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8 Psychological Triggers to Optimize Your Pricing Page

Pricing pages have a huge impact on online sales. Designing the right pricing page is key to increasing checkouts and revenue, but there’s a lot more to a pricing page than its design.

Since emotions and psychological triggers influence purchasing behavior, and since consumers depend on products and services to fulfill emotional needs in their lives, pricing pages should meet those needs.

The way things are presented to people affects their decision-making. In this post, we’ll take a look at psychological triggers that influence purchasing behavior. We’ll also go over how to incorporate the triggers into pricing pages.

1. Decoy Effect

According to the decoy effect, consumers have a hard time making up their minds. So, when they are given two options, they tend to prefer the first option because it looks better, even though both options could be exactly the same.

People have a noticeable change in preference according to the way choices are presented. Sometimes, using a third option helps to guide them toward a specific choice. Considering the decoy effect, make sure you offer pricing plans that lead customers to purchase the plan you want them to purchase.

Let’s take a look at The Economist’s famous pricing page to better understand how to incorporate the decoy effect into your pricing page design. The first plan costs $59 for the online version only, the second plan costs $125 for the print version only, and the third plan costs $125 for both print and online versions.

According to the decoy effect, the first two options require thinking and considering, while the third option presents an easy decision: $125 for both versions is better than $125 for print only or $59 for online only.

1 sucscriptions notice

2. Anchoring Effect

Even though more accurate information may be presented later, people tend to rely on the first piece of information they receive. You see this everywhere, even at the supermarket where an old label will be placed above a new one or the unit price will be shown above the actual price. Showing an older, higher price gives consumers the sense that they are getting a deal.

Crazy Egg does a good job of utilizing the anchor effect on their pricing page. Even though there are four price points, the most expensive price points are shown first. This makes the $49/month plan seem like a bargain next to the other monthly subscriptions. In addition, Crazy Egg highlights in blue the plan they prefer their customers purchase, so it stands out among the other plans in gray.

2 pricing plans page

3. Analysis Paralysis

While providing two or more options can be beneficial to satisfy consumer preference, you should be cautious about using too many options. Analysis paralysis happens when people overthink a situation to the extent that they never make a decision or take an action. In the context of pricing pages, offering too many options can cause consumers to overthink and leave the page.

DocuSign’s pricing page used to have endless lists with checkmarks, along with five different price points, making it extremely difficult to figure out. The page has been simplified to summarize the core features that help users make a determination in selecting a package.

This is the “before” page:

3 super long pricing page

This is the “after” page:

4 enterprise pricing page

Although simplified and with fewer options, this pricing page still does a poor job of guiding people toward “the best” pricing, and it still has too many options and checkmarks to analyze.

Dropbox, on the other hand, has three price plans that focus solely on their core feature – storage space. This makes it simple for users to differentiate and choose.

5 dropbox pricing page

4. Scarcity

The less there is of something the more valuable it is perceived to be. Take diamonds, for example. A small group of companies controls the quantity of diamonds in circulation in order to keep prices high. To use scarcity in your pricing pages, eliminate the possibility of future abundance in the minds of your customers.

Setting a time limit on pricing pages, an “invitation only” event, or a cap on the number of products is a great way to introduce scarcity into your pricing pages.

Expedia uses scarcity throughout their pricing pages. On the search results page, they display:

  • The number of people who recently viewed a property
  • The last time it was booked
  • The time left for the deal

This gives the perception that rooms are going fast and entices the user to book quickly before losing their chance.

6 daily deal

Image Source

5. Loss Aversion

Our desire to avoid pain or loss is even stronger than our desire to pursue joy or gain. Some studies show that losses are twice as powerful psychologically as gains. This implies that a person who loses $100 suffers pain that is more intense than the joy the person experiences when he or she gains $100. There are a few ways to use this psychological trigger in your pricing page design:

  1. Free trials – The whole world of free trials is built on the basis of loss aversion. Once a person has been using a product for a while and has become dependent on it, paying for it is the next natural step in order to avoid the loss of the product.
  2. Messaging – You can focus a visitor’s attention on the loss they may suffer by not becoming a customer rather than on the gains they may achieve by becoming a customer.
  3. Timing – A limited time offer with an expiration date on it sets off the loss aversion trigger and converts visitors quicker.

6. Hyperbolic Discounting

Hyperbolic discounting is a psychological trigger that has to do with the way we evaluate rewards. When given a choice between two awards, we tend to prefer the one that arrives sooner even if it is worth less. In other words, people favor an instant reward and discount the one they have to wait for.

TalkerApp (before it became a free service) used to offer an immediate reward to customers choosing a specific pricing plan, convincing visitors to try the larger plan.

7 pricing page 50 percent

Dropbox attributes 35% of their daily signups to their referral program. By offering an immediate reward (free space) to their customers, Dropbox increases their referrals and increases their daily signups.

