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on Conversion Rate Optimization

A fairly common decision faced by eCommerce website owners everywhere is whether or not to clearly display the prices of what they’re selling. Displaying the price (along with the product or service features) allows visitors to judge immediately whether they want to buy or not.

From a usability standpoint, it’s a highly efficient process. However, if you’re trying to get the visitor to engage with you, intuition says that once she has all the information she needs, it’s either a 1 or a 0; a buy or a don’t buy. There’s no 0.5 in between where the business can talk to the visitor and help her make up her mind. This is where A/B testing comes handy. It has an interesting tendency to walk-in, smash intuition right out the window and leave the concerned people feeling pleasantly surprised.

One of our customers, SafeSoft Solutions develops a range of products for customer contact centers. In September 2011, they ran a PPC campaign for their Market Dialer product, looking to generate leads through a contact form. They faced a decision whether or not to include the pricing for Market Dialer in a prominent place on the landing page. Like any smart marketer, they A/B tested it.

What was A/B tested and why?

An image showing the price of Market Dialer per seat. It was tested because SafeSoft wanted to understand how displaying the price affects leads generated through the contact form.

Control – No indication of price

The variation included a large green image with the price.

Variation – Bold price image added

The result: a 100% jump in leads generated. This took SafeSoft by surprise, but they found that displaying the price makes the offer more attractive to their customers.

What lessons can be derived from this test?

It’s hypothetical, but this is what we think. It’s likely that the features provided by the product were very relevant to the visitors, but they weren’t submitting their details because they already had a competing product in mind and wanted to avoid talking to another sales/marketing person.

The visitors who saw the variation with the price image decided that the value provided was good for the asking price and were happy to give their details. Therefore, this should work most often where the price (for a similar set of features) is competitive.

About Visual Website Optimizer, the tool they used to set up and run the test, Nima Hakimi of SafeSoft said it was “extremely useful“.

What do you think is the best way for SafeSoft to test this hypothesis of ours? Please tell us (and SafeSoft) in the comments. Also, share any similar or contrary experiences you might have had with Price displays.



I do marketing at VWO.

(7) Comments

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  1. I couldn’t help but noticing that there were two other changes on the pages that you didn’t mention.

    1. The text on the main CTA is different.
    START FREE TRIAL almost implies that the visitor is going to be sent to a form to signup for the service.
    START TODAY sounds much less committing.

    2. The text on the green ribbon is different.
    I can’t help but wonder if it wasn’t the just the price that mattered, but also the fact that it mentioned unlimited minutes (do competitors charge per minute?)

    Sounds like an MVT followup to me.


  2. I would like to see the rest of the landing page. What’s the URL?


  3. Siddharth Deswal @Wingify - Reply

    We ask our customers all the details about their tests, and in this case Nima told us that it was only the price image. However, once someone sees positive results from testing, they usually go ahead and do more of it. Therefore, your point about multiple changes on the page.

    The link is

  4. Nice case study. I find it interesting that they did not version out the Toll-free number. It would be interesting to see how differently results were for inbound calls.

  5. @Gregory Ng:
    I certainly agree with you that the toll free number should be tested but — I think you need to look beyond online split-testing on this regard as this *could* (not necessarily *does*) make for a worse business case in the long run 🙂

  6. 100% is a huge jump for such a minor change or two. Wonder what changes you would see with variations to the subject. Much like 37 Signals did with their landing page for

  7. […] as we are highlighting in this article, standard best practices don’t always work. And that’s what SafeSoft Solutions found when they included their price above-the-fold in the middle of their homepage hero […]

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