Ever see something on sale that, for one reason or another, you just didn't end up buying?
Maybe you thought, “Well, I should check AliExpress and see if I can get this cheaper.”
Maybe you were a few days shy of your next payday and didn't want to spend the money yet.
Either way, there's a good chance you never did buy that thing you were looking at.
It's called “inaction inertia.”
It's the force behind things like abandoned online shopping carts.
Paradoxically, if people do buy during a sale, they'll end up spending more and buying more things.
People are weird like that.
This psychological effect is something ecommerce entrepreneurs should take into account when deciding whether to offer products on sale or at a discount.
Strategies like building buzz before the sale starts can help you mitigate inaction inertia and ultimately make more sales.
In a recent post from Hubspot, contibutor Greg Wise explains how to apply this to your own online store.
Understanding inaction inertia is one thing. Figuring out how to apply this to your ecommerce business is another.
After all, discounts and sales are simply a part of the game, right?
You don’t want to stall sales forever on a particular product after it has been offered for a steep discount.
First, discounts might only be applied to products you really need to move.
If you want to clear inventory to make way for new items, that means you really don’t have any intention of returning the prices back to normal.
In fact, you hope there are no products left to price at all.
If this is the case, you don’t need to worry about setting your price too low, because your goal isn’t to raise awareness of the product; it’s to simply get rid of it.
Instead of slapping the lowest possible price on the items and calling it a day, you might think about a pricing strategy that still helps you build some excitement around the sale.
Start with a 10% discount to get people interested.
You’ll move some products right away, but eventually the hype will die down.
At that point, lower the price by 25%. Again, the products will start moving as news spreads about the great deal you’re offering.
At some point, you’ll be left with only a few, and those last products on the shelf will seem the hardest to move.
This is when you pull out the big guns and drop that price to the rock bottom.
See, if you’d done so from the beginning, all the furor would have died down while you still had way too many items in stock, and you’d have had nowhere else to go.
Pricing for Attention
If you really want to draw attention to your company or specific products, a discount might seem like a great idea.
Just remember, if you introduce an item at one price and raise that amount later, your sales are likely to stall immediately. That’s why “introductory offers” rarely work well for the ecommerce company using them.
Instead, you may consider offering different versions of the products as an introduction.
For instance, if you’re a beauty product company, introduce your lotions and cleansers in smaller bottles at lower prices in order to capture the attention of buyers.
Then, when the introductory period is over, sell full-size bottles at the full price.
Because the sizes are different, buyers won’t hold the lower prices in their heads against you.
If you understand the limitations of inaction inertia, you can actually use the principle to your benefit. What other ways could you use pricing strategies that won’t paralyze buyers?
You can learn more about the psychology behind consumer behavior over at Hubspot.