Pricing Pages for SaaS: 6 Psychological Hacks

Anyone who is considering your SaaS services will take a look at your pricing page – so make it as efficient and persuasive as possible. Regardless of your pricing model, the way you visualize your offer on the pricing page will help users understand their options and convert faster.

There are multiple cognitive biases – or psychological shortcuts – that SaaS brands can use to guide their prospects through this last stage of their buyer journey and acquire new customers at scale.

Pricing Pages and Cognitive Biases

Applying cognitive biases on pricing pages can help potential customers exit their exploration and evaluation looms and move to purchase. In effect, using what we’ve learned from social psychology can help marketers influence the “messy middle” of the buyer’s journey.Here are 6 of the most common cognitive biases that SaaS brands use on their pricing pages:

   1. The Category Heuristics Bias

Category heuristics are mental shortcuts that help us make a quick decision within a given category without exploring in-depth all features and options. For example, when looking for a new phone, you may want to explore your options around the quality of the pictures you can take with it.

Category heuristics ease the analysis paralysis by allowing us to examine fewer pieces of information and consider fewer alternatives.

This cognitive bias comes in handy on pricing pages, as most SaaS platforms have numerous and particular features that speak to different customers.

For example, when showing the pricing tiers, Slack has organized its features around core goals: productivity, external collaboration, security, compliance, administration, calls, and support.

This way, users could only focus on the area they’re interested in and make informed decisions on which plans would best suit their needs.

Source: Slack

   2. The Center-Stage Effect on Pricing Pages

The center stage effect refers to the psychological preference people have for the middle item in a selection of three choices. The core of the bias is that the "middle" option is perceived as the "average" choice – not too cheap, not too expensive.Take a look at Xero’s pricing page. The accounting software offers 3 plans, and the center-staged one is also presented as the most popular. A simple rearrangement of your current pricing information may be enough to trigger more conversions.

Source: Xero

   3. The Bandwagon Effect

The bandwagon effect describes the tendency to adopt behaviors and attitudes simply because others are doing so. This cognitive bias describes how people’s opinions can alter because of their desire to "hop on the bandwagon" of popular positions.This effect is widely applied across SaaS pricing pages – when you show potential customers which plan is most popular, chances are they would take this into consideration. Placing a “Most Popular” tag on the preferred option will activate groupthink and people’s social cues.

Here is an example from Spocket, a drop shipping app:

Source: Spocket

Here is another example of using the bandwagon bias from Foundersuite, investor CRM and database.

Source: Foundersuit

   4. The Decoy Effect and SaaS Pricing

This decoy effect is a cognitive bias that nudges the user toward a specific plan by presenting another, less desirable option.

The decoy effect is best visible when choosing between alternatives – the addition of a third, decoy option can influence our perception of the original two choices.

Shopify can serve as a good example here – while the first 2 pricing tiers are well under $100, the third option is significantly more expensive, at $299. Even comparing them feature by feature does not quite justify the cost difference, especially since the brand also offers its enterprise-grade solution, ShopifyPlus.

Source: Shopify

 5. Price Anchoring Effect

The anchoring effect describes people’s bias to rely on the first information presented to them – the “anchor.” One way of implementing this bias on SaaS pricing pages is by placing your most expensive plans on the left side of the screen.

See how CRO SaaS brand Convert uses price anchoring on their pricing page. Their lowest-priced package is still a hefty sum. By positioning their most expensive offer on the left of the page – the first option their leads would look at – they make the Specialist and the Kickstart packages seem more affordable in comparison.

Source: Convert

Another example of how to apply the anchoring effect is on Zoom’s pricing page:

Source: Zoom

   6. Loss Aversion Bias and Pricing Pages

The loss aversion bias states that people prefer not to lose what they already have rather than win more. More specifically, a psychology study (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979) demonstrated that the perceived pain of losing something is much more intense than the pleasure of gaining something.

Applying the loss aversion bias to pricing pages is not very straightforward, but here is a good example from the social media tool Buffer.

Their pricing page dynamically shows users how much they would save if they choose the annual over the monthly plan.

Source: Buffer

Another great example of building the pricing page around the loss aversion bias comes from QuickBooks. The page headline and subheader set the stage, communicating how the user can save time by using the platform. The pricing itself shows the standard price and the current offer, plus how much the user would save.

Source: Quickbooks

Persuasive SaaS Pricing Pages

Cognitive biases and psychological shortcuts affect decision-making and the speed with which we make decisions. Your pricing plan page is the last step of your buyers’ journeys – the ultimate place to support the user to find easily and quickly all the information they need to make a choice.

Your pricing should show your prospects not just the cost-based value of your product but also the vision that has created this service and exactly how it can serve their needs.

Intuitive design, clear copy, and the exact information your leads need to make a decision are at the heart of all the best SaaS pricing pages. In many ways, this is true of any landing page where you want your prospective customers to take action.

If you’re curious, take a look at what ingredients make up an effective landing page that converts.

Vesselina Levkova

Head of Paid Media

I am a digital storyteller helping brands enhance their online presence through content marketing.