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Showing the Price

Which is more effective, showing your pricing as soon as you show the item, or making the visitor click deeper into your site to find it?

I've had many conversations with clients about showing pricing. Should you show the price as soon as you show the article or service, or should you make the visitor click a few more times to learn the price?

As we all know, Amazon shows you the price as soon as you see the article. This is often cited as reason enough to show the price early on and very boldly--Amazon has tried every alternative, and if that's how they do it, it's likely to be the right approach. But not everyone accepts that simple approach.

On the side of making the visitor work is the view that learning more information about the offering before learning the price will help motivate the visitor to become a buyer, and provide more opportunity to make the sale. Perhaps the visitor can even be totally sold before the price is revealed.

The opposite view is that Web site visitors are impatient and suspicious. If they don't see a price up front, they won't be patient, they will just leave the site and go look elsewhere. They will be not be patient with receiving less than complete information.

A journal that I subscribe to has run experiments to measure the effect of forcing visitors to make a few more clicks to get a price. Is this technique successful in getting the visitor to go deeper into the site? Does it improve the number of visitors who purchase (called "conversions" in marketing speak)?

Unfortunately, although the experiments do provide us useful data, they don't tell us which psychological view holds, so we are still free to debate that issue. However, there is no doubt about the behavior that results, because that's been measured. It turns out that showing the price later does cause the visitor to click deeper into the site. It's possible to get several more clicks on the average out of each visitor. However, there's bad news too--showing the price later doesn't improve the conversion ratio, to the contrary it reduces the conversion ratio!

The Bottom Line: At the point you provide a complete description of your offering, provide the price too, in plain view.


Dave Roberts provides expert Web marketing services to help you meet your business goals. Visit his Web site at: DaveDoesItAll.com

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