Fake discounts, and how to make your pricing more believable

Pizza Pizza doesn’t want you to know this

A secret agent I know once had a job taking calls for Pizza Pizza. At the risk of a potentially fatal and almost certainly painful corporate takedown, I’m going to reveal a secret about the cheese + tomato empire.

The “regular price” is never the price.

Pizza Pizza has a standard list of package deals that get re-packaged to suit the promotion of the moment.

An example. The “2 medium pizzas, 4 sodas and a funnel cake” deal might be repurposed as the “Super Bowl 7” in winter, and the “Easter Pizza-ganza” in spring.

Everyone loves a deal.

When sales pages get sales-y

It’s hard to make deals convincingly on a sales pages. If you buy or sell info products, you know what I’m talking about.

Those pages where you have to scroll through a long pitch about bonuses, features and value-adds, before getting to this:

Your price: $500. Valued at: $20,000.

Yeah, right.

And my pizza deal is actually worth $185.

If you multiply [your hourly rate] x [the time it takes to prep dinner], you could probably make a case for this. But everyone knows pizza doesn’t cost $185.

It’s called context. And without it, “regular price” or “valued at” is not believable.

Another example.

You’re browsing the web on your lunch break, shopping for an all-purpose bag for work. In your heart, you already know what you want: Saddleback.

Saddleback Leather stakes their reputation on being expensive-but-worth-it. You’ve been to their site before, and you’ve seen your friends tooling around in their smooth-as-butter belts and purses.

You also know that their classic briefcase runs at about $600. That’s your frame of reference.

So when you find a recently-discontinued leather satchel at $200, your circuits start firing.

“A deal! It’s not quite what I wanted, but look! I could own a Saddleback bag for $200!”

Hook. Line. Sinker.

(I know this because the women in my family are incapable of discussing their latest purchase without opening with “well the regular price was…”)

Adding value and bonuses to a sales page

How does this translate to your business?

If you’re going to discount your prices, there needs to be some context. Otherwise, it sounds sales-y and turns people off.

I recently bought an info product for $2000 USD (approximately $80,000 CAD, with the exchange rate).

I bought it through an affiliate who was offering a bonus valued at $750. After months of being on the fence about this product (years, if I’m being honest), I pulled out my credit card with gusto.

This bonus was already on my wishlist. I was already saving for it. To me, it represented a huge value add. It wasn’t a randomly inflated number to make me think I was getting a deal. It was an actual number already in my frame of reference.

It was a price I could actually see myself paying. And that there is the sweet spot of the “value-add”.

So think:

What do your customers already want? What services do they already pay for and attach a dollar value to? What products or services are they already shopping for that you might be able to give away at no extra cost to you? 

If you can’t think of anything, skip the discount and charge what you product or service is really worth.

Over to you.

What does “valued at” mean to you?

When do the words “regular price” or “suggested retail value” actually resonate with you?

How much added value and bonuses can you handle before the discount loses its luster?

For me, the answer is “would I conceivably pay that price for it?” If it’s a yes, there’s a much greater chance I’ll warm up my credit card to buy it.

 

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  • Tarzan, I’ve always been a “sales’ shopper. In all but extreme cases, it has to be on sale or I won’t buy it! Has it gotten me into trouble? You bet! Buying things that were ‘close enough’ because the price was better usually ended up in buyer’s remorse and no recourse when the item was ‘final sale’! After the item hanging or sitting in my closet, creating feelings of guilt every time I looked at it, the item was shipped off to the consignment store or charity…of course, now out of date and out of fashion.

    One store that I purchase clothes at rarely DOES NOT have a sale. If I want something specific, I’ll wait for a sale, which should come around in a week or so!

    Regular retail price or suggested manufacturer’s price seems to be an arbitrary number that someone created (likely based on a cost-benefit analysis) that is the price that the company thinks the consumer will pay.

  • Tarzan Kay

    It’s such a thrill to get something on sale, I totally agree! My favourite clothing store is the opposite of yours – they almost NEVER have sales. Their competitors often get my money but never my loyalty. And when my favourite store DOES have something on sale I need to be dragged out by the collar or else I’ll buy up the whole store.