7. Choice Supportive

Choice supportive is another psychological trigger that affects our purchasing habits. It refers to our general tendency to attribute a positive perspective to our past decisions. Once we’ve made a decision, we tend to continuously convince ourselves of the great decision we made, which is why pricing pages are a great place to show testimonials. Showing others that people are happy, content, and satisfied is a great way to increase pricing page conversions.

Note how TK uses a testimonial right on the side of their pricing page, confirming it is a trustable service, but more importantly, relaying that people are extremely satisfied and happy with their past decision to become a member.

8 tim delac

8. Trust

It all comes down to trust in the end. Customers need firm assurance that they can trust you before they turn over their credit card to your site, because that’s not an easy thing to do. There are many ways to convey trust:

  • Mention the number of people who’ve trusted you so far
  • Present trust icons
  • Display testimonials

Campfire introduces two of the three methods, showing there are over 100,000 customers and adding a testimonial at the bottom of the pricing page.

9 30 day free trial

By understanding the psychological triggers that motivate all of us, you can build a stronger connection with your audience and influence your customers to take a desired action.

What other psychological triggers do you utilize in your pricing page design?

About the Author: Talia Wolf is the CEO and Founder of Conversioner. Talia helps businesses build their conversion optimization strategies and execute them to increase their revenues, grow their sales, leads and engagement using quantitative data, consumer psychology & emotional conversion optimization. Talia specializes in Ecommerce optimization, landing page optimization, mobile optimization and consumer psychology. Tweet her at @taliagw.

  1. Great tips, Talia. A lot of super useful and simple information.

    Thanks a lot!

  2. Great article! I think your example for #7 ‘Choice Supportive’ is close to an example of using ‘social proof’ as an influence on decisions. Based on your description of ‘choice supportive’, that sounds more like a confirmation bias, or a commitment/consistency bias. Asking for testimonials could be a way to encourage ‘choice support’, but that only comes after making the decision, so wouldn’t affect the initial purchase. Getting users to ‘commit’ their satisfied attitude after a free trial might be an example of this impacting an initial purchase.

    • Thanks a lot for your input D Messina. I agree, Choice Supportive is one of the reasons we recommend using social proof (testimonials, trust icons, reviews and others) on landing pages and pricing pages.

  3. Great article Talia! I keep reading about different psychological triggers you can implement on landing pages or pricing pages, but I wonder how do you know which one to use?

    • Kobe Ben Itamar Dec 24, 2014 at 12:16 am

      If you’re not sure, you should implement a few different ones (maybe use some of the great examples provided here) and test to see which one converts better.
      If you’re using the right tool – you should be able to quickly have it set up for A/B testing.

    • Hi Gemma,

      Great question.
      Firstly there’s never just 1 trigger that needs to be used it’s always a combination of a few. I find that the best landing pages or pricing pages take quite a few of these psychological triggers into account and use them.

      Secondly, always test everything. I know this is a given, but sometimes it needs to be said. Not everything works on everyone, and every trigger we use should be suited to our customers and their emotional triggers.

      Let me know if you have any additional questions,
      T

  4. Great post.
    Definitely going to include some of the inputs from the post to my next website.

    Thanks.

    • Thanks Goldi! I’m happy you found it useful. I’d love to see how you implement these inputs in your pricing pages and hear how it goes!

  5. Excellent post Talia!
    Super useful tips that I’m going to use to some of my clients.

  6. Thanks for great post!
    #2 & #4 are very good!

  7. I am so grateful to read this such an amazing post. This was such a really great post and impressed with this site.

  8. Great article Talia, I’ve been reading your posts on Conversioner.com and enjoy them very much.

  9. I really liked the psychological aspect.
    I will definitely keep it in mind for my future pages

  10. Now this is something I should read. I’m still reading though. Very interesting.

  11. I am happy to read of your post. It ls very use full article to me. I will use your tips and Instructions to my blog.

  12. Nice insights Talia. I read your previous post about how our brain makes decisions and liked that one too.

  13. Anchoring effect and Trust are crucial. Campfire and Crazzyegg apply the Anchoring Effect very well with their pricing table design.

  14. Great post! very informative and the tips are all applicable. Thanks for sharing. Happy new year!

  15. Charlie Banes Jan 13, 2015 at 1:44 am

    Great read Talia! I love the information about anchoring and definitely plan on using it.

  16. Stephen Thomas Apr 20, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Now this opens the mind. I knew there was psychology in business. Just didn’t think about this one. This article is hands down the best i have read today. Thank you so much for the strategy lesson. This post has made my day. I learned something new. That’s all i ask out of my day. Learn one new thing a day. Goal accomplished.

    Elygantthings highly recommends this article to students, beginners and entrepreneurs. To understand the amount of attention needed, to become a successful business and business owner. This article surely has boosted my level of happiness.

    Thank you very much for the wisdom, Talia Wolf

  17. Brill, big fan of business psychology, thanks very much.

  18. Very interesting read. Ill take it into account for our upcoming product release. Found this just on time.
    Cheers.

23 comments

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