The Science of Discounts

Raffy Wolfe Shopper Psychology Leave a Comment


This is a word that instantly brings sparkle to the eyes of a crowd of buyers causing intense change in their behavior, a couple of boosted hormones as an initiation to the process of your transaction.

When it comes to creating discounts that will trigger buying behavior, setting up sale prices is equal parts psychology and marketing presentation skills. So, the question is how can smart retailers move merchandise by appealing to the human psyche and how can they influence the customer’s behavior to favor their business?

There are innumerable strategies used in promotions. Listed below are some of the most commonly used types. Your primary goal is to gain insights into which of these drive sales with your particular customer base. If you must, experiment with each until you find the lift you’re looking for. Trying everything can also help you identify which works the best, suits your business and provide your ideal results.

Percentage Reduction

This is likely the discount type you’ve seen most often, and it can be applied to a specific product or your entire store. For example, get $50 or 50% off. This is also one of the most effective types because the shoppers are encouraged to buy (even more than they ought to) because of the reduced prices of the goods. It also causes a panic buying mindset to the customers. This leads them to buy and buy and buy.

“Buy one, Get one FREE”

This can be used to encourage shoppers to consider additional items in your store. For example, you can advertise “Buy one, get 50% off the second” or “Buy one, get one free.”

Bundle sale

Tempt shoppers to buy multiple items in order to unlock this promotion type. This works best on smaller ticket items. For example, buy five items and get the sixth for free. This can help encourage impulse purchases, and helps increase the average sale amount per transaction.

Rewards for a purchase

Shoppers love freebies. If they’re on the fence about a purchase, or if they’re choosing deciding between you and a competitor, a free gift might be just the push they need to purchase. Providing a more favorable reward can give you an edge to be chosen by consumers.


In this scenario, the saving occurs after the initial purchase and is decided by the shopper. Although the barrier to savings is higher, this works well on higher-ticket items, if the discount is worth it.

Testing variations of the above discounts can be costly. Keep your eye on profit margins and ensure you’re comfortable crunching the numbers. Engage with everything only when necessary prevent this from causing excessive expenses or it might leave you with loss of significant assets.

Now, you might be thinking why do discounts work?  Well, business is a persuasion game. People invest their money but also they are looking for the best deal that they could ever find. And because people love free items so much, they will also consider anything that can be as closer to being free.

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