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Why you need a ‘price vocabulary’

Stephen Chambers

‘Price vocabulary’ is a coded pricing system that US stores such as Costco use to convey secret messages to shoppers, explains Utpal Dholakia, writing for Harvard Business Review.

For example, when the warehouse giant puts a price tag on an item ending in $.99, it indicates that this is the usual price for that product and there’s no discount attached. Switch that to $.97 and you are telling savvy customers that the item is on special offer, possibly at the end of a season or to speed up slow sales. 

Likewise, tags with prices ending in $.00 or $.88, an asterisk, a colour or a date code, each have their own specific, unadvertised, meanings.

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