Why does everyone hide their prices?

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Just yesterday, I got some email from another web analyst asking me to buy his new .pdf booklet. I was really surprised that the price wasn’t in the email. “He should know better, he’s a web analyst,” I thought. “Clicks are precious.”

So I clicked through to his landing page — and the price still wasn’t there. And then I clicked again and finally got to it.

Do people bury their prices because they are embarrassed? Or, do they think that the customer will say, “I’ve spent so much time on this site looking for the price, I’ll just buy it now that I’ve finally figured out what it costs?”

Now, it’s not always easy to show your prices. Just today, I was talking to a customer about including prices on a category page. We didn’t want to say, “Starting at $10.00” when the prices went up to $300 (feels deceptive.) We didn’t want to say, $10-300 (seems kind of useless.) We haven’t decided how to handle it, and I only point it out to show that I, too, am a sometimes-sensitive soul who realizes that not all cases are the same. Sometimes you’ve got a complex sale and you need to build the case before the customer has a chance to calculate the damage. But if the pricing is very straightforward and competitive, why hide it?

Robbin Steif
LunaMetrics

Our owner and CEO, Robbin Steif, started LunaMetrics twelve years ago. She is a graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard Business School, and has served on the Board of Directors for the Digital Analytics Association. Robbin is a winner of a BusinessWomen First award, as well as a recent Diamond Award for business leadership. You should read her letter before you decide to work with us.

  • Anonymous

    Seems like just a trick to get more click-thrus from his email to his website. It creates curiosity, and you did the exact action he was looking for – click-thru to find the information you wanted. Not all prospective customers will be as exploratory as you were though, and I agree that pricing, when straightforward and competetive, should be made clear up-front.

    Perhaps he was just testing it out to see if he needed the price in there, or if the majority of the email recipients would click-thru to find out more information. If he finds that most are willing to look for it themselves, and then make the purchase, then you’ve just found one of the special cases you mentioned at the end of the article.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve always treated sites that don’t clearly display prices as “Have to ask? Can’t afford”. So I take my money elsewhere to where I don’t have to ask and can obviously afford.

    Lifes too short to waste on sites that make life more difficult.

    Steve

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