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Price: Is Your Price Right?

What kind of price animal is your e-business? That's a question you need to answer. And after you answer it, your web store must demonstrate it.

Do you sell products or services at a discount? Do you want to be a low-cost leader in your market niche? Or are you a value-added reseller? Do you add value to products in the form of some kind of service, charging a higher price? Do you set the price of the products and services you sell—or does the consumer? Whatever pricing model you decide on, you need to make it very clear to the shoppers that come to your site. Consumers don't like surprises. If you promote your site as the low-price leader, your prices should show it. If you're a boutique shop and charge higher-than-average prices, show the value you've added to your products or service. Make it very clear what you charge and why—and make sure it fits the expectations of your site's visitors.

Another important thing is not to hide your prices. Nothing annoys a shopper more than going through the process of ordering from you, entering the credit card number, and then being told what the total shipped price is. Be sure that you give your shoppers all the information they need to make a buying decision—up front—before they buy. Don't draw the customer into the buying process with low prices and then surprise him with exorbitant shipping and handling charges on the order confirmation page. If you want to see a shopper bolt for the door, this is the way to do it.

So how do you inform the shopper of your shipping and handling charges? You can do it in one of two ways:

  • Provide an easy-to-find section on your site that lists and easily explains your shipping and handling charges.

  • Present an order confirmation page to the buyer that lists the price of the product and all applicable shipping and handling charges. Give the buyer the total shipped price before you request the credit card number.

I suggest that you do both. That way, the shopper fully understands the total amount of the sale before he or she completes the purchase. Don't forget to include any applicable taxes in the total of the sale.

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