In July, barely a month after officially launching in India, Slack decided to make an unorthodox move. For the first time in nine years, the US-based workplace collaboration and messaging app raised the prices of its ‘Pro’ offering. The price rise, around 9%, was done to “reflect added value” and “ensure investment in innovation”, according to a list of FAQs the company put out.
Slack’s Pro offering and its free version are both essential channels for customer acquisition worldwide. The number of companies using Slack globally as of 2021 is just a quarter short of one million. But India is special—for years, Slack has pursued a deep discounting model, offering a 62% mark down on dollar prices.
Continuing the discount was also inevitable, multiple executives in the software as a service (SaaS) space told The Ken. The executives and others in the industry The Ken spoke to declined to be identified as they did not want to comment publicly on Slack. India is known to be notoriously price sensitive—it’s one of the firm’s largest largest Economic Times Slack counts India among its top 10 markets: country manager Rahul Sharma Read more free-user markets. The hefty discounting will continue with the elevated pricing as well, Slack has indicated, as it continues to expand its India sales team.
The Pro offering will now cost nearly Rs 700 (US$8.75 ) per person per month. With the discounts, India could get the Pro version for just Rs 262 (US$3.31). It also sweetened the deal for free users. Instead of a 5GB storage limit and a 100,000-message limit, Slack now offers unlimited storage and messages for 90 days.
Slack has some pretty big names in its net. Larger startups like Meesho; listed foodtech Zomato; old tech hands like TCS and Wipro; big tech companies like IBM, and Oracle—all of which have sizeable Indian workforces use Slack.
Meanwhile, a large chunk of Slack’s customer base—free users—likely doesn’t make the company any money.