By Una Savcenko
Expensive products are judged by their quality, looks, value… There’s a lot that goes through a customer’s head when they’re making decisions. And in the end, everybody blames the price tag to be the common reason why people don’t buy a product. However, if the only thing you and your customer see is the price tag, your selling tactics might need an update.
Tell me if this rings a bell:
You launch your premium products. You’ve set the prices to reflect the quality, invested time and creativity. Nobody’s buying. You’re now doubting the expensive price tags. The promos aren’t working out, either. You apply a quick fix and lower the prices. Orders start coming in, but your strategy for marketing expensive products has fallen flat. Sad.
Know what’s even sadder? Your customers would actually buy your higher-end products. You just need to give them a reason, added value, anything that would make them think “Wow! These leggings are only $90!? What a steal!”
Let’s make this happen for you with these 8 tips on how to market expensive products!
Ditch the discounts
Discounts are a bulletproof way to lure in new customers and satisfy your existing fan base, right? Not in this case. If you’ve just started marketing your more premium products, you’ll want to steer clear from discounts. Why?
Products on sale tend to have a cheaper vibe, even the high-end ones. Would you want an expensive product to have a cheap vibe? Of course not. You’re offering a high-quality product and that price tag is there for a reason.
Another argument to ditch discounts is that customers tend to get hooked on lowered prices and expect a discount with every order. So when they hop on your store and see your expensive items with no discount they hop right off.
Keep your expensive product prices as they are from the beginning. If you’re still searching for a way to delight your customers, offer them free shipping. That’s just one of the many ways how to sell a product without lowering its price tag.
Use smart pricing and selling tactics
If you think that changing a price from $10.00 to $9.99 guarantees more sales, you’re not the only one. A study on the use of odd pricing in the retail sector revealed that 90% of the prices end with either 9 or 5. It’s a psychological pricing strategy called odd pricing and used to make products seem cheaper.
And while there are numerous studies that support this odd pricing tactic, when it comes to marketing premium products – you might want to avoid it.
A study carried out in 2013 examined if and why consumers prefer round prices. The researchers observed the spending habits of a study group across two different pay-what-you-want situations and one self-pumped gasoline purchase.
The majority of participants showed a tendency to pay in round prices with no real explanation. Perhaps it was their subjective liking or some sort of oddly satisfying feeling they got from it.
Rounded prices may also contribute to a feeling of luxury. Since prices ending with .99 create a sense of a cheaper deal and sale, round prices portray the opposite. Maybe that’s why luxury brands like Prada, Balenciaga, and Burberry tend to stick to round pricing.
Reformat price tags
A study by Cornell University investigated the impact of price presentation on consumers’ attitudes. They found that restaurant-goers were more likely to spend more when they didn’t see dollar signs or decimal points on the menu ($12.99 → 13). Would you agree that a pair of leggings for “$89.75” seem pricier than the same pair for “90”?
Our brains are magical, and there’s plenty of ways to trick them. This study on price presentation proved that displaying prices in a smaller font size changes the perceived cost.
Prices in larger sizes got more attention than those in smaller sizes. So in the case of marketing expensive products, format prices in a smaller size so they’re harder to notice.
Play around with the price tags for your expensive items and don’t stop at removing the currency sign – see what happens when you change color and alignment.
Connect with your customers to upscale your products
The first thing you should understand before writing a product description is your customer. Say they’re looking for a t-shirt. Are they looking for something trendy? Minimalistic? Or do they just want something cozy to lounge around in at home?
Once you’ve cracked the motivations driving your customers, you can mirror their feelings back to them via your product descriptions. And when that’s done correctly, your customer reads the product description and makes an order thinking “Heck yea! Just what I wanted!”
One way to link your product with the customer is to use sensory language – words related to the five senses. Take this ICONSPEAK product description for example. They included sensory words like warm and sunny, which all work on your subconscious. Plus, the story they’ve written paints the picture of holiday heaven – you can easily see yourself wearing that tank-top.
Here’s a list of sensory words you can use in your copy. Understand the product you’re selling and the consumer behind it. Look at the product features and figure out what sensory words will make it stand out. Keep in mind your customer’s aspirations.
Create a story that justifies the high-priced item
To be successful in marketing expensive products, you should give your 100% to product presentation and let the price tag be just the price tag. Yes, it may read contrary to the previous points where we heavily covered pricing, but you should invest most of your time focusing on product value.
