One way to save money is to understand how retailers work. They want to tempt you to spend more money, but not necessarily by getting you to buy the highest-priced product. Instead, they have a high-priced item available so that the medium-priced item looks like a great deal.
Recently, a client asked me to buy an iPad for multimedia project. I started looking for a bargain, and then, I got paralyzed at checkout. The specs called for at least an iPad 2 with 16 gigs of storage, but then I started thinking – maybe I really want a 3rd gen, as it’s in between the 2nd and the 4th. Maybe I want 32 gigs – it’s more expensive than the 16 gigs, but it might be more useful, and it’s still cheaper than a 64 gig, yes?
But here’s the thing: until that moment, I did not want an iPad. I am perfectly happy with a netbook and a smartphone. I was buying one because a very good client requested it to use on a project that paid well, and the minimum specification was iPad 2, 16 gigs. And 16 gigs is an astonishing amount of storage, unless you’re also storing music and RAW photos.
Apple was pulling the oldest trick in the retail world: anchor pricing. Have a low, medium, and high-priced product, and people will go for the medium one (almost) every time. The higher price becomes the anchor that we compare the lower prices to. Put a high-priced entree and wine on the menu, and customers will move up from the cheap food and drink to the mid-priced items. After all, no one wants to seem cheap, even those who are trying to save money.
That’s why Kohl’s is always having a sale, and JCPenney’s one-price strategy failed. Even though we know that Kohl’s is always having a sale, seeing that the shirt that’s “regularly priced” at $40 is available for $25 makes it seem satisfying. We know that $25 is a better price than $40, so it seems like a better deal, even if Penney’s was selling a similar shirt at the everyday low price of $24.
I wised up. I bought the iPad 2 16 gig refurb, and it’s fine, and the client will be happy and so will my husband when the project is over and he gets the machine.
And, it is hoped that you will wise up, too. If you want the cheap entree, get that. If you want an MP3 player for working out, don’t buy 32 gigs! And remember: Kohl’s is always having a sale.