It’s a question that every small business needs to make when planning their website. There are many valid arguments for and against to putting your pricing online. To provide some clarity, we’ve busted a few myths that people tend to carry when considering the pricing question.
The #1 Reason you should publish your prices on your website…
If it matters to them, then make it easy.
Price is often an important decision-making criteria, so if publishing your price on your website makes it easier and faster for them to decide in your favour, why would you get in the way?
Publishing your prices doesn’t show your value. It won’t improve your branding. What it can achieve is to assist customers on their buying journey, getting you closer to a yes (or no) decision.
Your website needs to sell as well as your best salesperson. If you don’t trust it to communicate the value you offer (which should be bigger than the price you charge), you’ll need to fix this much bigger problem.
What if my competition sees my price points?
What about them indeed. Most serious players in most industries have a pretty good idea as to where they sit relative to their competition. Ask yourself, do you know roughly where you expect the competitions pricing to be on the next job you both quote on? If you don’t then you have some work to do on your competitive intelligence.
While their website is a good place to start, you could also ask your customers, their customers, industry colleagues or look at the cost structures they have in their business and make an educated guess as to where they should sit if they were to be making an acceptable margin. There’s no doubt that they’ll be going through a similar process when looking at your prices. If you are doing something unique, and have a fundamentally different cost structure, pricing your services can show that differentiator. If on the other-hand your cost structures are much higher than your competition and deliver no additional value to your customers, get down to work fixing these, or creating more value.
In short, price is everywhere today, and customers expect to see it, up front.
My sales strategy relies on customers calling for a price
Perhaps you think that you need the prospects to talk with you first so that you can demonstrate the value your product or service offers, before quoting them a price. This is an argument we here all too often from salespeople, and perhaps it is a little bit of self-preservation. If your website is well structured, it will prove to a visitor whether you can solve their problem and that the price you charge is worth every cent. Effectively the website is becoming a valued part of your sales team, creating value for your customers and streamlining the sales process. When a prospective customer finally does call you, they’ve already been pre-sold by the website and your sales teams role is to reinforce the understandings of the value you offer and close the deal. If a sales rep needs to speak with me, it’s because they think the product or service “needs explaining,” or that they need to “handle my objections.” Neither is a good excuse to waste my time on something that doesn’t need explaining or should have been explained thoroughly on the website. If you’ve done the work to understand the objections and handle these before I raise them, then top marks, this is what a website should do.
What if they see the price and suffer sticker shock?
You’ll know from your own experience sometimes the price of a good or service is enough to send you searching for the nearest AED. Immediately your interest is crushed, and you’re walking (ok running) out of the short at top speed. It happens even faster on a website, just click that back button and you’re out of there.
In any contexts, no price looks even more expensive, than a high one. Imagine walking into a high-end fashion retailer that had no prices, for most of us the message would be…if you need to worry about the price you’re not welcome here. For their target market though this would be the perfect signal.
My product/service is much to complex to be able to offer an online quote
Some services and products (like many that we offer) are tailored and priced according to each client’s needs. In many of these instances, people don’t expect to see a price. What can work however is a price signal. Pricing signals can be explicit such as price ranges and from prices, or implicit, through the use of colours, style and design to convey a message. -When using price signals, make sure that they are consistent with the reality of your offering. You’re setting your customers up for a disappointment in for example making your cheap second-hand store look like a high-end antique store (or vice versa).
Cheap competitors will just copy my price
Sometimes businesses fear that a competitor, who offers an inferior product or service will see their higher price as a green light to increase their own prices. In the absence of any other quality signals, customers may be induced into thinking that the competitor is “almost as good” as a slightly lower price. If you’ve done the work creating and demonstrating the real value you offer, don’t worry. Do the work to help your target market discern the difference you offer. Build on your testimonials, prove your differences, and show the value you deliver. The “cheap” competitor, starts to look very expensive when the customer can see the value you offer,
My only differentiator is price, I can’t afford to give it out
If you feel that your service or product is no different from that which your competitor offers you have a problem. This is called a commodity. Commodities are regarded as being for all intents and purposes the same, regardless of who is selling them (think about fuel, wheat or iron ore). By being clear on what makes you unique, and better than your competitor, you avoid being seen as a commodity. In marketing lingo this is called your Unique Selling Proposition. If you don’t have one, get one. In almost every instance it’s there, you just might need a hand teasing it out.
What about people shopping on price
If your website visitors are only shopping for prices, chances are they are not your customers. If you’re only winning customers over because you’re the cheapest, you’ll lose them as customers as soon as someone else is willing to cut their margins deeper or adopt a lower cost business model. For these customers, including your prices on your website, Facebook page or Google Ads, is an excellent way of helping them to qualify themselves out, before wasting your time.
My product is ultra-premium and customers don’t care about the price
If price really doesn’t matter to your target customer, then don’t include it on your website. But before you make that jump, consider the fact that Rolex, Gucci, IWC and many other Premium Core and Super PRemium brands, do include prices on their sites. Graff and Leviev don’t but then again, when they start at USD$50,000 for a ring why would they, if you need to ask, you can’t afford it.
So should you put your prices on your website?
There are lots of reasons not to put your prices out, and many of them might seem valid. The only thing that should ever matter when it comes to making the decision is what do your customers expect of you?
At Rethink Marketing we’ve worked with hundreds of small businesses in both consumer and industrial markets, offering products and services that vary in their complexity and price. We are yet to find a product (or service) that we can not provide a quote or at least signal a price range.
Indeed, we have most experiments we have conducted we have found that being up front, transparent and indeed open about pricing has boosted both the quality and quantity of leads generated. I guess the end customer is just rewarding our clients for their transparency.