At Oxford Abstracts we make things simple for our customers which is why we, unlike most of our competitors, publish our prices on our website. Our transparent, no-nonsense, no-hidden-extras price list shows exactly what you will be paying and what features you will get.
Marcus Sheridan, in his excellent book ‘They Ask, You Answer’, explains why many companies decide not to openly publicise their prices, choosing to keep them hidden until contact is made:
Regardless of company or culture, we have found there are three reasons businesses justify not discussing this subject on their websites:
Every solution is different. Our prices vary.
If we discuss pricing on our website, our competitors will find out what we charge.
If we show what we charge, we’ll scare customers away.
Let’s go through these one by one:
Every solution is different
This is of course true. No two customers' needs are exactly the same. However, at Oxford Abstracts, we offer flexible software that will fit a range of solutions. For instance, our Abstract Management package will allow you to build simple or complicated forms in the same way that Microsoft Word software will let you write anything from a short list to a long book. The Package’s price is fixed at £500, and it allows for the full spectrum of abstract management requirements, along with unlimited submissions.
The same goes for all our packages: Our Standard Conference package costs £1200 and will handle all basic academic conference needs, including an easy-to-build program and integrated delegate registration. Our Professional Conference at £1800 provides all you need for a virtual conference, including interactivity, chat, sponsorship, exhibitor space and a poster gallery.
We even offer a FREE Package, which will provide the basic abstract management requirements - also with unlimited submissions.
Our competitors will find out what we charge
A key part of creating a marketing and pricing strategy is knowing what competitors are offering, and for how much. Gathering industry insight enables a company to develop and innovate their products and services. Prices, positioning and a company’s key strengths and weaknesses is hardly classified stuff, and it’s really not that difficult to find this information.
We certainly do not concern ourselves with what our competitors know about our products and prices. We know our products are great value for money, and the more people that know about it, the better for us and our clients.
We’ll scare our customers away
This one is our favourite and, having talked to customers after they have discovered what other providers are charging, it has a ring of truth to it. But if you are going to scare the customers, surely it’s better to do that before you’ve wasted their time with a demo and sales pitch!
As Marcus Sheridan illustrates - would you consider eating at a restaurant if they listed the menu on the website but not the prices? Probably not, because by choosing not to show prices, the restaurant proprietor will have inadvertently planted a seed of doubt about affordability in your mind. People like to make informed choices, and without clear pricing, potential clients are dealing with the unknown and probably inserting the worst possible scenario - the menu is totally out of their price range.
To quote Marcus again, “Discussing cost and price is not about affordability, it’s about psychology. It’s about trust.”
Transparency and customer focus are core values at Oxford Abstracts. We have built a reputation on offering easy-to-use, cost effective academic conference management software and we intend to continue doing just that. Publishing our prices allows you to see clearly what you will be paying for the service. If we offer discounts on this service, then we are no longer transparent with our prices, as different customers will be paying different prices for the same service.
By all means use the prices on our website to try to beat down a competitor's “quote” because often the first number you get is the starting point for a negotiation. But be aware that sales people will be using this tactic to their advantage. The anticipation of a discount is pleasurable, while the fear of missing out is painful. Shrewd sales people utilise this very human insecurity, using time-limited discounts to pressure buyers into rushing into a purchase.
At Oxford Abstracts we will never use discounts to pressure you into buying our product. The price you see on the website is the price you will pay. We think it’s better for us and for our customers to do it this way.