The Advantage of Optics
According to research by Coulter and Norberg (2009), consumers are more likely to purchase discounted items when they perceive those discounts as bigger, merely because of the visual separation between the “before” and “after” prices. Somehow, this horizontal distance results in consumers perceiving the discount as larger compared to a similar discount where the numbers are closer together (Coulter and Norberg, 2009). An earlier study by Coulter and Coulter in 2005 showed that this effect is also observed when there is a difference in font size between the standard and sale price.
Imagine a price tag listing a discount. To the left, the words: “ BEFORE” and “$20” right beside it. To the right, the words: “AFTER” and “$10” right beside it, with ample room in between the two statements. According to Coulter & Norberg (2009), are you likely to buy the item in comparison to a sale tag where the standard price and discount and close enough to link arms? Yes. Yes you are.
Cover one side of the tag and evaluate the number alone. Is it really good deal?