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3.5 Make It Easy to Compare the Plans

Best practice #10: make it easy to compare the plans. I think this is one of the biggest problems we see today with pricing tables. They show us all of these features, but don’t really give us a quick and easy way of comparing the plans.

And they should, because that’s how we, as customers, make a decision. Let’s see how to do it right.

3.5 Make It Easy to Compare the Plans

Best practice number ten, make it easy to compare the plans. I think this is one of the biggest problems we see today in pricing tables. Because they offer us all of this information, all of these features. But they don't make it easy for us to compare between plans, and they should, because that's how we make a decision. That's how we decide which pricing plan to buy. We compare them side by side, and we see what's a better fit for our needs. Now, a very common mistake you can avoid is to write down the features that are available in every single plan. That's a mistake, people don't want to see similarities, they wanna see the differences between the plans. I think the perfect example for this is the pricing table from ning.com. Notice that the most of the features are available in all three plans, in fact, I counted. There are 35 features, out of which only 8 are different for each plan, that's about 22%. Which means 78% of all features are the same for all plans, and shouldn't be present at all. Instead, what they could have done is only show those eight differences in the pricing table. And then below, in a different section, show all the common ones, like beanstalk is doing right here. Invoicera is doing something similar by only showing the differences in the pricing table, and then all the common features below. I think this is a much cleaner approach, and it definitely allows customers to compare pricing plans a lot faster. You're basically saying, here's what you're getting for any of the plans. But then, plan A is different because it offers this, and plan B is different because it offers that, whatever this and that might be. Now, let me give you another example of how a pricing table makes it hard for us to compare the plans. Here, we have the one from Campaign Monitor. Each plan is built upon the one before it. Which means plan two has the features from plan one, and then some extra ones. Plan three has the features from plan two, and then some extra ones, and so on. The problem is, when you want to compare these, you need to read the features to realize they're the same. Sure, they added these plus icons to mark new features, but that's not immediately obvious. Wistia is doing something similar, by repeating the same features in different plans. What they could do instead is something like this. Instead of repeating those features in the next plan, simply say all standard features plus, like desk.com is doing here. This is a very good practice, because you don't repeat yourself. You save a lot of vertical space, and you reduce visual clutter. Box is doing something similar, and only showcases the differences between the three plans, same thing goes for freshdesk. Imagine how tall these pricing tables would be if all the similarities were present in each plan. Now, if for some reason you do want to repeat the similarities, do it in such a way that it allows users to quickly compare the plans. Symu actually pulls it off here by drastically reducing the opacity of the unavailable features. They're also replacing the normal icon with an x, which also helps. And that's best practice number ten, make it easy to compare the plans. Let's move on to number 11, which is use a clear call to action, that's coming up.

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