How to make sale pricing work better
Sales & Marketing

How to make sale pricing work better

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Ever wondered if those sales using $X.99 prices are really worth the hassle? Spoiler alert: they are, but there’s a twist.

💡 Before we dive in, here's a griddle quiz demo from this past Memorial Day. Try the quiz here to see what recommendation you get. I made it with our Shopify quiz app for some marketing inspiration. Ok, onto this week's insight! 👇


Here's the quick and dirty: use that $X.99 pricing magic when you’re running promotions and make sure to show the original price too. For example, "was $9.50, now only $7.99!" This trick makes the discount look bigger, especially for casual shoppers.

Why it works 🤔

When we see prices like $8.00 vs. $6.99, our brains perceive a bigger difference than $8.01 vs. $7.00, even though the discount is the same. This is because we focus on the left-most digits. The research shows that when the original and discounted prices are displayed together, the just-below pricing feels like a better deal.

Examples & evidence 📊

  • Jars of jam were tested at $2.99 (originally $4) and $3.00 (originally $4.01). People rated the $2.99 price as 15% lower.
  • A set of prices showed larger perceived discounts when the original and sale prices were side by side.
  • This effect is stronger for casual buyers of items like ketchup or dish detergent versus regular buyers who might not be as easily swayed.

What to watch out for ⚠️

This trick mainly works for items under $10 and casual buyers. If you’re selling high-end products or targeting your loyal customers, they’re more likely to notice that $1,399 isn’t much different from $1,400.

How to do it ✅

  1. Audit your prices: Check your current promotions. Are you highlighting the original price alongside the discounted one?
  2. End with $X.99: Make sure your discount prices end in $X.99 and show the original price right next to it.
  3. Test & learn: Try this approach with different product categories and see what works best for you. It might not be as effective for high-ticket items, so experiment with caution.

So, ready to make your discounts as irresistible as a double rainbow? Give this $X.99 pricing strategy a spin and watch your sales climb!

Catch you next week with more quick tips to boost your marketing mojo.

Want to learn more? 🤓

If you want to learn more about this topic, you can dig into the nerdy details in the original marketing study.

Quote of the week 💬

"The moment you make a mistake in pricing, you're eating into your reputation or your profits."

- Katharine Paine

About the author
Gabriel Mays, the Co-Founder and CEO of POPSMASH
Gabriel A. Mays
Gabriel Mays' Website
Co-Founder & CEO at POPSMASH
Before POPSMASH, Gabe was a Director at GoDaddy and founded two startups. He was also a Marine Corps Captain, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. He lives with his wife and two kids on Cape Cod, MA.

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