Online transparency has major benefits

 By Lauren Urbanek, AVB Marketing

BrandSource members who wish to break MAP or PMAP may see the appeal in a “see-price-in-cart” approach.

However, we at AVB Marketing do not consider this an e-commerce best practice. Quite the contrary, we believe it will hurt members’ ad and site performance and will turn away customers who want to browse by price.

Here’s why it’s a bad strategy:

1. Customer Turn Off

Forcing online shoppers to take an additional step to “See price in cart” is like telling a hot prospect in your store that “I’ll show you the price once you decide what you like.” The ploy can seem deceptive, as customers are now accustomed to seeing prices on e-commerce sites. It is a best practice, and our most successful BrandSource members show product pricing. 

2. High Bounce Rates/Low Time on Site

Masking your prices can lead to high bounce rates and less time spent on your website due to customer frustration over their inability to thoroughly browse. This affects your rankings, your quality score for ads and overall site performance. 

3. Inflated Add-to-Cart Metrics

AVB Marketing optimizes ads based on conversions, and the drop-off from “Add to cart” to purchase is very high when members use “See price in cart.” This can hinder Google’s AI ability to serve the ads to the correct customers.

4. Impact on Shoppable Ad Units

Shoppable ad units, like Facebook Catalog Ads and Local Inventory Ads (local Google Shopping), require pricing on the landing page you are driving to. If you employ “See price in cart,” then those products cannot be served in shoppable ad units. You will also likely have your Google Merchant Center disapproved because the landing page doesn’t match what is advertised. 

5. MAP Violations!

Manufacturers are getting better at enforcement all the time, and we have had members receive violations from running below PMAP. Hiding pricing behind a button risks violations and fines and hurts site performance. 

6. Labor Intensive

A “see-price-in-cart” approach requires adding flags manually for every single product that’s displayed in this manner. There’s no way to automate this.

7. The Biggest Reason 

The competition doesn’t do it!

We advise members who insist on pursuing this strategy to at least utilize PMAP pricing on the major brands, and to limit it to a select “hot buys”-type catalog for a few special deals.

Lauren Urbanek is director of marketing, key accounts, at AVB Marketing, the advertising, e-commerce and digital marketing arm of YSN publisher AVB BrandSource. Contact Lauren at

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