Should you have prices on your website?

The question of whether you should display prices on your website will always provoke a heated debate. Of course, there are some obvious situations where prices should be displayed, and some where they shouldn’t. But, for many service providers there are arguments for and against. Here are our thoughts…

Fixed price products

If you sell products or services which have fixed prices, and can be bought independently of you, then you absolutely should have prices displayed. In fact, they should be very clearly priced. As should any additional costs and fees such as delivery and handling costs. Unexpected costs at the checkout is the number one reason people abandon sales, so make these extra clear.

Do you have prices on your website? Displaying prices is essential if the customer self serves and the price is fixed as it is on this price tag.
Do you have prices on your website?

What about services?

Things get a little harder when it comes to services. Some service providers feel they need to put prices on their website to reduce contact from people who can’t afford their service, or are just nosey. However, people are far more likely to buy from a company they have formed a relationship with, even a basic one. If they just visit the website and get all the information they need, why do they need to contact you? And if they don’t, how will you start that relationship?

When you start a conversation with your customers you have the opportunity to prove to them that you care about them specifically. Even if you offer a set price list. Showing empathy to their individual needs means you can demonstrate how you will specifically help them.

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People buy from people, don’t force them to do business with your website!

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Are you charging enough?

If you feel like you have a low conversion rate, and you think you are regularly judged by your prices, then it might be time to review your pricing, rather than whether you display your prices. I don’t necessarily think you should lower your prices though! If you are under charging, you will be reluctant to take time with your potential clients, as your time hasn’t been paid for. If this happens you’ll be tempted to display prices just as a way to reduce unpaid contact.

In addition… You are probably also competing with all the other mid-range service providers that are out there – and I’ll bet there are a lot! Why not split from the pack and price yourself high. How many competitors would you have in the premium price bracket? By charging more, you’ll need less clients, offer a better service, and you’ll have more time to spend with prospects. Separate yourself from the herd by charging more and taking the time to talk to them!

What if your prices aren’t displayed?

Some people suggest a client won’t bother to contact a business just to get prices, so if the price isn’t displayed they’ll be lost. Customers that only value price, and early stage researchers might do that. But, do you really want a price focused customer? The researchers haven’t figured out their brief yet and so they aren’t worth worrying about – yet! When they have a clearer idea of what they want, they’ll be far more likely to get in touch to see how you can help them solve their problem. Far better to stay out of it until they are serious about buying.

Those that seek an quality product will always take the time to get in touch, if they think you can help. Likewise, if someone wants to work specifically with you, they will definitely ask.

Good branding speaks for itself

Without prices, people can still get a sense of quality and price from your branding. Good branding will help you stand out and prepare your customers so they’ll not be in shock when you talk numbers. If your branding is not pitched correctly, then your customers will always be surprised by your prices, no matter whether they are high or low.

I’m not just talking about a logo either! Your branding is your website design, your copy writing, the font you choose, the colour, even the quality of the paper your leaflets are printed on! I doubt BMW would have done so well if they printed their brochures on flimsy paper, and used Comic Sans!

Also, I suggest building up your advocates so they are recommending you every time people request recommendations for services like yours. People will be desperate to work with you if they get a good recommendation, and they’ll definitely fill in your web contact form. They are also likely to share the same values as the advocate, so half your selling is done before they even write their email.

You should hide your prices if…

  • Price is less important than value to you, and your customers
  • You specifically want your customers to get in touch
  • You only want serious customers that are ready to buy
  • Your customers expect a premium service
  • You offer a bespoke service
  • You work side by side with your clients, ie a counsellor
  • Most of your customers came from qualified leads (check how people are normally finding you)

What if you show your prices?

When your prices are available for all to see, you will definitely wheedle out price shoppers. However, not as many people shop on price as you might think. When surveyed, far more shoppers bought a product because they felt it met their needs better than a cheaper one, even though they specifically categorised themselves as price savvy shoppers!

