As a business owner, I have received mixed feedback as to whether or not I should publish the pricing for our services on our website and marketing materials. For a while, I followed the advice of redacting it from my published and printed information out of fear that it would distract potential customers from the value of my service offerings and deter them from purchasing before I was able to have a conversation with them. It’s a common business problem – one that many business advisors have differing opinions about.
However, what I began to notice was that the first question prospective customers and clients would ask is “How much do your services cost?” For my business specifically, when I told them the prices, it was met with awareness … and then relief. “Oh, that’s not as bad as I thought it would be,” was a common response. Even when I do price myself out of a client’s budget, I am able to save them time and energy by providing them clarity on the front end to know that my business is not a good fit for them.
According to an article from Death Care Industry, 2.1 billion people will be shopping online by 2021. The article discusses price comparison websites and the importance of participating in price comparison aggregators or being able to openly share your pricing online for consumers. I recently had a conversation with a man looking to start a funeral consulting business, and from what I noticed during our conversation, one of the main benefits the funeral consultant provides to families is finding clear pricing from funeral homes and completing a price comparison.
In all of this, the main theme I’ve noticed is that today’s consumer wants transparency. They want to know what your hourly rate breaks down to, what the cost of manufacturing is, and where things are sourced from. Everlane, a popular clothing brand, satisfies this desire for complete transparency. The company’s mission is to provide radical transparency about clothing manufacturing and retail cost. Everlane shares specific information about products on its retail website, including details about where each item of clothing is made and how much the materials cost. It is a successful company with today’s consumers because more and more people want this kind of clear communication and ethical business practices.
There is fear associated with being overly transparent – that if your business shares its prices, then other businesses will be able to use that information against you to win over customers. While this is a risk with any information you decide to share, I also believe (and believe other consumers would agree with this as well) that those who choose to be forthcoming with pricing and their reasons for pricing will win the trust of consumers faster. They will also find customers who are more likely to be loyal to their business or brand.
The aforementioned article from Death Care Industry also notes that when sharing pricing openly, it is important to share what your target market is and what your unique selling proposition is to your customer. This means that if you are trying to provide a higher level of service or to be the most cost-effective option, you need to communicate this clearly.
While I am not an expert in pricing strategy, I do have insight into the mindset of consumers, specifically including the clients I have assisted with after-loss support. It’s a vulnerable time after a loved one passes and openly sharing information with grieving families establishes trust with those who you seek to serve.