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Anchor Pricing Strategies

Here’s a scenario… You decide to venture into a cell phone store despite your reluctance to deal with a bewildering number of phones, options, plans, along with a confusing price structure. As usual, you find you’ll have to wait a bit for a salesperson. The greeter hands you a card with a big “97″ printed on it, and says, “It should only be a few minutes. We’ll call your number, 97, when a salesperson can help you.” You notice that a large digital display on the wall is showing “94.” You see it click to 95, then 96, and finally 97. The receptionist says, “Number 97, please,” and a salesperson appears to assist you. You thought nothing of the numeric ordering of customers, but it’s possible that the store had an ulterior motive: they could have been attempting to manipulate the price you would pay. Sound bizarre? Read on…

When a consumer is presented with an offer, a key element in the decision to accept or reject it is whether it appears to be a “fair deal” or not. We know that buying pain – the activation of our brain’s pain center when paying for a purchase – increases when the price seems too high. But how does that value equation work? The answer is anchoring – typically, we store an anchor price for different products that we then use to judge relative value. That sounds simple enough… but it’s actually not. Some anchor prices are stickier than others, and at times totally unrelated factors can affect these anchor points. The better marketers can understand how anchoring works, the more creative and effective pricing strategies they will be able to develop. […]

By |July 18th, 2008|

Precise Pricing Pays Off

In my time as a catalog marketer, I almost always priced products just below the next dollar increment – a cheap item might be $9.97 rather than $10, while a more expensive item may have been $499, or even $499.99, instead of $500. My strategy was based on a couple of assumptions. First, I thought that there was probably something desirable about offering, say, a “nine-dollar-and-change” price vs. a “ten-dollar” price, i.e., even though the difference was only a few pennies, some customers would perceive the $9.97 price to offer more substantial savings. Second, I observed that big marketers like Sears, who could afford to test any number of pricing options, tended to stick with the “just below the next increment” approach. As it turns out, I was right, but for the wrong reason. New research points us toward the reasons why consumers respond better to a $499 price vs. a $500 price, and it has more to do with the apparent precision of the odd number: […]

By |April 28th, 2008|

Get More for Your House with an Odd Price

I love research findings that run counter to intuition, or are at least unexpected, and the idea that you can get more for your house if you market it with an odd price is certainly unexpected. That’s what University […]

By |April 26th, 2008|