing cases follow a predictable pattern. Once you have practiced a few pricing cases, you should be able to solve any pricing case interview.


In this article, we’ll cover:

  • A comprehensive pricing case interview framework


  • The 7 steps to solve any pricing case interview


  • A full-length pricing case interview example

  • Recommended pricing case interview resources

If you’re looking for a step-by-step shortcut to learn case interviews quickly, enroll in our case interview course. These insider strategies from a former Bain interviewer helped 30,000+ land consulting offers while saving hundreds of hours of prep time.


Pricing Case Interview Framework


The best pricing case interview framework looks like the following:

Pricing Case Interview Framework


The framework starts by looking more closely at the company and product. Understanding the company and product better will help you get a sense for how you should be pricing the product.


Afterwards, the framework covers the three different ways to price a product or service. We’ll cover each of these pricing strategies in detail so you can fully understand how to use this framework. You’ll likely use a combination of all three of these strategies to solve a pricing consulting case.


Pricing based on costs


The simplest way to price a product is to look at the costs to produce a product and set a higher price. If the company has a specific profit margin figure in mind, they can set a price to reach their profit margin goals.


Example: If it costs Apple $200 to produce their iPhone and they are aiming for at least a 20% profit margin, they would need to price their iPhone for at least $240.


Pricing based on costs ensures that the company will be profitable from selling the product. It does not make sense to price a product lower than its costs because the company would be losing money on each sale.


Pricing based on costs sets the lower end of the pricing range you should consider.


Pricing based on value provided


Pricing based on value provided is the most complex way of pricing. To price a product using this strategy, you need to identify all of the benefits that the product provides and quantify how much value these benefits provide to customers.


This will equal the customer’s maximum willingness to pay. For example, if a product provides $800 of value to the customer, they will not be willing to pay more than $800 for it. It does not make sense to price the product for more than this because no customers would buy it.


Example: The iPhone provides various benefits such as entertainment, productivity, communication, and status. If customers get $300 of value from entertainment, $200 of value from productivity, $400 value from communication, and $100 value from status, customers would be willing to pay a maximum of $1,000.


Pricing based on costs helps set the upper end of the pricing range you should consider.


Pricing based on competition


Pricing based on competition will help you determine where in between your lower and upper range of prices you should price your product for. To price based on competition, you will need to identify competitor products that are substitutes for your product.


Pricing based on competition is based on two factors, the price that competitors set for their product and the customer’s maximum willingness to pay for their products.


The difference between these two numbers is the amount of value the customer captures from purchasing the competitor’s product. In economics terms, this is known as consumer surplus.


In order for customers to purchase your product, you will need to give customers more value than they get from purchasing a competitor’s product.


Example: Apple’s main competitor, Samsung, has a competing smartphone that they are selling for $400. This product provides customers a value of $600 from the benefits it provides. Therefore, customers get $200 in value from purchasing this product.


If Apple’s customers get a value of $1,000 from purchasing an iPhone, Apple will need to give customers at least $200 of value to make customers purchase an iPhone instead of a Samsung smartphone. Therefore, Apple can charge a maximum of $800 for their iPhone.


The 7 Steps to Solve any Pricing Case Interview


1. Understand the goal or objective of the company


The first step to solving any pricing strategy case interview is to determine the goal or objective of the company.


Most of the time, the company is looking to price a product to maximize profits. However, there are times when a company may be looking to maximize revenues, market share, or number of customers.


Your pricing strategy will differ tremendously based on the company’s specific goals. Therefore, it is important that you understand what the company’s exact goals are.


2. Develop a framework


Next, develop a framework to help you structure your approach to solving this pricing case.


Depending on how much context of the company or product that you have, you may also need to understand the company or product better. These could be the first one or two areas of your framework.


The rest of your framework should include the three different pricing strategies we have covered:

  • Pricing based on costs


  • Pricing based on value provided


  • Pricing based on competition


Make sure to walk the interviewer through your framework to see if they agree with your approach. They may provide feedback or offer a few suggestions.


3. Determine the minimum price point


Using the pricing based on costs strategy, determine what the minimum price point of your product should be. Remember, price needs to be greater than costs in order for the company to achieve a profit.


4. Determine the maximum price point


Next, use the pricing based on value provided strategy to determine what the maximum price point of your product should be.


Identify all of the benefits that the product provides customers. Then, quantify these benefits into a dollar value. The sum of the value of the benefits represents the customer’s maximum willingness to pay.


5. Determine the optimal price point


Afterwards, use the pricing based on competition strategy to determine which price point between your lower and upper price points is optimal.


Identify competitor products that are substitutes for your product. Quantify the benefits that competitor products provide customers and compare that to the prices they are set at.


The difference between these two values is the minimum amount of value that you need to give to customers in order for them to want to purchase your product.


6. Consider additional pricing factors


Now that you have an idea for the optimal price, you can consider additional pricing factors:

  • Are there additional products that the company can cross-sell or up-sell?


  • Can different versions of the product be sold at different price points?


  •  How do you think competitors will respond to your pricing decisions?


All of these considerations may change the price point that you set.

  • If you can cross-sell or up-sell additional products, you may be willing to lower the price of your product further if it means generating more overall profits


  • If there are multiple customer segments with different needs and willingness to pay, it may make sense to have multiple versions of the product to sell at different price points


  • If you set a price that undercuts competitors, they may also cut prices to compete with you. Therefore, you should anticipate the consequences of the price point that you set


For simple pricing cases, you may not need to look at any of these considerations. However, more complex pricing cases may require you to think more creatively or thoroughly on what other factors may dictate the price point the company should set.


7. Deliver a recommendation


At the end of the pricing case interview, you’ll synthesize all of the work you have done to deliver a clear, concise recommendation.


You should try to structure your recommendation in the following way:

  • Recommend the optimal price point or price range


  • Provide the two to three reasons that support this


  • Propose next steps


Next steps can include areas of your framework that you have not covered yet, additional pricing considerations, or any open questions that you don’t have answers to.


If you can’t think of next steps, ask yourself what you would need to know to make you more confident in your recommendation. This is a helpful way to generate ideas for next steps.


Pricing Case Interview Example


Watch the video below for a comprehensive example of a pricing case interview. This example came from BCG’s interactive case interview library.

For more practice, check out our article on 23 MBA consulting casebooks with 700+ free practice cases.

In addition to pricing case interviews, we also have additional step-by-step guides to: profitability case interviews, market entry case interviews, growth strategy case interviews, M&A case interviews, operations case interviews, and marketing case interviews.


Recommended Pricing Case Interview Resources


Here are the resources we recommend to learn the most robust, effective case interview strategies in the least time-consuming way:


  • Comprehensive Case Interview Course (our #1 recommendation): The only resource you need. Whether you have no business background, rusty math skills, or are short on time, this step-by-step course will transform you into a top 1% caser that lands multiple consulting offers.


  • Hacking the Case Interview Book (available on Amazon): Perfect for beginners that are short on time. Transform yourself from a stressed-out case interview newbie to a confident intermediate in under a week. Some readers finish this book in a day and can already tackle tough cases.


  • The Ultimate Case Interview Workbook (available on Amazon): Perfect for intermediates struggling with frameworks, case math, or generating business insights. No need to find a case partner – these drills, practice problems, and full-length cases can all be done by yourself.

  • Behavioral & Fit Interview Course: Be prepared for 98% of behavioral and fit questions in just a few hours. We'll teach you exactly how to draft answers that will impress your interviewer