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We found that about 60% of all users meet the conditions for our service, so we can provide them the service directly (i.e. we can display its price, and direct them to the checkout process) Other users require us to do some modifications which involve different pricing. That is, we cannot display them the service price without them first completing a web form and us speaking with them to understand more.

In this case, what would you recommend?

  • having a form that filters between the 60% and 40% (the users need to fill out about 20 fields so we can learn about their profile and if it meet our conditions)?
  • Should we display the price that is meant to the 60% of users, direct the users to checkout process and only before the payment ask them the questions in the form (there are about 20 fields in it)?
  • Would you recommend to display the price even if in some cases other users may pay more?

I'll be very gratefull for any tips or examples for similar cases. thank you.

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1  
Could you please tell us more about the price range of the products, and the reason for the differentiation? –  JohnGB Mar 24 '13 at 14:49
    
Who, “we” ? I recommend the third solution. Thus, users will claim the services at the prices advertised, and they will get them, because it will be their right. A few users will even sue you for liar advertising. More seriously, Amazon suffered a boycott years ago, for having put the same products at higher prices for returning customers than for unknown visitors. Amazon has quickly decided to stop that malpractice, but its reputation has long suffered. –  Nicolas Barbulesco Mar 26 '13 at 17:55
    
If you do this cheating on the prices, you will lose the trust of the users. Trust is hard to acquire, and very easy to lose. –  Nicolas Barbulesco Mar 26 '13 at 17:57
    
What criteria do you want to use for determining who has the low prices and who has the high prices ? –  Nicolas Barbulesco Mar 26 '13 at 18:03

3 Answers 3

1. Reduce Form Fields

One of your biggest issues is the 20-field form. If it was only three fields, there'd be no problem. Do you really need all 20 to work out what price to show? If possible, only ask for the absolute minimum fields to get them converted, then have them complete the rest after checkout.

2. Use "From" Pricing

Depending on how price-sensitive your product and competitive your marketplace, having no pricing may not be an option. The only way to make sure of this is to survey/test with your target users. You could also test the effect of removing pricing on conversion with A/B testing.

The conventional alternative is to use "From" pricing. i.e. From $199/year

3. "How to Buy" Vs "Buy Now"

When you've got this 2 channel (or otherwise complex) checkout process you could try the "How to Buy" approach. Companies with complex solutions often do this. Citrix example.

Changing your calls to action to "How to Buy" allows you to add an extra page to the process for the specific reason of explaining your buying process. In your case, your "How to Buy" page would be a splitter page (a page that makes it visually obvious that the process forks here). "If you meet these critera, choose this path, if you don't meet these criteria we need some more info first, so choose this path"

This allows you to set the expectations for the 40% of users that will otherwise get hit with a 20-field form – something that would have a hugely negative effect on conversion rate.

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You're not giving much information about the reasons behind this 60/40% segmentation. It sounds a bit like artificial product segmentation in sales is dictating web store design.

If that's the case, you're screwed, unless you can turn the tables and get this segmentation stopped. Often, in UX, it's not about fixing the user interface, but the underlying issue. Which seems to be the existence of such a stark segmentation at all.

If your segmentation is actually natural to the customer, on the other hand, it might suffice to modify your copy on the web site so it is obvious to the 40% why the 60% solution won't work for them, and offer "plug-ins" or "extras" or customization as a service, or a custom license or whatever makes sense for your audience for the stuff that is missing.

Or maybe you just need more, and more distinct products. Just because something is based on the same engine or infrastructure under the hood doesn't mean it has to be like that in sales ("in the user interface"). For example, can you build dedicated products for the people in the 40% section? With un-ambiguous and very distinct names, so that each user immediately feels drawn to "her" product, and doesn't even get the idea the other one may be for them?

Really, without details, this is about as concrete as advice I can give.

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It sounds like you are dealing with a product/application which you may have custom installs of. In this case, I would probably bail on the form and divide concept. Some assumptions based on the description:

  1. 100% of users who buy will pay at minimum the base price
  2. 60% of users will only pay the base price, because that's all they really need
  3. 40% of users will find the product lacking in some functionality or the other specific to their situation and will, therefore, pay more for you to customize and maintain it

The form with 20 fields is to try and distinguish between these two groups. If you can relate the 20 fields directly to some piece of functionality that the base installation does or does not have, just put that on the purchase screen.

The immediate thought I have is a split screen with the base install on one side with headline: 60% of (Most) users find this satisfies their needs (or something like that), then show the price, describe what it does.

Then, next to the "majority", in a similarly designed fashion, have a simple discreet contact form, with the headline: 40% of users (Others) find it necessary to add functionality specific to their project. Under that, have the form. Under the form have possible reasons (probably the original 20 field form) you might consider customizing the product.

And, of course, if enough people from the 40% pay to have the functionality in there, consider incorporating it into the base install.

For reference, consider Apple's purchase screen. When you go to the store and select a computer, the base models are displayed with the differing specs - then you pick one and go from there. In this case, you would have the base product, specs, and price displayed and let customers know there is a customization option - then I fill out a brief form with my name, email, and a description of my project and why I think the base install isn't right for me.

Of course, if you see your purchases reducing dramatically after making the price of the product/service, it may not be a good idea to publish the price from a business perspective. If that's the case, I would just have a simple (not 20 fields) form for potential customers to fill out and tell you about their needs, and then let the sales team members determine if the base product is all they need.

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