Publish prices online

Posted on by Samir Shah

  • Many businesses in Kenya are reluctant to make key product information — particularly pricing — available online.
  • Failing to provide customers with pricing is detrimental to businesses seeking to attract new customers.
  • The benefits of making price information available to customers outweigh the risks.

The way in which customers engage with businesses is changing. Increasingly, their first contact happens online, and they expect to be able to obtain key information quickly and easily before they decide whether to engage further with the business.

Price is a critical piece of information for a customer researching for products and services online. It is so important that customers view websites that do not provide prices online as being evasive and untrustworthy at a broader level.

Providing pricing will improve customers’ perceptions of your brand as a whole, and strongly influence whether they engage with your business.

Despite this practice having become ubiquitous in developed economies, many businesses in Kenya are still reluctant to publish price and other information online. Below we address some of the common concerns that we hear from our clients.

  • Our competitors will find out our prices!

    If your competitors are serious, they are already monitoring your prices through other channels. Unlike your competitors, potential customers will not put effort into finding out your prices and will simply go elsewhere.

  • Customers will get put off if they see our list prices, and we won’t be able to offer them a discount.

    A customer cannot decide whether a product is right for them until they have some indication of price. The risk of waiting for them to contact you to ask for the price is that they will instead go to another business that makes this information more easily available.

  • We offer substantial discounts to almost all customers. Displaying the list price would make us seem more expensive than we really are.

    Having unrealistic list prices that are regularly knocked down in-store only works if you can attract customers into the store in the first place. More and more customers will check out your business online before deciding whether it is worth a trip to your store.

  • Our pricing structure is too complicated to display online.

    This makes it even more important to help customers understand your prices. A simple solution is providing prices for typical scenarios. Such examples help the customer understand the type of products or services you offer, and whether your business provides what they are looking for.

As consumers rely more on the Internet to facilitate their discovery of products and services, businesses must ensure that they make key information available online. Failing to do so puts businesses at a disadvantage to their competitors.

A product page on the Victoria Courts website, without price information displayed.

A product page on the Hotpoint Appliances website, with price information displayed.

Compare two pages advertising the same product, the first from Victoria Courts, and the second from Hotpoint Appliances. Hotpoint have displayed the price and even allow the customer to purchase the product online. Victoria Courts do not publish the price, and instead provide an enquiry button that generates a blank email to their sales department.

It is much more likely that the customer will continue their engagement with Hotpoint Appliances (whether online or in the showroom) than with Victoria Courts, because Hotpoint have made it easier for them to do.

Beyond pricing

Publishing pricing online will improve the effectiveness of business websites. However, many Kenyan businesses have realised that the inevitable next step is that they must start selling their products and services online. This does not just apply to retailers, but a wide range of other businesses: insurance companies, banks, hotels and travel agents for example.

All of these industries have seen a rapid shift towards online sales in many parts of the world, and Kenya is going the same way.

Conclusions

  • Making key product information available online is a critical success factor for businesses wanting to stay ahead of the competition.
  • Price is a critical piece of information for the customer, and businesses that fail to meet the customer’s requirement for this information put themselves at a disadvantage.