So, you’ve worked tirelessly with your designer or agency to build the perfect website to market your boats. You’ve considered — and reconsidered — every detail of the site including your home page, content strategy, product details pages, SEO strategy…

But, have you given any thought to pricing transparency within the context of your website? This is something we’ve thought about quite a bit, and find that the majority of boat manufacturers’ websites don’t include any pricing for their models — and this puzzles us.

In today’s world of instant gratification and having direct access to oceans of information at our fingertips (websites, social media etc.), we’ve come to expect that when we do online research about a product or service, that we’ll be able to find ALL of the answers we’re looking for — especially for a high-ticket item like an automobile or a boat.

Let’s take price transparency a step further than simply listing a “manufacturer’s suggested retail price” (MSRP) for each model on your website. Let’s discuss providing your prospects with additional research power and giving you the ability to capture their data in return.

In this article, we’ll talk about the benefit of adding a “pricing tool” to your site, which enables visitors to start with the base pricing of any of your boat models and, within the context of your website, add any available options – while calculating the total cost along the way.

Why You Should Have a Pricing Tool on Your Website

We’ve already briefly touched on the fact that customers and prospects want to have all of your product information at their disposal when doing their research. But is that reason enough to for you to change how you’ve been doing things for years?

Well, it should be.

When you aren’t transparent in your pricing, it can lead to frustration on the customers’ side and either drive them to competitors’ sites (to find the answers) or, at least temporarily, abandon their research altogether. The idea of pricing transparency is to help alleviate any unnecessary barriers to the customer getting the information they’re seeking, on their terms and at their convenience.

Aside from providing a better user experience for your customers and prospects, being transparent in pricing and adding a pricing tool to enhance that idea comes with some specific perks for you:

First, by allowing customers to fully calculate the cost of their dream boat (or the one they can actually afford) you can better pre-qualify prospects prior to dealer or salesperson hand-off. By allowing prospects to disqualify themselves earlier in the process, you’re better able to focus on the folks that are more than just tire-kickers.

The second reason to consider adding a pricing tool to your boating website might be that your biggest competitor likely doesn’t have one. We know this based on the small number of pricing tools we see on sites. This is a value-add over your competitors and an opportunity for prospects to have a better initial experience with your brand over that of your competition.

The third, and possibly the best reason to add a pricing tool to your website, is the ability to “trade” the functionality and convenience of the research tool for the customer’s contact information (along with the profile of the boat they “built”). All of the data can be captured and sent directly to you and/or your dealers. Not bad.

This is a Mainstay in Other Industries – Why Are Boat Manufactures Behind?

When we look at other industries that offer high-ticket items or technology, the boating industry almost stands alone by not offering pricing tools to their customers. In fact, a quick look at automobile manufacturers reveals that every one we looked at had a rather sophisticated pricing tool:

And a similar look at recreational vehicles (RVs) and campers revealed an equal spread of both pricing transparency and/or actual online pricing tools….some only showed MSRP, while others included sophisticated pricing tools – complete with lead-generation forms & capabilities.

The boating industry should take note and get on board. Forward-thinking marine manufacturers already are:

While not all “build a boat” features include pricing (they should), having this type of feature (even without pricing) gets the customer involved and invested in designing their very own boat of your brand, and allows for capturing the users’ data at the end of the process – along with the ability to forward that profile directly to you or your dealer network.

Adding a Pricing Tool to Your Website is a Win for Everyone

The benefits of being transparent in the pricing of your boats and adding an online pricing tool to your website far outweigh any preconceived ideas of why pricing shouldn’t be shared. And the barriers to adding a pricing tool to your website aren’t insurmountable.

In fact, our agency can readily assist with developing custom pricing tools for your website which take into consideration:

  • User interface design (UI/UX)
  • Developing pricing algorithms to suit your individual needs
  • Functionality and content (details, pricing, etc.) that can be easily updated
  • Data capture and forwarding

We’re firm believers that boat websites are more successful when pricing is readily available and there for all to see. And additional features in your website such as “build a boat” features and “pricing tools” enhance the user experience and help to bring down their barriers in the research and buying process.

We’ve written a comprehensive article about this subject entitled, “Price Transparency in the Boating Industry“. In this article, we discuss the importance of sharing the pricing of your boat models, and why it matters to you and your prospects. Give it a read, there’s some good stuff in there…
If you aren’t currently sharing your pricing with visitors to your website, give it some thought. And if you’d like to talk to us about creating a better experience for your customers, give us a yell. We can help you sell more boats and build a stronger brand.


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