BOGOF (i.e. Buy One Get One Free) drives emotions, “50% Off” drives math calculations on the shop floor (or while browsing on the App). It doesn’t really take a genius to figure out which one will win! And yet, we are bombarded with not just 50% but many other numbers on SKUs, Banners, Hoardings, Digital Screens and every other possible touchpoint.

As in the words of Dan Ariely, the author of Predictably Irrational, “zero/free is a source of irrational excitement; it’s called the ‘zero price effect.'”  In one of Ariely’s studies, consumers were offered two options: to buy a Hershey Kiss chocolate – a common, inexpensive treat – for 1 cent or to buy a Lindt Truffle – a more refined and more expensive type of chocolate – for 15 cents. Given the quality of the products and the offer’s value, nearly 3 out of every 4 participants chose to buy the Lindt Truffle. In the next part of the experiment, the price of both items was reduced by 1 cent – the Lindt Truffle’s price was 14 cents and the Hershey Kiss was free. Within this model, 90% of participants opted for the free Hershey option, even though the price difference between the products was the same. The experiment proves that people do not simply set costs and benefits against each other but rather focus on acquiring a free product. This is exactly why BOGOF promotions are effective – the thought of getting something for free incentivizes customers to shop. The free item is often overvalued in their eyes, even when it is juxtaposed with a higher-quality product at a discounted price.

To give another example, a pack that says “100 Grams extra” is easier to understand for the shopper than “10% extra”. And studies have shown that a typical shopping decision is made between 3 to 7 seconds, so the easier to make the Path to Purchase the more conversions we will get.

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