Nugget of Knowledge: Psychology of sales

Our brain only sees the 2 in $2.99

Nugget of Knowledge

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Ever buy popcorn at the movies?

The theater wants you to buy the largest size. Maybe it’s only a dollar more than the medium size.

This is called the decoy effect. You see a slightly cheaper “decoy” option — the medium size — to make it seem like the most expensive option is a bargain.

Some restaurants drop the dollar sign in front of prices. You’ll spend more when they take out references to dollars, in words or symbol, so you’re no longer reminded of the “pain of paying.”

Some restaurants will simply list your food choices.

Others will offer authentic carne asada taco with fresh cilantro, onion and lime, wrapped in a handmade corn tortilla, garnished with an avocado salsa. When you put that way, restaurant sales go up.

Look at the floor in the grocery and the shape of the tiles.

Psychologists have found that closely spaced, horizontal lines on the floor will slow your pace, encouraging you to browse and buy more.

Wide gaps mean you move more quickly and spend less.

Prices that end 99 have an incredible impact.

We read from left to right. Unconsciously, our brains see $2.99 to be closer to $2 than to $3.

How about those 10 for $10 sign at the supermarket?

In many cases, “10 for $10” is just another way of saying “1 for $1.” You may not have to buy all 10 to get the deal.

And finally “while supplies last….”

A gallon of milk for only $1.99, but only four per customer.

Why the limit?

There’s no milk shortage. It’s just a trick to get you to buy more than you need.

Think about this next time you’re buying airline tickets and see a pop-up on the screen: “Only 11 seats left on this flight. Buy now!”

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