Consider the following list of prices:

                  Plan A    Plan B    Plan C
                  ------    ------    ------
                  $50/mo    $40/mo    $30/mo

Is it more effective to list the prices low-to-high or high-to-low (when reading left to right)? (Assume also, that the higher cost plan is the sales-target)

  • 2
    Great question! However, the highest bracket isn't always the sales target. What we're doing, and what I've seen other companies doing, is setting the highest plan at a very high price which will be appealing to a small subset of our audience. One step down from that is the sweet spot where we think most people will get the best value. We'd get the best ROI if people bought that plan, not the top one. Something to consider when designing such a list.
    – Rahul
    Commented Dec 8, 2010 at 0:46

5 Answers 5


Following shows screen-shots of different sales price comparison plans..


Key thing is to distinguish the plan that you want user to select by putting a lable "Best" and/or "Recommended" on top of the column header and providing list of features in clear text exclusive to the plan ( e.g. in your case $50 plan )

also making the default selection in different color catches user's attention on reading the information about that plan..

take a look at godady plan comparison page



Also converting prices from 50 , 40 and 30 to 49.99 ,39.99 , 29.99 helps


  • 1
    +1 for the highlight, so the user doesn't start at the end. That really changes interaction dynamics, and removes restrictions from the min/max deal. I agree with Rahul's argument above: a somewhat overprized bells&whistles no questions asked package is something you like to sell.
    – peterchen
    Commented Dec 8, 2010 at 9:01

As a general rule of thumb:

  • make sure you highlight one as "Recommended" or so (usually the second or third cheapest if you have 4-5 choices): it should be the one that fits most of your target and that you aim to sell (thanks to anchoring)

  • don't have 20+ plans: too many choices will stop buyers who will then leave, thinking they'll come back when they know more, but never come back in the end. Between 3 and 6 is be a good number imho.

  • Also, sort by price (or most important feature like "number of servers"), from the cheapest to the most expensive: that way, buyers tend to pay more attention to the price itself instead of reading all the small details, and tend to pick the recommended choice (or the one directly on the right or left); just make sure whichever property you sort by is the one in large bold font to highlight that it's the important part, that way buyers naturally assume that the furthest one offers the most features but is the most expensive, and that the first has the least features but cheapest.

  • Don't be surprised if the "most expensive" / "perceived as most features" choice is seldom chosen: most people want to think they pick the best features/price ratio and rarely pick the "every single options" choice (except for software where the idea is more "I want the full version of the program instead of the limited trial").

Similar example: if you want to borrow 20$, first ask for 50$, expect refusal, then ask for 20$ as alternative: it increases your chances compared to asking 20$ directly. If you can read french, this book has many other such examples.

But as another mentionned, the best to ease your mind is to make several versions and A/B test until you're left with the most effective version :-)


You want to present the most expensive items first.

A few reasons:

  1. People may value the product very highly already and want to buy it quickly (emotional buy)
  2. It's easier on a person to move down a tier if they don't value the most expensive, rather than ask them to move up and spend more.
  3. Most people don't want to be considered "Cheap", but many people want to be considered in the know or on the edge of some thing...

So, left to right is probably more effective, since that's how most of us read.

  • I agree that most people don't want to be considered cheap but there is also a situation called affordability. many users are looking for the best value for their money and have different financial situation. providing what features/services users will get when they spend 50/40/30 bucks is also important.
    – N30
    Commented Dec 7, 2010 at 21:30
  • What's affordable is relative to the value that the user places on the product and the rest of the things they must purchase. Details are not as important as we think they are because most items we purchase are done so on an emotional level.
    – Tucker
    Commented Dec 7, 2010 at 21:51
  • 1
    I'd argue the other way 'round, but can't provide evidence. Can you?
    – peterchen
    Commented Dec 8, 2010 at 8:53

Why don't you try A/B testing the two different methods, or an array of different layout to see what works best. It's obviously worth it since it could have a sizable impact on your bottom line.

If you wanted to test static pages against each other you could try our tool at http://intuitionhq.com, or if you are wanting to test live pages you could try using Googles website optimizer or visualwebsiteoptimizer.com

I'm sure whatever testing you do will add value for your business, so I'd definitely go for it if I was you.

Good luck.


For better conversions expensive pricing should come first. It gets more exposure that way. This post by UX Movement explains this strategy along with a few others. http://uxmovement.com/content/7-useful-design-strategies-for-a-successful-pricing-table

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