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Commentary & Analysis

Do You Know the Psychology of Discounts and Deals?

Part of being a marketing services provider is helping your clients with their marketing, and this goes beyond integrating marketing channels and improving databases. It includes selecting and tweaking the right offers, too. Studies on this topic provide fascinating insight into the psychology of discounts and deals.  

By Heidi Tolliver-Walker
Published: March 13, 2019

Part of being a marketing services provider is helping your clients with their marketing, and this goes beyond integrating marketing channels and improving databases. It includes selecting and tweaking the right offers, too.

When we think about deals, we think about discounts, but as reported in The Entrepreneur, double-blind studies have shown that consumers associate discounts with lower-performing products. So how can your customers offer deals without making themselves sound cheap?

The answer, according to researchers at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management, is to give people more “stuff” rather than offering a lower price.

As reported by The Economist:

Shoppers, [researchers] found, much prefer getting something extra free to getting something cheaper. The main reason is that most people are useless at fractions. Consumers often struggle to realize, for example, that a 50% increase in quantity is the same as a 33% discount in price. They overwhelmingly assume the former is better value. In an experiment, the researchers sold 73% more hand lotion when it was offered in a bonus pack than when it carried an equivalent discount (even after all other effects, such as a desire to stockpile, were controlled for).

Another study found that the same effect occurs when you offer free shipping.

Consumers are four to five times more likely to make a purchase if you offer free shipping. [In fact,] studies show that people are more likely to buy something at $5 with free shipping and pass it up at $2.50 with a $2.50 shipping fee.

Creating “deals” is all about the psychology, and for you, it gives you the opportunity to sell your A/B testing expertise! Try it...let me know what happens.

Heidi Tolliver-Walker Heidi is an industry analyst specializing in digital, one-to-one, personalized URL, and Web-to-print applications. Her Marketer’s Primer Series, availalbe through Digital Printing Reports, includes “Digital Printing: Transforming Business and Marketing Models,” 1:1 (Personalized) Printing: Boosting Profits Through Relevance,” “Personalized URLs: Beyond the Hype,” and “Web-to-Print: Transforming Document Management and Marketing.”

 

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