Small Business Marketing News

Draw Consumer Spending With Prices That Sound Cheap

Written by Jenna Weiner
Published: 1/18/2010

The results of a new study suggest consumers think they get a bigger discount when numbers literally sound small.

In light of waning consumer confidence, small business owners might be well-advised to offer clients prices that sound fair. It may be good news for entrepreneurs that this does not necessarily mean lowering prices. As the New York Times points out, SMB owners just need to offer prices that literally sound like a good deal.

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According to the source, a soon-to-be-published study from researchers at Clark University and the University of Connecticut shows that vowels formed at the front of the mouth (like the "ee" in three) bring to mind small sizes. On the other hand, vowels formed at the back of the mouth (like the "o" in two) make people think of large sizes.

Marketers can use this information to make consumers think they are getting a bigger discount. Overwhelmingly, participants thought products with "small-sounding" sales prices (like $2.33) were bigger deals than even less expensive sale priced items with "big-sounding" prices (like $2.22).

This could be a useful strategy for small businesses to draw consumer spending in trying times. According to the Conference Board's most recent Consumer Confidence Survey, the percentage of Americans who think business conditions are good decreased to 7.0 percent and those who think conditions are bad increased to 44.5 percent last month.

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