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Pricing strategy: The cents matter

Do consumers really read a price from left to right? Or does reading prices work the same as reading words, with a fixation on the middle? An interesting eye-tracking study was done, and this is what came out. Plus a nice example from Rituals.

When we see a price, we first look slightly to the left of the center at the price, then to the left and then to the right as often as to the left. And this finding is at least as striking: Consumers pay as much attention to cents as to euros.

Okay and what does this mean? For example, with this Rituals package for € 25.90 you first see 25, then 2 and then our eyes go to the left as often as to the right. And we look at both the cents and the euros.

It is often thought that consumers read from left to right, paying little attention to the part after the decimal point, but that is not true. A €2.99 chocolate bar seemed to be smart marketing, because we would barely see the cents and in our interpretation it would cost €2, but in reality it would cost €3. But now it has been shown that those cents do matter indeed.

And now? This is valuable information to use when determining and visualizing prices as part of your marketing strategy, so take advantage of it.

Research: 'How Do Consumers Read and Encode a Price?' from Journal of Consumer Research.