Introduction

It is impossible to imagine modern life without numbers. We are born with a certain birth date, we live in a particular apartment with a number, and we see the price tag on attractive items in the store.

Price perception is a subject of much research among top professionals in the retail trade and online commerce. It is strongly associated with the influence that numbers have over the minds of ordinary consumers. A simple example allows one to understand the psychological meaning behind certain numbers.

Content:

The psychological meaning of “9’s”

Psychological pricing deals mostly with the conventional pattern of a visual representation of price tags. Experts claim that consumers tend to perceive a significant drop in price when a price tag ends with 99 cents or $9. So, if you change your pricing from $35 to $39, you may see a dramatic change in the number of orders.

Shoppers consider the items at these prices to be much cheaper than they actually are. Another research article claims that it is easier to sell products priced at $39 than at $35, $36 or $37. The magic around the number 9 allows merchants to skyrocket their number of orders in no time. You can find this approach in action at all kinds of shops, ranging from the moguls, like Amazon, to the smallest shops somewhere in Eastern Europe.

Yet the single magical number “9” will not help you outperform major competitors. Let us clarify whether numbers actually matter in decision-making or if they take secondary role in it. Are consumers rational or are they influenced by gender, mood and cultural background? A solid understanding of numbers and their influence is complex, yet very crucial for any marketer. Recent findings describe the way people perceive numbers as well as prices in daily life:

  • Larger numbers convey a positive message
  • First impressions count
  • A discount is a major decision-maker
  • Math can be used against consumers

What is the way to turn the knowledge into practice?

You certainly want your customers to purchase more. Let the numbers help you with that task. Recent studies reveal that number psychology works “against” customers and influences them to make an unplanned purchase.

Larger numbers = better deals

Multiple research studies stress people’s sensitivity to large sizes. People tend to rely on the deals with larger numbers, which make them think they are getting more value the product. The larger the quantity (when seconds replace minutes and grams replace kilograms), the more profitable the deal seems.

Anchor prices highlight bargains

Influential and effective, anchor prices can be a universal problem solver for any brand. When merchants put together two items – one which is extremely overpriced, and the other with an ordinary price – the latter seems to be a very attractive option. People perceive it as a real bargain that is worth the money. Anchoring also matters in terms of the perception of larger numbers. E.g. when you put the beneficial item first (65 candles for $35) online shoppers will find the item more attractive (as compared to $35 for 65 candles).

Discounted pricing is enough to close a deal

The majority of online searchers react to price reductions. They tend to track coupons, discounts and promotions and buy the products with the reduced prices. The mere feeling that the consumer is close to a deal influences the purchase decision better than anything else does.

Discounts can turn a rational searcher into an illogical creature. However, it is essential to offer a discount only if you have the ability to make a profit out of it. Otherwise, you will not be able to make a profit out of every deal.

Poor mathematicians are easy to influence

The influence of shortcuts can be crucial for acquiring more customers with poor mathematical abilities. Difficult calculations and complicated shortcuts greatly influence decision-making, while they present prices in a non-straightforward way. Replace a standard “per item” value with a more sophisticated “number of items for $” to trigger the desire to make a successful deal.

One can offer tiered pricing that offers discounts for different quantities of products a consumer buys. That approach helps to make the most of existing customers, motivating them to purchase more.

There is no resisting the right choice of numbers

Clever marketing can help reach every customer and please all of them with a sweet bargain. Psychological influence puts merchants in control of the situation:

  • Creates motivation
  • Promotes urgency
  • Stimulates sales

It is a win-win game–both for merchants and customers. Your customers love discounts, coupons, BFCM deals, Christmas sales and so on. They want to have the confidence that the price they are getting is the best offer from your brand. Add the necessary value, play with numbers and take control of what you want to sell – but appeal to your customers’ senses, handle their emotions and let misleading calculations work for your brand.