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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Pricing for online product - up front, or bury deep

Wonder your thoughts on whether to put your pricing right up front (on your website), or keep it off the home page.

A quick look around my favourite software products has left me with the impressions that there are 6 arguments for; and half a dozen against.

One argument would be that you are wanting to compete on price you should put it out front, but if you're competing on value or features or some other discriminant then it would make sense to bury it a little so that people are forced to read your elevator pitch before they close the tab and move on to the next product.

But maybe you're then going to lose interest with impatient evaluators who can't see a price within the first 15 seconds and therefore close the tab anyway.


I quite like the hybrid approach on FogBugz - put the price on the front page, but you have to click 'But It' to reveal it.
Jason Glover Send private email
Thursday, May 07, 2009
SmartBear - No price (on home page)

FogBugz - Price (but hidden)

Pocketsmith - No price

Xero - no price

Vault - no price

Red Gate - price

Hmm ...
Jason Glover Send private email
Thursday, May 07, 2009
If it's a simple one-price-fits-all scheme, be upfront.  If it's more complex depending on the license, you can put it a little deeper.

But don't bury it.  Whenever I'm evaluating software, if I can't find a price, I just assume that it's too expensive and move on.
Jason Send private email
Thursday, May 07, 2009
t depends on software you are selling. If it is .99 worth iPhone toy - then put it upfront, if it is 10.000+ enterprise monster - negotiate later. Something in the middle depends on the perception of value for your software by you or your customers.
MK Send private email
Friday, May 08, 2009
Good point MK.  I was meaning within the context of "shrinkwrapped" software - whether actually shink-wrapped, downloaded, or pay-as-you-go.

So the sort of stuff that is typically $$/month, or < $1000 for a once-up license fee.

You see Red Gate (who in my opinion are leaders in their niche) are up front about their price, but their competitors hide their price.

Whereas Xero hides their monthly cost, presumably to force you to read more and discover that they're worth it before you get too scared about the big monthly fee.
Jason Glover Send private email
Friday, May 08, 2009
Deliberately hiding information to try to force people to read something seems like a good way to annoy them.  If they want to know the price, they'll look for it, and if it's hard to find they won't be happy.

Personally, I would look for a price before committing to reading any significant amount of text.  The exact price doesn't matter, but it it needs to be in the right ballpark.  If your price is reasonable, I don't see why you need to make this harder for your potential customers.  If it's unreasonable then no amount of text is going to convince me otherwise.
Jason Sankey Send private email
Friday, May 08, 2009
I am involved in purchasing a lot of software - if I don't see a price for a product I automatically assume that it is consultingware and that there will be substantial implementation costs over and above licensing.

If I can download and try software and I know exactly what it costs and there are no crazily complex licensing scheme then the vendor has gone a long way to getting a sale.

Of course this doesn't apply to complex/large products, but if it is hundreds or thousands then make it easy to find. Otherwise I assume the worst!
Arethuza Send private email
Friday, May 08, 2009
>> bury it a little so that people are forced to read your elevator pitch...

They're not forced to do any such thing. If price is an issue for them, then they'll look for the price to see whether reading your pitch is worth their time. If they can't find the price, they'll leave. I've done that myself.

If you think your price might put people off, then make it one click away so that those for who aren't so bothered about it might read your pitch first. But I'd definitely put it no more that one click away, and clearly signed.
Paul Johnson Send private email
Friday, May 08, 2009
Also, it would seem rather difficult to hide the price at the same time as making it easy for people to buy (or sign up, or whatever). And making it difficult for people to buy is probably not the wisest decision!
Paul Johnson Send private email
Friday, May 08, 2009
Most people will presume if the price is not easy to find then it must be very high.

Further they will presume you intend twisting their arm on the phone or in person.

It may not work so well for software, especially B2B but in conventional salesletters I'll often add a "PS" which has some kind of "Remember what I said earlier about Big Benefit and why? You could have it today!"

Or something similar. This makes their brain itch, they want to know what they missed so they go back and read the copy (text).  Generally people will nearly always scroll down to see the price and if it's not there, they leave.

As a previous poster said, making it difficult to purchase is not overly smart.

Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Friday, May 08, 2009
For the kind of software that you describe < $1000 you shouldn't put the price on the home page, but should make it easy to find. There should be a button that takes you to the page that describes both the price and the model. Is this a one time fee, or a monthly fee. Are support and upgrades included?

I've purchased tons of software online, and it's one of the first things that I look at to see if the product/service is within our budget and how it compares to the competitors. If my budget is $1000 and your product is $5000, I'm going to move on.

When you look at b2b products that are > $1000 things change. Often every customer has different requirements, might need the product in multiple offices for multiple people, and need a custom quote.
Dror Send private email
Friday, May 08, 2009
I have a natural tendency to trust sites with the price up front (or at least very easy to find) more than the others.
dhimes Send private email
Friday, May 08, 2009
Good replies all.

I agree with ya'll who say that the price should be visible on the home page.  I've always followed that practise, but I noticed that a lot of products have the price one-click back on a Pricing page. 

Loads of them. 

@Dror was the only response that advised having the price one-click from the home page.  I am wondering whether there is some psuedo-science psychological reason for doing that.

I'm going to continue my favourite approach which is to put "From as little as $11.99 a month!" on the home page and clicking the price takes you to the pricing nitty-gritties.

Thanks for the replies.  If anyone has an interesting counter-argument I'm still interested in hearing it.

Jason Glover Send private email
Sunday, May 10, 2009

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