When writing content for your website, you might find yourself asking this important question: should I display the cost of my products and services?
The short answer is yes, you should.
Customers respect transparency, and displaying your prices clearly and openly is a proven way to increase business.
But why? Let's break this topic down and explore why prices are so essential, starting with the beginning of the buying process.
When was the last time you made a significant purchase online? I don’t mean some lightbulbs from Amazon, but a true purchase of a new product. Did you click on the first product you saw and hand over your money?
Or, did you engage in a detailed and lengthy research process before you made your decision?
The chances are, you did the latter. When we make an investment, we tend to research first to ensure the product or service is right for us.
What do people research when buying?
Here are the five main subjects consumers and businesses research the most whenever they’re getting ready to make a purchasing decision;
- Pricing and costs
- Versus and comparisons
- Best in class
Comparisons, reviews, and best-in-class articles are typical on websites, but businesses often avoid displaying their prices directly. They avoid discussing problems even more so.
Why don’t companies display prices on their website?
At times, businesses choose not to include pricing information on their websites. Why do they make this decision when it's literally the main thing we search for concerning a product? Well, there are a few reasons:
- Businesses fear they will be undercut if they display pricing information publicly
- A business feels their product or service has too many variables to give a straight answer
- Business owners are scared the prices will look high, and potential customers will be put off.
These reasons are understandable, and they all stem from fear. The thing is, a customer engaging in research doesn’t care or even think about your business tactics; they just want answers.
Here’s an example to show you what I mean:
Let’s say you’re looking for a 1-tonne bag of sand. Your search might look something like this:
When you’ve made your search, you expect to know exactly how much your sand will cost. It would be irritating for your research process if you have to wait to hear back from an enquiry.
why displaying clear prices will benefit your business:
Customers are informed and happy.
This links back to the research I mentioned earlier. When you display prices and costs on your website, customers are informed and more likely to make a purchase. I’m sure you’ll agree, it's truly infuriating to visit a website and come away with no indication of how much something will cost:
“I just want to know so I can see if this is right for me!”.
Here’s another analogy to get this point across. You walk into a sports shop at the weekend because you need some new tennis shoes. To your surprise, instead of having prices next to each pair of shoes, you are greeted by a sign which invites you to get a quote.
What would you do? You’d walk out of the shop and visit another one where your burning questions about cost will be answered. There’s no point in sticking around for a quote to find out the shoes are £100 above budget; you want to know quickly so you can pick the right pair.
This principle applies to every purchase: B2C, B2B, product or service. It doesn't matter.
If you can better inform your potential customers about what to expect, you’re more likely to find people who are ready to make a purchase. Why? Because you’ve saved them time.
Pricing information also affects the quality of potential leads. If you have prices displayed on your website, you’re very unlikely to hear from a potential customer who can’t afford what you’re offering. Instead, if a lead contacts you, they already know they can afford the product or service because they’ve done their research.
Customers trust you more.
You can build trust between yourself and potential customers by being helpful and honest.
Google provides searchers with the ability to find any information they want instantly. If your website hides essential information about your product or service, potential customers are far less likely to trust you. If you’re not offering this information, someone else will be and your potential leads will not waste time looking on your site when they can find the information faster elsewhere.
However, there is a potential issue with this trust-building exercise; many businesses find it close to impossible to provide a definitive figure to place on their website. This is fair enough; let’s say you offer highly personalised services and not bags of sand or tennis shoes. Many businesses or services just have too many variables at play to give a price without consultation.
If you find yourself in this position, there is a silver lining. When unable to give exact figures, you gain the opportunity to discuss the different variables around cost. Providing candid and transparent guides to pricing in your industry is very informative for potential customers and significantly aids their research process.
Having prices will increase your website ranking.
This brings me to our third and final reason for including prices on your website: rankings.
Without getting bogged down in technicalities, websites that provide genuinely helpful and valuable information for searchers rank higher on Google. A website that is specifically designed to rank higher through content is described as being optimised.
You don’t need to be an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) expert to know that Google ranks websites higher if they provide answers. In other words, give people exactly what they want, and Google will place you higher than your competitors.
Let’s see this in action. Below I’ve searched for loft conversion costs in Kent:
Loft Conversions Kent have managed to rank 1st (after the paid ads) by giving searchers exactly what they want. If you hold your cards close to your chest, Google is unlikely to reward you.
We call this inbound marketing - creating valuable content to attract customers. Filling your website with blogs, articles, and videos on prices will help answer questions potential customers have. This builds trust, making them more likely to choose your product or service.
The three reasons we’ve explored in this article boil down to one key message:
Including prices on your website is helpful for potential customers; in turn, this is helpful for your business.
If you’re genuinely unable to provide an accurate cost for your services or products, a ballpark figure or helpful guide is the next best thing.
Help your potential customers with their research, and they could reward you with their business in return.
Interested in learning more?
The ideas in this article were inspired by Marcus Sheridan’s fantastic book They Ask You Answer. It's a brilliant insight into consumer behaviour in a digital world and gives countless tips and exercises to consider.