Why price is the end all be all

Working closely as we do with dealers, we’ve heard all the reasons a dealer might not to include a price on their listing, including:

  • “It encourages buyers to call”
  • “We don’t want to show price on new units”
  • “We might be able to offer better deals in the dealership”
  • “I’m concerned my prices aren’t competitive in my market”

And while there are always logical reasons behind these excuses, the reality is that every buyer has a budget. It never made sense to me why the price wouldn’t be the first thing to be included on a listing — even the MSRP would be better than nothing. I mean, you don’t go to Target and have to wonder what the price of a t-shirt is, do you? Why should this be any different?

At first, I thought maybe I was the only one who felt this way — but the results show I’m not.

We started just by checking out ad performance on Cycle Trader and we found that listings with a price get 17 times more clicks than those without a price.1 While that begins to confirm our suspicions, we wanted to dive deeper into why listings with a price perform better. So we asked buyers actively searching the site directly to get their take on things.

To make sure we got a full understanding of where price ranks for the buyer, we started by getting an idea of what is most important to them when searching. Not surprisingly — manufacturer won out — but just by a hair. Price followed with 25 percent of buyers saying it is the most important factor when searching for their next unit.2 While buyers may have a preference for one manufacturer or another, they definitely have a budget, and they want to know up front if that unit they have their eye on is going to fit within it.

Still not convinced? That’s okay, because this is where the statistics are really telling.

Next, we asked if buyers would click on a listing with no price — and 90 percent of them said no.2 Flat out no. Well, now we can all understand why listing with a price perform so much better. Buyers aren’t clicking on the ones that don’t have a price. And the thing is, if they do decide to call, 97 percent said it’s because you haven’t included a price.2


And it’s because they have a budget and they are skeptical that if a dealer won’t include a price on their listing, it feels like the deal may be a bait and switch. You have to remember — it’s not personal for these buyers. They are looking for their next bike at the best price — and if you don’t want to share that information with them when and where they want it, they are more than happy to find another dealership that will.

Let’s look at it a different way — would you share the price with a buyer who walked into your dealership? Of course. It feels a little crazy to even ask because you want them to buy — but to decide on a unit, they need to know how much it costs. So why would you treat your online inventory any different? You want to provide a consistently good experience, no matter how a buyer chooses to check out your inventory.

So c’mon — put prices on your listings. There is no reason not to.

  1. Omniture, 2017
  2. Hotjar, 2017

Kensey Edwards is the content manager for Cycle Trader, an online marketplace connecting powersports buyers to sellers. In her role, Edwards focuses on consumer research and trends in the ever-changing digital landscape — and translates those insights into content and education to help dealers compete in the broader powersports industry.


  1. I can’t believe you would publish this! My dealer Group doesn’t post pricing online and we are the most successful HD group in America. Our BDC contributes 50% of the business in our dealerships. It’s called a sales process. 80% of customers buy something different than they originally planned. That’s not baiting and switching!! We hold margin and get people on their dream bikes. Very disappointing article.

  2. Reply from Kensey Edwards:

    Adam – thanks for the feedback. We’re glad to hear that you haven’t experienced any of these things with your listings. I think that’s a true testament to the reputation your dealership has in your community and the brand you’ve built.

    My guess would be, based on the data, that there are other dealerships that might not have the same experience – so we want to provide any data we can glean from our consumer audience that might be helpful and improve their online performance.

    We are always looking for suggestions on other topics we could explore and I’d love your thoughts. My direct email is kensey.edwards@cycletrader.com.

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