Using Psychology to Make Your Products Look Like Bargains

Lisa Morton E-Commerce News Leave a Comment

Standing out from the competition as an online retailer these days isn’t what you’d call easy. It was once enough to simply run an online store and hire the expert SEO team required to pull in the punters in the first place. As of now, you also need to offer something above and beyond the competition.

Or at least, appear to be offering something exceptional.

Psychology as a marketing tool is nothing new, but is nonetheless becoming an increasingly important consideration for online marketers. So if you’re wondering exactly how you can put the power of psychology to use to make your products look like bargains, here’s a quick rundown of a few tips and tricks to help:

The Decoy Effect

First of all, when there are two similar products with different prices, consumers often automatically go for the cheaper option. However, if you introduce a third product again with a different price, things become slightly more complex. In these instances, customers tend to think more about which products make the best deal and are therefore more likely to choose a higher priced product – a technique known as the ‘decoy’ effect.

Focus on the Action

The more you focus on the price, the more attention you draw to the transaction. Which isn’t a good idea, given the way in which most people do not like handing over money. As such, commonly used words like affordable, money, spend, price and so on are all a little too financial. Instead, focus on the action and benefits of the product or service in question, rather than the cash element of the transaction.

“Minus-One-Penny” Pricing

If you aren’t already doing it, you might want to think about implementing the one-penny-under pricing strategy. Even though we all know a penny makes absolutely no difference whatsoever, something on sale for £29.99 has been proven time and time again to sell more successfully than the exact same product priced at £30. When something is £29.99, we instinctively see it as a £20 product, rather than £30.

Context Counts

Roughly translated, the way you set the scene and the overall presentation/professionalism of your online store will add to the perceived value of whatever it is you sell. It’s a little like comparing two identical products – one sold in your local supermarket, the other sold in Harrods. Even though the latter will be far more expensive, it is both accepted and expected due to the context of the sale.

Rarity and Demand

If you’ve ever book a flight in something of a hurry having been notified that there are “only six seats left” at this low price, you’ve likely fallen for a psychological marketing stunt. Nevertheless, you’ve also proved beyond reasonable doubt how a rarity and demand can be so powerful.

Discounts with Justification

Last but not least, when you discount a product or service without justifying it, the customer may subconsciously get the impression that it is the value of the item that has been eroded. After all, why else would it be discounted? By contrast, discount the same item, advertise it as a special Mother’s Day deal and if anything, the perceived value of the item actually increases in the eyes of the buyer.


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