Bad for Business: Outdated Pricing Online

Sales pricing listed online. Above Promotions Company. Tampa, FL. 2012

Sales pricing listed online. Above Promotions Company. Tampa, FL. 2012

If you follow this blog or our social media pages, you know that the book, “Because You’re Small: Effective Marketing Strategies for Immediate Implementation” will be released in major bookstores online on 10/11/12. The book not only has ways to help your business or non-profit today, but it addresses removing excuses for not providing or doing the basics in business “because you’re small.” Today’s topic is one of the basics business owners cannot afford to get wrong.

Recently, I was looking online in the Tampa Bay area for security alarm installation companies for automobiles. After conducting a few searches on Google, Yelp and even Facebook, I ended up with several tabs open in my internet browser so I could begin my research. As I went from site-to-site, I noticed many had prices listed on them, yet the website had not been updated in over a year. This made me realize that this process would be a long one. Not only would I be reviewing the businesses for location, service, expertise and price, but if they’re organized. Appearances are everything in business and people can determine these five things just by looking on your website.

In the end I was able to locate a business to install a new system, but along the way this whole pricing issue concerned me. I wanted to gauge the sentiments of other small business owners so I turned to my fellow Localshops1.com business members. I posed the following questions:

  • Do you include prices on your website?
  • If so, how often do you update it?
  • If a potential customer calls regarding your pricing on the site and it has changed, how do you inform them of this or do you honor the pricing?

Here are a few of the responses:

“On the e-commerce portion of our site for retail products we list pricing but on the service portion we do not list pricing. Too many variables when it comes to service, installation, maintenance, etc. As far as the pricing on the e-commerce, I update whenever we get pricing updates from our suppliers. Now on the flip side of that, if I have not updated and we had a price increase I would eat the increase and honor the web price, even though our site info page states prices are subject to change, etc, etc. Looks like bait and switch when you advertise one price.” – Lisa Burns, Ponds by the Backyard Getaway.

“We list prices on our website. If prices went up and we forgot to update, we would definitely honor the price listed.” – Ester Venouziou, Localshops1.com

During the discussion, I also mentioned that after speaking to a couple of alarm businesses that day, I leaned away from those who had not updated their prices, even if the difference was nominal. Perhaps it is the marketing professional in me, but to not maintain items customers see, means there are other items unseen not being maintained. However, perhaps this isn’t the feeling of the public as I received a different response from Terry Foster of the Yellow House Event Venue. She stated, “No have not done that…Moved on because their prices had not been updated…not a turn off for me. Many business owners rely on their website person to do the updates and we all know how that goes sometimes…but no it would not discourage me if I really wanted the item.”

As mentioned above, image is everything and the appearance of bait and switch leaves a bad taste in the eyes of many consumers.

Although this topic of pricing may seem as though it is a small marketing issue (experts are cringing at using the word “small”) that could be easily corrected, depending on what state or country you reside in, the item or how your business handles not honoring the price, you may find yourself in legal hot water. Since each area has its own laws, I encourage you to be sure you are familiar with the consumer protection laws in your state. The laws can be lengthy and seem outdated, but they are still the terms used to govern your business. (And you thought you wouldn’t need a lawyer for your business, right?)

Bottom line is that you could be legally held to honor the pricing on top of facing public scrutiny and embarrassment if you choose not to provide a posted price to a customer. In the least you can assume someone will turn to social media to bad mouth you.

So how do you feel now about posting prices on your site? Ready to stay on top of updating your webpage now?

Would love to hear your thoughts on today’s post. They may be used for a future article.

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Ebony T. Grimsley is the Creative Director and Owner of Above Promotions Company. She is also the recent author of “Because You’re Small: Effective Marketing Strategies for Immediate Implementation.” To find out how to purchase the book, please visit http://www.abovepromotions.com.

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Above Promotions is a full service publicity, marketing and promotions company, founded with the purpose to serve an array of clients that are looking to expand their presence in the marketplace. From a local to international market, Above Promotions Company can provide the exposure that goes above your expectations. Visit http://www.abovepromotions.com today.

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