Today’s consumer won’t buy an expensive product if they can’t relate to it. So help them understand your product by highlighting why it means the world to you. Tell your brand story wherever and however possible – especially if you’ve created the designs from scratch and each product is made to order.
Startup Vitamins is an example of how to sell a product based on the story behind it.
This product description is like an open friendship request. It describes the heart and soul of what went into the design and the meaning behind it. And if you, as a customer, can run with it – it’s likely you’ll accept that friendship request and order the product.
So what goes into creating the perfect product description? That’s entirely up to you. But I do advise you to always include your unique selling proposition (USP) in the description. A USP is a clear statement that addresses:
- the direct benefits of your product;
- how the product will solve your customer’s needs;
- what distinguishes your product from the competition.
Add quality visuals for high-end products
We shop with our eyes first, then we connect our brains to the process and start making decisions. To nudge your customers into purchasing your premium products from the get-go, quality visuals are a must. Focus on these four tips:
Create photos that customers can relate to easily
Some ecommerce business owners fixate so much on identifying their expensive product via its description and promos that they forget they can do the same through photos. Keep your customer in mind and use your product photos as a tool to target them.
Let’s say your target audience is startup owners interested in styling their office. Use this info and plan your photo shoot so the product translates to a startup office vibe. You’ll mirror your customer’s wishes and they’ll be more likely to buy the high-end product because they’ll feel it was what they were looking for.
Add high-resolution product images
You’re trying to sell quality, experiences, and emotions – go for hi-res images. Aim for the minimum of 800×800 pixels, ideally 1200 to 1500 pixels in width/height. Plus, you’ll be able to use a detailed preview by adding a zoom-in tool to your shop. Just keep your page load time in mind and compress your images – they’ll still be high quality, just smaller in size.
Use video and 360° views as product marketing tools
Product videos increase conversions because they show the product and its benefits in a more effective way than a photo. Did you know that ecommerce shoppers are 64-85% more likely to buy an expensive product after watching a video of it? ASOS has some good examples of product videos.
If you want to take your product visuals to the next level, use 360° product views. They’re trickier to master, but are certainly doable with beginner guides to 360° product photography. Sunglasshut uses, see them by enabling the 360° view.
Have at least one macro shot so customers can see your product up close
What do customers do when browsing in a real-life brick-and-mortar store? … that’s right, they pick stuff up, they touch it, and they feel it.
Macro photos of your products showing off their material, details, and finish are a way to connect your customer and your product online. The more your customers spend time interacting with your products, the more likely they are to make a purchase.
Place another, more expensive product next to it
Selling a mug for $40 seems ridiculous, especially if you have mugs selling for $25 at your store. But, what if I told you that you could get away with selling a $40 mug by introducing another mug, one that you’ll sell at a $50?
When presented with three different pricing options for a similar product, the customer is more likely to choose the middle pricing option. A study on consumer behavior regarding product pricing viewed how introducing a newer, pricier product option lead to more sales for the original, cheaper product.
A kitchenware company Williams-Sonoma had listed a $275 bread-maker in their print catalog, and while it was a quality product, nobody was buying it. The sales changed when they introduced a similar bread maker for $429 and positioned it next to the $275 bread maker. The sales of the $275 bread maker nearly doubled because next to the new $429 model it seemed like a bargain.
So if you want to make your expensive product appear reasonably-priced, put a similar but more expensive product next to it. Keep in mind your goal is not to sell the new product but to drive sales by making the original product seem inexpensive.
Pro tip! Give no more than three product pricing options per category. Make it easy for your customers to choose the happy medium so you can sell the product you originally intended to sell.
I suggest leading with the most expensive product. If your customers see the first price as expensive, they’ll enjoy the following lower price.
Be open to experimenting
Marketing expensive products is all about testing what works and what doesn’t. Pay attention to what other luxury brands are doing – how they’re pricing and using visuals in product descriptions, etc. Perhaps you find something you could use in your product marketing.
Remember – marketing tactics that work for someone who sells leggings may not work for someone who sells home and living stuff. Same goes for the target audiences at play, and the bottom line here is (and you know this already) to know who your customer is.
Have your customer in mind and experiment, experiment, experiment! You’re introducing expensive products to your store – you don’t know how your customers will react to them. Maybe they’ll love them – maybe they’ll need some convincing to fall in love with them. You don’t know that. But you’ve now read through these 8 tips on how to market expensive products and probably already have an idea in mind to try out. Go and make that idea happen, have fun experimenting with marketing expensive products!