Here is just a small collection of images to demonstrate the point here-
Every time I walk past the huge Laura Ashley in my local town, they always seem to have some kind of offer or sale on. My mum always makes comments ‘ooh look Laura Ashley have a sale AGAIN’ and it does seem a bit odd. Yet my Nan has a different reaction is ‘oh look Laura Ashley has a sale on, brilliant, I must have a look in there” and funnily enough she always exits the shop with a new purchase.
That’s when I started to figure it out why they do it. These sales imply that the products are worth more than they are currently being sold for which creates a favourable comparison. As a result, customers think that they are getting a good deal, when actually they are just buying a product for the price that it was always intended to be sold at.
Furthermore, by advertising the sale is only on for a ‘limited time’ suggests that the prices will not always be cheap, leading you to feel you should buy it now when the product is at a reduced price. This leads you to be more likely to make a decision based on heuristics (Kahneman, 2011) rather than basing your decision on more important factors that require greater information processing, such as the quality of the item or even if you really need it and so you are more likely, as a result, to end up making a purchase (Iyer, 1989).
Top Tip- if a place always has a sale on, maybe take a minute to think about it logically before getting so excited over the ‘price reductions’ and ‘potential bargains’ … would you buy it at that price if it was not advertised as sale?
Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, fast and slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Iyer, E. S. (1989). Unplanned purchasing: Knowledge of shopping environment and time pressure. Journal of retailing, 65, 40-57.