Conversion Rate 101: Effective Pricing Tables

Dell Desktop Pricing Table - How would you optimize it?Last week, I asked you to look at the pricing tables from the Dell.com website and to offer suggestions on how to improve them. There were some fabulous suggestions, let’s take a look:

A comparison table, as used by UK site Comet, would work better. Less busy and allows for side by side feature comparison. Also has a handy ‘highlight differences’ button. http://i.imgur.com/JBilf.png

As he suggests Dell is not currently doing a good job highlighting the differences between the systems.

Marty Diamond astutely addressed the point that giving customers too many choice makes it impossible for them to actually make a choice.

I would test whether having just the 3 desktop machines converted better the 5 choices on the page. I’d eliminate the Mini Tower and Small Form options from the variation page to see if the 3 remaining desktop machines generated more overall conversions (eliminating confusion over which of the 3 very similar choices to pick) and whether it increased the average order size by moving people up to one of the machines with a larger processor.

In  April, when I published some tips on how to design effective pricing tables, Dell used to offer only 3 choices and I am not sure when they switched to 5 options.

Laura focused on a few of the same issues:

A few things stick out to me:

1) There is a lot of noise of having 5 systems where a lot is identical, slim to the 3 on the right and create obvious positioning for each. A budget system, a top technology system, and a best buy in the middle. Use color and design to create obvious visual differentiation. Right now, there is just $20 separating the first 3 models! Those are essentially identical. Why show them all?

2) If you have to keep all 5, I would give each a tag/flag on the top of the column that makes them clearly different. Basic, Best value, For tight spaces, better performance, Top technology, etc.

3) Why does the one on the end have a monitor? This further confuses me – then I start trying to back out the cost of the monitor out of the cost to get apples-to-apples. Try all with monitors or all without, noting that you can add a monitor to anything. Or, try one with a free monitor add-on to see if that influences behavior.

4) I would test the button placement (would it be wrong to assume they have tested button text to death??). No need for the coupon code repeated each time – try a button there instead with the coupon code shared once on the page.

It’s almost like Dell just took the stuff that sells well in this segment and slapped them on a page together with no thought for how they relate to each other. If these pages do assemble dynamically, it would/might be harder to test new layouts.

She talks about the value of some sort of badging on the systems on top #2. I  agree that repeating the coupon code under each one adds  noise to the page.  Even if they tested buttons to death they may want to test them again in this context.

Bill Laidlaw picked up on a small detail that could be sending out the wrong message:

At first glance I think Dell should remove/change the “strength bars” that are meant to help you rank systems. For me they would do something else, not buy. We all have cell phones and one bar out five is always bad news. Based on those bars the systems appear to be horrible, horrible, horrible, bad and maybe fair-minus?

Nico Roddz took a shot at redesigning it (even including a badge):
Liviu Taloi agreed that the 5 options need to disappear if they can not differentiate between the models:

I would like to see the BAC kind of commercial description – benefits, advantages and specifications. All are the same. If they cannot clearly differentiate why 5 models?

DennisMoons went back to the website and found a couple of other important details there:

Already great suggestions to make the page visually better. Also nice catch on the strength bars Bill!

The copy on top of the pages reads: Featuring pre-built and popular systems, now with free next business day shipping.

Maybe it is because of the screenshot but it seems like these two elements, the most popular systems and free shipping, are important and do not stand out in the current design.

Dylan Lewis, who always has smart things to share, said:

1. The difference between the first three items looks to be size of the box – test having 1 item instead of three with the option to switch box size – My hypothesis is that by having one box (mid-point) listed instead of three and allowing the customer to change form factor in the configurator will help push the average basket size higher.

2. All default computers have windows 7 installed on it, and a 250GB Hard Drive – is there an information design possible that groups standard items in a header or something instead of on each individual computer system? My Hypothesis is that showing the same information that applies to all of these computers is added mental overhead in trying to figure out what is different between each of the systems.

3. Based on the review stars, it looks like there is no difference between items 1, 2, 3, and 4 – and in fact they are all the same optiplex 390 system – does that mean that the reviews (that are all at 80) are applicable to each of these units equally? My hypothesis is that because they are all 4 stars, that customer review stars are not useful in making a decision – and a hypothesis would be that by showing only reviews related to the specific system would allow the targeted information needed to make a purchase decision.

4. The coupon code is applying a 30% discount and is the same across each of the systems – Test saying (Added to cart Automatically) below the coupon details so that the customer doesn’t have to worry about the coupon code – My hypothesis is that by using a coupon code – that is obviously the same across all systems – is added hoops to jump through in order to get to the purchase process.

5. Is the customer logged in at this point? If so, it would be great to show how many of each of these computers that are already in the business. My hypothesis is that by showing what systems are already in the business will provide the “safe” default choice for people to make.

bmassey besides having some nice thing to say about me, really wanted Dell to address their different customers with the right words:

Bryan Eisenberg is a great teacher and is one of the fathers of conversion science. Pricing tables are ostensibly designed to help us to choose the right product for us. The main purpose of a page like this is “Help me choose.” Choice, as it turns out, is a conversion killer, so these pages can be very helpful.

This page needs to tell me which is “The best value.” A badge would be helpful, probably on the most expensive item.

The little “signal bars” are unique and may be helpful, but don’t really tell me at a glance what I want to know.

The copy is unhelpful. Instead of “Essential productivity…” how about “Great system for a tight budget.” Instead of “Yield better results…” how about “Good value ready for your network.” Instead of “2nd Generation Processor…” how about “This system has the power to do heavy number crunching, video editing and graphics.”

There are too many prices here — four to be exact. I say, pick two: Savings and total price. As an alternative, crossing out “Starting price” is a proven way to communicate value.

Finally, put the coupon code near the “Customize & Buy” buttons to give those transactional shoppers an extra push.

makethemclick summed it up really nicely with comments like:

…Someone went mad with the crayon box…

and

…The main problem is that none of the items on the page addresses the WIFM. Nothing on the page tells me what I’m going to get out of these products. There’s just no reason for me to buy.

The team at Monetate decided to take a crack and offered their own 10 Pricing Table Tweaks Worth Testing, with this before and after mockup: 

I think everyone did a great job addressing the main issues here. I would suggest try out some of these suggestions and reread how to design effective pricing tables.

P.S. If you have something you would like us to cover in one of the Conversion Optimization 101 posts just send me a note.

Please share if you think others would benefit.