Over recent years, I have uncovered more than 450 specific psychological insights that can have a dramatic impact on a promotion's likely performance. For instance, the visual appearance of a promotional message is often more influential than the deal itself. Other learnings include:
Each syllable of a price in a supermarket reduces its chance of being remembered by 20% (£62.30 more memorable than £77.61) - Smoother, round prices stick with us
2. Size matters
When looking at 25% off or save 50p, shoppers will find the one with the biggest number disproportionately appealing - Go for communicating in the way that promotes saving using the biggest number.
3. Loss aversion
Because humans have a hard-wired fear of loss, the word FREE is processed as no risk (no way of losing) and so appeal is increased.
4. Power of limits
Special offers with restrictions ‘limit two per customer’ or ‘offer valid only until a certain date’ lead to higher sales than the same deals without restrictions due to the fear of missing out.
5. The % sign
Shoppers look at the ‘%’ without paying attention to the number to which the ‘%’ applies! ‘50% bonus pack’ sold 71% more than a ‘35% discount’
6. Charm pricing
23% more shoppers bought a product whose price ended in 9 (£39) compared to when it was £34. There was no difference when the product was priced at £34 or £44
I firmly believe that if brands and retailers understood the psychology of the offers and deals they run, they could add literally millions to their bottom lines. In one category, shoppers arrived expecting to spend an average of £7. They actually spent a mere £4.20, due entirely to the unnecessarily aggressive promotions.
When I talk to shoppers, they almost always say that they evaluate and calculate in-store promotions intelligently and would never fall for anything that wasn't an exceptional added value offer...
...but in actual fact, most of us very often do!