Less is more? Reducing the number of pricing plans

Published in Online Marketing.

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Comparison of two variants of the same page using A/B testing

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When we sell digital products over the Internet, offering the right plans to what your customers want to buy is one of the most recurring problems. How many plans do you offer? What characteristics must each plan have? What are the main differences between plans that can incentivize the purchase? Providing the right plan offer is key to getting traction.

With this in mind, defining a good strategy for plans and prices is one of the objectives that has obsessed us the most during all the time that we have been dedicating ourselves to selling WordPress plugins. We have tested different prices over the years, different features, and multiple ways to view them on our product pricing page.

There has not been a year in which we have not changed something about the prices or the characteristics of the plans of our premium plugins. In the same way that the market is constantly evolving, we have been adapting our offer to the requirements that our customers have indicated to us.

In today’s example, I’m going to focus on the pricing plans for Nelio Content, our editorial calendar plugin for automatic content promotion on social media. If you click on the previous link and go to see the pricing page for this product, you will find 3 levels of plans offered. But this was not always the case.

When we launched Nelio Content, we only offered a single plan. As we added new features, we expanded the range of plans until we reached what you can find today. But the question is: what if we only offered a single plan instead of three?

To be able to answer this question we will use the A/B testing technique. This will help us know with real data from our visitors if it is better to have three plans or only one. Let’s see how we have done it…

Creation of the A/B test

Simplifying the visitor’s life by not having to think about which plan is best for their needs can be something that works (or not) and gets us (or not, again) more customers. So we got down to business and created an A/B test of pages to test the current version of Nelio Content’s pricing page, which has all three plans, against a version that only shows one of them.

Creation of the A / B test of pages.
Creation of the A/B test of pages.

In the configuration screen of the A/B test that you just saw, we set an explanatory title to the test, selected the page that we are going to test (version A) and created a new variant (version B). Then, we decided which actions we want to count in order to know which version of the two performs better.

In this case, we are going to have two different goals. The first of them will count the number of times that any visitor clicks on the purchase button. This button will open a popup with the payment form.

On the other hand, the second goal to measure is the amount of sales. Here the point is clear: the version of the page that gets the most sales will be the best.

Next, we simply have to edit the variant we just created. To do this, the A/B testing tool takes us to the editing screen in WordPress, where we can make the changes we want. In our case, we only have to change the column block of the plans so that we only have a single column and, therefore, a single plan.

Version of the pricing table with three plans.
Version of the pricing table with one plan.
Comparison between the original version of the site with three plans (left) and the version with only one plan (right).

In the previous comparison you can see the two versions of the pricing page, with three plans or with a single plan. You can move the slider left or right to check the differences.

Regarding the test, for the version of the page with a single plan we have decided to stick with the intermediate plan. Another possibility could have been to choose the lower plan. But we opted in this test to choose the intermediate plan since it is the one we recommend in most cases. However, we can always create another test later with other different variations.

Finally, we just need to start the A/B test. From then on, the traffic to our pricing page is automatically split so that half of the visitors see the current page and the other half see the page that contains a single plan. We just have to wait for the results to start coming in.

Analysis of the results

In less than a month, the test has been able to tell us which version is better: users clicked more often on the purchase button when there were three plans. If we look at the sales goal, there isn’t enough data to have a statistically strong result, but we can still see a negative when it comes to the single plan variant: it got 70% fewer sales!

Therefore, we can conclude that, in this particular scenario, less is not more:

The most important lesson is that the A/B test has saved us once again from choosing a version that is clearly worse than what we already had. If we had chosen the version with a single plan without first testing its effectiveness, we would have lost a lot of sales.

In conclusion, my recommendation is, as always, to try out all the changes you can before applying them for good. By doing this you can ensure that what you do is reliable and supported by real data obtained through the interaction of real visitors.

So now you know: forget about opinions and decide what changes to apply to your website using real data. This way you will be able to reach your goals more quickly and safely.

Photo by Prateek Katyal on Unsplash.

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