“Watch out for falling prices at XYZ Company!”
Have you ever heard of a similar slogan before? What do you make of it? Let me give you my perception of price slashing, and how it affects your brand from a website usability perspective.
Let’s look at the above example of falling prices. One observation that can be given is that the original price was too high to begin with. This could be due to several economic factors, or could be due to the brand strategy of how much profit they are seeking by pricing an item at a given price.
As a usability feedback provider, I regularly make recommendations on how websites should or should not present their product offerings to their customers. Let me share some advice with you, so that you don’t make the same mistakes when it comes to presenting prices to customers.
Two Helpful tips for Price Presentation on Your Website:
The first rule of thumb is to not use price slashing techniques underneath your products. This is where you show an original price – usually shown in red font – and a strike-through on this amount, and then a lower price shown below – typically in black font. Such a move to show this will tell visitors that you have no clue what to price products, and you are getting desperate to make a sale, thus the price drop. Now you may be thinking that you want to show your customers the value they are saving. Well, the perception of your brand – also known as your brand image – is way more valuable than showing a slight decrease in price. Just so you understand me, let me clarify my point: I did not say you cannot lower your prices to stay competitive. If you want to show that your brand is premium, have one price underneath your products. Falling prices may look good if you are a well known and established brand, but if you do not have brand recognition, falling prices will only show that you are a “newbie” to the arena.
Exception to this rule: An exception to this rule is to have a section for “Sale” or “Clearance” items. It would be okay to have a marked down price here. But it is not appropriate to label your regular commodities with marked down prices, because it shows a lack of expertise in pricing. Instead, simply change the price on your website, but don’t broadcast to the world that you had to make a change because you were not knowledgeable on how to price your product.
Next, avoid pricing any products on your homepage. This is because your homepage is your front door. This is where a visitor will determine how helpful you are, and if they will even do business with you. Putting a price on your front door will deter potential clients before even looking at your selling points, and should be avoided. Do you see prices on the door to your favorite brick-and-mortar businesses? No. That is because they want you to sample what they do before showing you how much it will cost. The same goes for websites. Prices should be contained on a “Pricing” tab, and not shown on your homepage. Your homepage should be the salesman, and a good salesman never starts his sales pitch with a price. This comes at the end when he is going to close the deal. So keep your homepage free of numbers that will distract visitors from getting sold on your product offerings.
Exception to this rule: An exception to the pricing rule is the word “FREE”. If you want to give out a free sample or free trial, or free anything, this is appropriate for the homepage. Giving out a sample of your product can entice visitors to want more, if it solves a need that they have. The word free does not count as a price, and it is encouraged for you to proudly promote free giveaways on your homepage.
Price presentation is a key element to website usability. Keep these tips in mind when marketing your product offerings on your website, so you will look like the best in the business. Your success will be determined by your website usability.