In the great debate over price transparency, who comes out on top?
Should you include the pricing of your products and services on your website, or not?
Marcus Sheridan responds with a resounding “YES.” In fact, he claims that transparency, including price transparency, is the greatest sales technique of the information age.
He even went out of his way to create a list of reasons why you should discuss pricing on your website.
A Personal Experience with Transparency
The other day I personally encountered a situation where price transparency, or lack thereof, lost potential customers for some restaurants. Operative word here is potential. There’s no guarantee that these people would be customers.
After encountering the situation a light-bulb went off in my head. I instantly thought of Marcus’ article about price transparency and shot him an email.
But Marcus insisted that since it was my experience, that I should be the one to write about it. Touche!
These lost potential customers were my girlfriend and me.
Lack of Transparency Equals Lack of Customers
After running some errands, my girlfriend and I were walking in TriBeCa looking for a place to get some dinner. We were walking through an area that was packed with restaurants. One after the another, after the next.
We would stop by the window of each place to take a look at the menu. We wanted to quickly gauge the price range and the type of food the restaurant was serving.
On a side note: This is often what happens when there are too many choices. We just walk around in circles waiting for inspiration to hit so we can finally make a decision. The circle-walking is only exacerbated when we are hungry and can’t think straight. Oh the irony!
Some restaurants decided to make our decision easier for us by instantly disqualifying us as customers. There were so many options in the area that we instantly skipped any restaurant that didn’t display a menu in the window. It wasn’t worth the hassle to come in and ask for a menu when there was another restaurant right next door.
Eventually we even started skipping the restaurants where there were hostesses with menus standing outside. Again, it wasn’t worth the hassle, especially if the hostesses were already talking to someone else.
The Consequences of Lack of Transparency
So what did these restaurants accomplish by not being instantly transparent with their menus and prices? They instantly lost us as potential customers.
If we were walking by and there was a menu in the window, we would be potential customers waiting to make a decision. But the restaurants that were lacking menus didn’t even get that potential.
If they displayed the menu and we didn’t like it what would have changed? Nothing! We would have moved on to the next place, but that’s what we did anyway.
They wouldn’t have converted on a potential customer. But isn’t it better to have something to potentially convert to begin with?
What Does that Mean for Your Site?
Now let’s take this lesson and apply it to the internet world.
Faced with a decision between two websites, which do you think a customer would chose: the one that is fully transparent and clearly provides information to the customer or the one that makes it a hassle for the customer to get the information they need to make a decision?
And again, what’s the worst that happens if the potential customer doesn’t like your prices? You go on about your day without converting a potential customer. You also save yourself a lot of time talking to a customer that doesn’t want to pay your prices.
Your Two Cents:
Where do you stand on price transparency?
Have you ever made a decision based on whether the price was readily available or not?
Would you choose the business that readily provides information important to your decision or the one that makes you take extra steps to obtain it?