3 Psychological Tricks to Price your Products So they seem like a Bloody Steal!

Have you ever visited a website or a store front for the first time, took one look at their services or products page and just couldn't stop yourself from shelling out pretty cash? The products arent anything out of ordinary, the price isn’t that great either but the goods…..well they just seem Oh-So- Irresistible. That’s some smart psychological pricing at work.

I am here to share with you 3 of the best psychological tricks that you can use for your own products. These tricks work on two levels; they make the potential buyer feel that the price is an absolute steal AND they make the products just seem like a better option compared to similar items in your store or elsewhere.

1. Prime ‘em Good Baby:

Priming is the process of exposing a person to subtle cues or context that can affect their behavior. Human beings are influenced way too much by what they see, read and go through and this influence impacts all aspects of their lives including their buying decisions.

The way it works in pricing is to rearrange your products in such a way that the most expensive offering appears first. This is similar to the concept of restaurants using an anchor dish in the menu, which is only meant to prime the buyer’s mind into expecting more large ticket items on the menu. When the rest of the items are lower (ideally much lower) than the primer, they seem like a better choice and therefore prompt buyers into looking at it as an irresistible offer.

Just be careful that your primer isn’t a complete doozy when compared to similar products elsewhere (read: don’t use instant oatmeal as a primer and price it as Swiss muesli harvested by Italian virgins) Remember People will always make comparisons, either against the alternatives you show them or with some external benchmark.

2. The Ugly Betty Effect:

This is a simple and profound hook that Dan Ariely in his awesome book Predictably Irrational talks about.

The idea is to offer three versions of the almost same product. One version in the Ugly Betty (cheap and barely functional) which no one wants or likes (side note: I completely LOVE America Ferrera but I digress). The remaining two options are set in such a way that one is purposely priced to be nauseatingly expensive so that the last option (and the one you REALLY want to sell) is the one that would be the natural choice for any rational human being.

The comparison is actually only between your version and the uber-expensive version, Ugly Betty is just a decoy which is meant to make your version seem like a steal and gives the buyer a feeling that he is making rational, well thought-out decision.

3. The Art of Discount and the Idiot Effect

Conventional logic tells us that things on discount are easier to sell. Haven’t you ever abandoned all logic, self-control and dignity when confronted with a sale sign? So it would make sense that any type of discount would make products irresistible. Right? Wrong!

A team of researchers, led by Akshay Rao of the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, looked at consumers’ attitudes to discounting and they found that people prefer getting something extra to getting something cheaper. The main reason is that most people are useless at fractions and mathematics and possibly life. So even though “Buy one get one free” or “50% off a bundle of items?” seem like the same thing to you, to most people, former is a better option.

And there you have it, 3 tricks to keep in mind when pricing your products so they seem irresistible. To sum up:

1. Employ the power of priming by using an overpriced (by your standards) item as an anchor or rearrange the products to have the more expensive ones appear first.

2. Apply the Ugly Betty effect by using a cheaper, unattractive but similar option next to the one you want to sell.

3. When offering discounts, try offering an add-on instead of a percentage off. Let your buyers save their precious grey matter for punching in the credit card information instead of doing fractions and percentages.

Want to know more creative, scientifically proven ways of getting inside other people’s heads so that they do your bidding? See Below 🙂


3 Product Pricing Psychology Tricks #onlinebusiness #sales #entrepreneur #businesstips #biztips3 Product Pricing Psychology Tricks


  1. Shannon Elhart on April 5, 2014 at 1:55 am

    Wonderful and so helpful – thank you very much!!!

    • bushra.a on April 7, 2014 at 1:26 pm

      Thanks so much Shannon!

  2. Lee Warren on April 10, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Help! I’m trying to join your list but I’m getting an error:
    “Too Many Signup Attempts for this Email Address.”

    Is there something wrong with your form’s html code? I tried a different email address also. Wanted to point it out to you so you’re not losing potential followers.

    You can sign me up manually if you want.



    • bushra.a on April 10, 2014 at 3:25 pm

      I m sorry you have had to go though this, I am aware that sometimes it gets wonky and have asked from support from hybrid connect. Thanks so much for being patient with this.

      I truly appreciate this Lee!

  3. Kamila Gornia on June 8, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    Question – for #2… would I combine #1 in it? So I would present the most expensive first and then the middle (one I wanna sell) and then the cheapest? Seems like #1 says one way and #2 says another way (order wise) – thoughts?

    • bushra.a on June 10, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      Hey Kamila

      The Ugly Betty is just meant to delude people into thinking they have a choice, where in reality there really isn’t a choice. It doesn’t really matter where you position Ugly Betty (start , middle or end) because its existence is only as a decoy.
      Priming on the other hand is meant to set the mental barrier higher so when three packages are shown as 999, 799 and 599, the mere presence of 999 at the start primes the buyer’s mind into expecting a higher price and 599 then seems like a bloody steal 😉

      Hope this makes it clearer.

      Love to see you around 🙂

  4. […] are inherently programmed to compare prices. If you place a $20 T-shirt next to one that costs $50, it is instantly clear which one is more […]

  5. Adriana on January 27, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    Loooooove your practical advice, Bushra!

  6. Elna on February 5, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    What about courses on Teachable? A lot of solopreneurs only have one package price and then a payment plan? Do you find this way of presenting a price effective?

    Right now I have three prices, but want to try having one price and then one payment plan. Thoughts?

  7. […] is what I call an Ugly Betty on my website. It is the product which is just there to make your low price product look cheaper […]

  8. […] For best results you can make categories of offerings based on the problem they solve, chunk your offerings underneath and then use these nifty little tricks to price them so they seem like a bloody steal! […]

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