Not all customers buy on price!
Not all customers buy on price

If your prices are displayed, you will get no feedback about what people are thinking about them, or your business, other than if they are buying or not.

Some people say it builds trust. If you hide your prices, then how do your customers know you aren’t ramping up the price because they think they can get away with it? This might be true, as long as you don’t have lots of add-ons. Does it build trust when you go to the Ryanair website to buy a flight that costs a tenner, and end up paying £45 because of all the extras!

It helps with SEO! People regularly do searches like “how much is a dog behaviourist” or “business coach”? If you directly answer this question on your website, it is quite likely to be picked up by google. But, think of the kind of customer that asks that kind of question. Are they likely to pick you if you’re not the cheapest?

You should show your prices if…

  • You offer self service, ie on a website
  • Your prices are under £100
  • You are the cheapest
  • Your prices are simple to calculate
  • Price is more important than value
  • You have fixed prices
  • You only cater to people on a budget

What about guide prices?

If you offer bespoke services, the compromise might be to set guide prices, or starting from prices. This can help set an expectation without ruining the conversation. BUT, this can only work if your prices are commonly in those ball parks. How many times have you started a purchase with a guide price of x and then by the time you’ve got your final quote its triple that? Unexpected costs or fees are a big mood killer in the purchase journey and are a common reason for people to abandon a sale.

Your customers aren’t experts!

Many customers don’t know how much work goes into the creation of a product and they often feel they just want something simple. A lot of work goes into creating a design set for a website. It won’t make much difference if you have 3 or 6 pages, even though you think the price should be doubled, it probably won’t be! A bespoke birthday cake is the same. The actual costs of making the cake are minimal. Its the time taken to prepare, decorate, and bake the cake that costs all the money. A small cake doesn’t take much less time, and therefore won’t be much less than one twice the size. It takes the same amount of time to research and plan a 500 hundred word blog as a 2000 word blog!

If you don’t expect your customer to be able to anticipate their own needs accurately, then case studies might be a better option. You can show your customers a few examples of your work, talk about the time it took, the challenges involved, and the final price. This is probably the best way to demonstrate your pricing without accidentally misleading, or disappointing anyone when it comes to the final quote.

Who is your customer?

Knowing your customer well is key to knowing how best to sell to them. If they are expecting a premium service, they’ll want to be sold to. They’ll expect you to understand their specific needs, and they’ll expect a bespoke price to match. They won’t expect to see standardised prices on your website.

If they are looking for something that will fit into their family budget, that they can buy in a few clicks, then they’ll need to see all your prices and charges.

Ask yourself, does your customer priority price or value? Do they shop on buy and sell sites on Facebook, or get recommendations on LinkedIn? I did my own research and found that on LinkedIn people are prepared to pay three times the price for a blog when compared to those on Facebook! That’s significant – where does your customer hang out?

Don’t get stuck thinking that customer budgets are fixed either, very often they are not. Whether they can afford or can’t afford is not down to budget, even in B2B. The price they’ll pay is based on the value and/or the potential return on investment, but you’ll have to demonstrate that if you want them to change their budget. I never go to the wine shop to buy expensive wine, but when I taste a wine that’s good, I’ll buy it! Same with a car, my budget changed a lot when I took my current car for a test drive!

A final thought from me…

Last October, I changed the way I market my dog behaviour business. Amongst other things, I do not have prices on my website, nor are they easily applied for. But, since last year I’ve only had a handful of quotes that have not been accepted, and one was for diary reasons. I’d rather have a few good quality leads than dozens of people “looking prices”. People “looking prices” aren’t going to pay my premium prices anyway!

Now, they have to fill in a form or book a zoom to get a quote from me. Only people that really want to work with me will do that! I get to have a conversation with my clients that allows me to empathise with them. Plus, I get to show the value I can offer them, and put together a bespoke training package that they are happy with.

I still have the same number of clients at the end of the day, but for less work, and more money!

Do you have prices on your website?

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