The nudge report: A new marketing exploit being tested in retail

On a stroll through Soho, I noticed an unusual sale sign. It wasn’t your typical “40% off!” or “End of year sale!” promising deep discounts on already marked-up products. It was actually the opposite. Yes, it was price anchoring high, but in the most direct way possible:

$75 and under. Not $75 and over. The sign lists the highest price you’ll pay. By anchoring high, the sign is nudging you to spend at least $75 per item. Versus a sign listing the lowest sale price e.g. “99¢ and up”, which nudges you to expect to only pay that bottom price. This bifurcation in price anchoring indicates target market segmentation. The low anchor marketing is for low price, high volume businesses, whereas the high price anchor is likely for high price, low volume businesses. This sign was in front of Athleta, so targeting somewhere between the Under Armor and Lululemon athleisure segments.

It’s a creative new tact, but it utterly failed to entice me. I suppose I’ve been exposed to 40% of Banana Republic signs for all of my independent shopping life, so my brain is primed towards that particular bug. I give this social nudge 2 out of 5 stars. High marks on creative experimentation, low marks on efficacy on an audience of one.

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