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We offer discounts to education, government, and non-profit organizations (different discount for each) as well as volume discounts on top of that. On the pricing web page for a product should all of the options be visible by default?

On the one hand, I wonder if some personal/business customers will, at least subconsciously, respond negatively knowing they're paying more than others. I believe there is research supporting this general concept (i.e. "I'm paying more than perhaps I need to, so maybe I don't want to buy after all"). I also worry a little about displaying too many options, but I think I can visually organize the info in a way that is easy to process.

On the other hand, some of our customers that do qualify for discounts have difficulty finding the appropriate price, resulting in calls to customer service and assumably some lost sales. There are likely other things besides fully showing the price right out there, but already the option to go see educational and government pricing is large and pretty prominent. Also, this will be a dedicated page that only shows prices--that's why they're there, to find what it will cost them.

  • If you are not going to show all the different prices by default, what is your strategy for making the information available to different types of users? This bit of information will help people evaluate possible solutions. – Michael Lai Feb 25 '15 at 23:23
  • What's the approximate percentage of your customers who are (or are forecasted to be) government/nonprofit/educational? Very rough percentage... Is it 1pct, 5pct, 50pct? – tohster Feb 26 '15 at 5:15
  • @tohster: 1-2% of the web traffic fits into those categories, heavily weighted to education. – conan Feb 26 '15 at 14:16
  • @MichaelLai: If I don't show pricing for all of the segments, I'll most likely use tabs or accordion-ish methods to hide/show them. – conan Feb 26 '15 at 14:19
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I would not show pricing for non-commercial customers on the page. Reasons:

  • Those prices will be irrelevant to the vast majority of users. So it will just add unnecessary clutter and choice. The paradox of choice shows that having more choices actually makes it more difficult for users to buy, and you want to reduce, not increase purchase friction.

  • Then non-commercial prices are lower, so for 98% of your customers it's a bad experience to show them that others are getting a better price.

For these reasons, the "conventional" way of showing non-commercial pricing is to have a link near the bottom of the price list that says something like:

Educational, Non-profit or Government?

... And have that take you to a separate non commercial pricing page. That page should explain why these customers get a lower price, e.g.

"We want our products to be used to support communities, so we offer discounted pricing to schools, governments and non-profits."

This helps explain to commercial customers why others have lower price, and helps turn the negative price discrimination into a positive message.

Hope that helps.

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