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Where you should display your price

Scientific research found that we perceive prices as cheaper when they are below products (vs above), increasing sales.

Topics: Pricing | Ads | Ecommerce | Retail Store | Website/App
For: B2C, B2B Friendly
Research date: September 2020
Universities: University of Louisville & Clark University

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📝 Intro

Say you’re redesigning your website.

Or putting the final touches to that banner ad.

Where should you write your price?

Here’s what scientific research found is most effective.

📈 Recommendation

Position your price below your product (e.g. on your ad, product page, store shelves), not above.

People will perceive the price to be lower and be more likely to buy.

🎓 Findings

  • Prices shown in low (vs high) positions - compared to the product being sold - seem lower. The effect increases sales without hurting quality perceptions of the product.

  • For example, as part of a series of six experiments, people:

    • Perceived the price of a $2.49 dental floss to be 9% cheaper when it was shown on the bottom compared to the top of the image

    • Sales in a liquor store were 35.2% higher when prices were shown below bottles rather than above

Products seem cheaper - and sell better - when the price is written below them.

Image of prices above vs prices above a product

🧠 Why it works

  • The metaphor that “down = less” and “up = more” is ingrained in most of us as a concept. For example, one can be “king of the hill” or “up in heaven”, and hit “rock bottom” or “go down to hell”.

  • So when we see a price in a low vertical position, we associate “down” with “less” and perceive it as a smaller number than what it is.

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  • Newer research found that this effect seems to work best for low-cost products or cheaper than expected prices. It might not be effective for expensive products.

  • The study positioned prices relative to the product (e.g. price above or below, product in the middle). It did not investigate the effect of positioning price when the product is not near it (e.g. on a website).

  • This research studied the position of a single price (e.g. $24), not a regular plus sale price combination (e.g. was $24 now $19). When a price comparison is present, this effect might not be strong enough to hold, since people focus on comparing the original versus the sale price.

🏢 Companies using this

  • Most stores, physical and online, correctly position prices below their products.

  • Things become more inconsistent when it comes to displaying prices on ads or non-ecommerce websites.

⚡ Steps to implement

  • Review where you position your prices on your store shelves, ads, website, packaging, and anywhere else you mention your price.

  • Move the price to a position below your product whenever possible.

  • Separate research hints that it might be wise to avoid the bottom right. Try to favor the bottom-left or the bottom-center when you are testing this.

🔍 Study type

Online and lab experiments and field experiments (in two different liquor stores in the US).

📖 Research

🏫 Researchers

Remember: This is a scientific discovery. In the future it will probably be better understood and could even be proven wrong (that’s how science works). It may also not be generalizable to your situation. If it’s a risky change, always test it on a small scale before rolling it out widely.

🎓 Found this insight useful?