Five insights behind better price communications.

Retail communications play a central role in customer engagement. It’s one of the main ways a retailer can have a conversation with customers throughout their journey in store. They attract, guide, persuade and convert customers to spend their money. And the price ticket, though tiny, plays a pivotal role in converting interest into sales.

Here are five things we’ve learned from customers that determine why the design and execution of pricing communication will either improve performance or lose you sales.


1.    Embarrassment is a barrier to purchase

People are polite. Across cultures there are differences, but more or less the same dynamic plays out in every market: Most of us would rather avoid a situation where we have misunderstood the price of an item and then have to change or discard it at the till, or worse, feel we have to buy it anyway because it’s embarrassing or inconvenient to go back and look for an alternative.

This is born out in research. Customers have told us that lack of visible pricing is a barrier to purchase for exactly this reason. In one Asian market, customers even expressed that they would rather leave the store without buying something because they would be too embarrassed to ask the price.

Simply having a clear & consistent price mechanic adjacent to each product will help ensure that this, at least, never happens.

2.    Customers navigate by price

When customers are in front of product they are at the point of purchase. Price communication is a mechanism to convert interest to a sale. Having a consistent design, ticket layout and location on shelf, helps customers quickly navigate and compare products giving them the confidence to act. If there are gaps in pricing or inconsistency in how price is presented, customers cannot complete this process quickly.

The opportunity here is to create a consistent price template that works across your inventory and considers how to communicate price so it always activates sale. This template should allow for the inclusion of promotion to be safe.

3.    Transparency empowers choice

Building on point 2. Where customers need to decide between multiple products or pack sizes within a category, they feel empowered if pricing is presented in a way that helps them check value. This could be by adding a common comparator like price per kilo. We know you can work it out if you stand there long enough, but retailers who design pricing to help customers in this way, receive higher trust scores in customer feedback.

On an emotional level, anything that reduces stress in store will make it easier for customers to engage and make quicker decisions around purchase rather than anxiety that increases the chance of decision paralysis.

Providing a transparent, visible means of comparison will reduce this risk. 

4.    Uncertainty erodes confidence

Another negative emotional trigger is uncertainty. Stores are busy places and products don’t always stay in the same place. Any doubt that a price does not relate to the product, creates uncertainty in the mind of the shopper and leads to hesitation…. which potentially leads to not buying.

To prevent this it’s important to include information that links the product to the price such as a clear description of the product type, pack size etc on the price ticket.

5.    Speed prevents walk-aways

Purchase consideration is usually time sensitive.

Customers don’t want to stand squinting to see or work out price. This is especially true in situations where they feel under pressure, such as when they are being served by staff or where a sales assistant is watching and may see hesitation as an excuse to start a conversation. Just being in a busy shop environment exerts pressure to not move slowly. You are always in someone’s way.

To minimize this the design must be easily legible. Getting the font size right and using a legible font on price communications are key components to a design that makes pricing immediately visible so that customers can be in control of the time they spend in store.