Evidence shows that consumers are more likely to buy a product with an odd number at the end of its price, but does this make them unwitting victims of psychological pricing?
It’s my belief that this particular price tag encourages people to overspend, as they grab one 99-pence or 99-cent bargain after another in a frenzy of buying. In other words, marketing strategists have conditioned consumers so effectively that they can no longer perceive there is only one tiny coin’s difference between 99 pence and £1.00, or 99 cents and $1.00.
The ludicrousness of this becomes all the more clear when you look at larger purchases. For example, if you wanted to buy a dishwasher in the UK and one cost £299 while the other cost £300, a customer looking for a bargain would most likely pick the cheaper one, even if the £300 one was a better product and cost only £1 more. Even sillier would be the customer who fell for a tag of £299.99 and thought they had a bargain!
Did you know that originally 99 pence/cents price tags were used to prevent cashiers from pocketing pounds/dollars? In other words, if a customer paid .99 for an item, the cashier would have to open the register and give back some change.
I’ll move on to a product close to my heart. Books. When did anyone ever give you a book token ending in .99, and yet most books are priced ending .99?
As a Kindle Direct Publishing author, I’m actively encouraged to sell my books in increments ending with .99, with the sweet point for my length novels at £1.99 ($2.99), which will earn me roughly 70% royalties. It will also entitle me to run countdown deals for one week in every 90-day cycle, during which the starting point is .99 pence/cents but the royalties stay at 70%. The alternative is to opt for fixing your price at somewhere between 99 pence (cents) and £1.98 ($2.98) all the time and earning 35% royalties.
By now, you have probably gathered that I’m sick of .99, which is why I’m passing up the opportunity of the Kindle Countdown Deal to which I’m presently entitled, in favour of offering my two crossover novels at £1.00/$1.00 each for a whole month on amazon.co.uk and amazon.com until the end of January. Please note that I’ve also adjusted the tags down to bargain prices ending in zero on all the other Amazon marketplaces, so nobody feels left out.
Wishing you all a Happy New Year 🙂