How to Sell Expensive Items Online

How to Sell Expensive Items Online


Hardly any online business wants to be perceived as just dime or costly. That’s why nearly every company strives to highlight the important values their products bring to the customers and in doing so, justify their high prices.

And even then, their prospects don’t rush to part with money earned in blood and sweat. This is what being human means: people don’t like the idea of paying more when they could pay less. So when it’s time to seal the deal, customers are always indecisive, even when the benefits are clear.

However, don’t jump the gun and talk discounts. If you are confident that your product is worth its cost, try to use these five marketing tricks to present your prices in a more favorable light.

Add a More Expensive Offering

Place a house next to a kennel, and it will look as huge as a castle. But should you only build a skyscraper beside it, it will seem as tiny as an ant nest.

This is a contrast effect in action, and it can do marvels for increasing online sales. The product perceived as unreasonably expensive suddenly looks like a great deal once there is a similar one of a much higher price next to it.

A model story is a case with bread makers. A cookware retailer Williams-Sonoma managed to not only increase the sales of their unpopular product but nearly doubled them. All they did was presenting another similar product almost twice the cost of its catalog neighbor.

If you are in the informational business, inventing that costlier product is no sweat. If you are reselling products, it may be the time to offer higher-segment products you always thought your customers couldn’t afford. It is important to understand that the intent is not to skyrocket the sales of a higher-priced item – although it is a good bonus if you do – but rather to boost the cost-attractiveness of the initial product in its light.

Break the Price and Visualize

If you can’t sell it for $700 a year, sell it for $2 a day. Based on this strategy, you are required to break the price into smaller daily bits, but instead of naming the cost-per-day, “buy” something useless your customers most likely are already blowing their money on. The value of $2 may be vague, while a cup of an awful coffee they have to drink every morning is vivid.

The idea is to show your customers that there is your superb and irreplaceable product on one side and something that most people will deem useless, excessive, or annoying spending on the other. Don’t weigh it against something essential.

If your potential buyers are schools and educators, the prices for such products as paper for printing and pencils can be pretty annoying expenses that are not even close as valuable as your offer.  If your target audience is built up of college students, an ice-cream or a pair of new shoes may be something to easily do without.

Tell the Story that Stands Behind Your Product

To highlight the true depths of the product, copywriters often use the power of storytelling. The goal is to impress the audience with how much stands behind creating a product or service. Make them notice the value that escaped their attention for your product to seem more essential and fair-priced. Shed light to every bit of the story behind it.

A pair of sneakers isn’t just a box with shoes in it. It’s a made-of-premium-materials product of the world’s crème de la crème designers and shoemakers that was tried, tested, and approved by the American Orthopedic Association. It’s over 20 years of research and thousands of independent user trials to design a weightless solution that is both protective and insensible.

It’s years of flawless quality, comfort, and style. It’s hundreds of winner athletes across the world. It’s leadership in sustainable production and millions of investments in environmental protection and climate control.

But if you don’t tell your customers how much work stands behind that pair of sneakers, for them they will be just shoes. Paying $2000 for a pair of shoes is a rip-off. But giving $2000 for the environment-friendly, ergonomic, wear-resistant heaven for your feet is a bargain!

Use Price-Positioning Tricks

A study performed by Cornell University discovered that the restaurant-goers spent significantly more when the prices contained no dollar sign. Although it included only restaurant visitors looking through the menus, the idea is still worth considering if you want your prices to look yummier. For example, Neiman Marcus is actively using this price-positioning method when offering expensive items online.

Another study showed that the prices typed in smaller fonts looked more attractive for customers. A hefty font size creates a perception of a higher price. After all, big means big, when small means small. High prices have big fonts; small prices have tiny fonts.

And never underrate the power of subtracting a cent. From paper writing services to Netflix, businesses continue to win from this price-positioning strategy. It may seem phony, but 9.99 is still much cheaper than 10, and 99.99 is by far a total steal compared to 100.  

Create an Impression That Other Customers Are Fine with the Cost

Many businesses are using this strategy to upscale their sales. Check ProProfs flashcards seller, for one, with their “Trusted by over 1 million users”. The idea is to persuade your customers that thousands and millions of other people across the world consider your product priced quite fairly.

The best way to achieve that is to strike them with social proofs. Any feedback, ratings, and numbers that make those pricing digits seem reasonable are your best friends. After all, if there are a million people who use this service and don’t think it is crazily overpriced – then maybe it’s not?

Bottom Line

Even though these 5 marketing tricks have become classic now, positioning expensive products online is a matter of test and trial. Some strategies may work for your business, while others won’t.

A good idea is to learn from the leaders in your niche. Have a sneaky peek at how they position their products and prices, what anchoring strategies they are using, and what image they create around the brand. Don’t disregard the importance of formatting and visual content – they might give you some good ideas.

Finally, always keep your client in mind. Feedback, your competitor’s testimonials, social media commentaries, whatnot can give you valuable insights into what your prospects truly need and desire. All you have to do is to translate it into your product.

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Anna Herron
Anna Herron

Anna Herron is a former teacher, currently working as a screenwriter and freelance writer. All her free time she dedicates to taking care of her children and her lifetime collection of books. Anna enjoys writing novels and short stories, her publications can be found on such platforms as Hub Pages and Medium.

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