What's your name?
No matter how pretty your site is or how effective your product is, you need to justify your price for your shoppers.
Why listen to me? My name is Rishi Rawat and I’ve spent the last 12 years breaking my head to better understand why online shoppers behave the way they do. I know a thing or two because I’ve A/B tested a thing or two.
They say one must never judge a book by its cover; and yet, when shoppers reach our product pages the first thing they do is make a judgment based on the price. 100% of a new visitor’s attention is targeted here:
To understand why this is a problem let me ask you this question:
What’s a good price for a pair of running shoes?
For some, the answer might be $90. For others, it’s $45. Without more context, many of your shoppers may expect your product to be a lower price than you have it listed for.
But wait, there’s more. Shoppers can even be surprised by very low prices.
Let’s say you’re selling a $70 pair of running shoes for 40% off. Sounds great, right? For many shoppers it is great. But for plenty of others, this is a point of friction: “Why is this 40% off? What’s wrong with it? What’s the catch?”
Price Point Really Matters (More Than You Think)
Sure reviews matter, descriptions matter, but price matters the most.
And price isn’t a straightforward thing.
As we saw with the running shoe example the consumer doesn’t really know how much to pay for a pair. They might have an idea, but that idea is often lower than the price your site shows.
Once that price is seen it gets imprinted in the shopper’s mind.
What the marketer doesn’t want is for the buying decision to be made solely on price. They want the shopper to understand the context around that price so that it’s justified.
The Good News Is Shoppers Are Willing to Pay More
Consumers care about quality. 53% rate quality as the most important factor when making purchases compared to price (38%) (source).
They also generally understand that price positively correlates to quality (source), but this calculus can get corrupted if:
1: The visitor sees your product after viewing a lower-priced alternative somewhere else. That will give the visitor a sticker shock, even if your solution is the better overall value for money.
2: The content on your page that justifies the price is missed by the shopper (our research indicates shoppers only notice 17% of page content).
We’ll show you how to address these problems in a bit…
How Shoppers Discover New Products
When shoppers are looking to solve a problem, they Google it.
They search for a term like “curling iron” and Google shows a bunch of ads.
Next, they right-click and open each promising result in a new browser tab.
Then they very quickly start closing tabs that don’t feel relevant.
In this speed dating stage, the shopper isn’t systematically evaluating competing choices; no, they are rushing. Since price is an easily available element, that’s what is relied on.
But as we saw above, price isn’t the best indicator of quality.
To avoid early elimination the marketer needs to justify the price.
What Does It Mean to Justify Price?
Shoppers are looking for a balance between price and quality. They don’t want to pay too much but they also don’t want to compromise on quality.
Put simply, the marketer needs to let site visitors know that the brand has cracked the code on balancing price and quality.
The Challenge for the Premium Product
If you are selling a premium product you are investing in quality and this means your price will be higher. But a higher price activates a negative emotional response in the mind of our prospect. So what is a marketer to do?
Let’s take a look at some examples for both premium ($$$) products and non-premium ($) products.
Price Justification Example 1: Premium ($$$) Products
Ora Organic (not a client) sells a vegan vitamin D supplement. Here is their page:
It’s really well designed and we’re sure this $16.99 price tag is acceptable to 80% of visitors. But that’s not the group we care about.
To improve conversions, we shouldn’t think about the 80% that are converting, we should obsess over the 20% that aren’t.
One reason someone may have decided against buying is that they feel $16.99 is too much for a supplement. A quick Google search reveals vitamin D supplements are available for a lot less online. The marketer needs to address the elephant in the room.
Here’s what we did
We added a Quality Matters link and placed it immediately to the right of the price point (see screenshot below). Users who have questions about price usually have it when they see the price tag so we wanted the answer to be nearby:
And when the link is clicked here is the price justification popup message (click image to zoomed view):
Is this the best popup sales pitch? Probably not. And this is why we would A/B test 20 versions till we get it totally dialed in. Here are some things you can talk about in your explanation:
– Let the buyer know you had the choice to go with slightly inferior ingredients but decided against it.
– Talk about how hard it was to get the product, just right. Shoppers are drawn to stories where the brand started on a journey, encountered a challenge, and was able to overcome it. This buyer psychology principle is called Labor Illusion.
– Get into complicated details about the process or the product. This helps demonstrate expertise. I once did a test for a client that sells a pizza-making product. To dramatize we added a thermodynamics equation; something we were sure most wouldn’t understand but it would make clear that were super-geeks about the subject. BTW, that case study is here: Bestseller Sales Up 46.42%.
– Let the reader know you’re charging more because our customers (people like them) demand high quality.
– Talk about how obsessed you are with quality. How you’d rather shut down the company than sell something you knew was inferior quality.
Does this approach make sense? /
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Price Justification Example 2: Non-Premium ($) Products
This one is for the company SodaStream.
Opposite End of the Spectrum
So we’ve seen how to fix the problem if your price is above expectations. The opposite can also be a problem— where you are giving an incredible discount and the shopper thinks of it as “too good to be true”. To see two examples of this read this article: Psychology of Discounting.
Still Need Help With Price Justification?
We are conversion optimization specialists. It’s our #1 (and #2, and #3…) focus. Price justification is one of the first things we work on when optimizing a product page. Check out one of our case studies here and reach out to us if you’d like to see our approach on your site.
We hope you enjoyed this article that talked about what price justification is and how to use it to maximize conversion rates.
We’ve spent the last 12 years in our marketing lab, experimenting on online shoppers. We’ve learned a crap ton and are ready to share those learning.
Here is a recap of everything we’ve learned:
Revelation 1: The most important page on your entire site is your product page. To understand why this is, read this post: Product Page Optimization.
Revelation 2: For every 1,000 product pitches encountered the shopper buys one item (and we’re being generous). If you want the consumer to choose your product your need to convert your product description into a sales pitch. That idea is explained in this article: Sales Pitch Construction Kit.
Revelation 3: The article above revealed how to construct the perfect sales pitch. Now, this killer pitch needs to be infused into your product page. We have just one chance to convert this visitor (only 15% of visitors ever return). Read this next: Applying Your Sales Pitch.
About Frictionless Commerce
Product pages matter because that’s where our prospects make the crucial buy / no-buy decision.
We specialize in Shopify product pages. Watch your bestseller convert 20% better in 90 days. Our process.
If you like doing the hard work yourself, our founder Rishi shares conversion ideas on LinkedIn every day. Connect with him here.
If you want to make your life easier and still increase conversions, jump on a call.