Identifying the Decoy

Are you really in control of your buying decisions or are you being tricked by a psychological pricing strategy?
coffee cups

There are so many fascinating marketing techniques that are designed to steer us in certain directions without us even realizing it. One such technique is referred to as the “decoy effect” and it’s incredibly effective!

The decoy effect is best described as the process of how, when consumers are choosing between two products, their preferences are changed when a third, less attractive option (the decoy) is added to the mix.

This decoy effect often causes us to purchase the more expensive choice because our decisions are usually based on what appears to be a bargain rather than what actually suits our needs.

For example, if you’re ordering coffee and you have to choose between a small, medium or large, you’ll notice that the medium-sized coffee (the decoy) often costs almost as much as the large.

Based on this, most people opt for the large simply because it appears to be the better deal. If, however, they were given only two choices (small vs. large), most would have chosen the small-sized coffee.

The decoy effect isn’t just used for coffee though. You’ll notice it when buying anything from popcorn to cars. So how can we avoid falling for this trick? Simply being aware is half the battle but it’s also important to focus on the reasons for our purchase ahead of time so we don’t get nudged in the wrong direction.

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