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The Psychology of

Which digits? How high? Should it be rounded? A checklist of pricing tactics.


$15 vs placeholder for a comparison

Prices are Compared to Other Numbers

You evaluate prices by comparing them to other numbers (e.g., past prices, competitors, adjacent numbers).


Fingers squeezing visually small price

Show Prices in Small Fonts

Customers equate visual size with numerical size.

Price tag with emphasis in top and left sections

Position Prices Near the Top or Left

Prices seem cheaper in different locations, particularly toward the top and left.

Comma crossed out in $1,500

Remove Commas From Prices

$1500 seems cheaper than $1,500

The word "low" (from low maintenance) being grouped with a price

Place “Small” Words Near the Price

Insert words that depict a small size (e.g., “low,” “small,” “tiny”).

Two tee-shirts being sold for $25

Insert Alliteration into the Price

Customers were more likely to buy two t-shirts for $25 because of the matching “t” sounds.

A promotion of 3 pizzas with 5 toppings for $15

Show Two Multiples of the Price Nearby

Something will "feel right" about the price.

Price tag with price in red font being shown to man

Display Red Prices to Men

Men make decisions quickly, and they assume that red prices indicate savings.

A wine bottle with a price tag. A bad application shows an enlarged $20, whereas a good application shows the word "Wine" enlarged with a visually small $20

Deemphasize the Price of Emotional Products

Emotional products have strong benefits, but weak economic value. Orient customers toward the benefits instead of the price.

Donate 29 to feed children

Remove the Currency Symbol When Possible

Removing this symbol reduces the pain of paying.


Join 5,487 customers

Expose People to Any High Number

Nearby numbers influence the reference price.

Original price of $50, followed by sale price of $25

Place a Larger Number on the Left

Customers can subtract these numbers more easily, which makes the difference seem larger.

Three items priced in order from highest to lowest

Show Higher Prices First

Customers choose a more expensive option when you sort prices from high to low.

Two pricing plans: $49 and $99. The $99 plan has a more vibrant background.

Distinguish the Most Expensive Option

Customers evaluate this product first, which inflates their reference price.

$65 blender next to similar $85 blender

Offer a Similar (Yet Expensive) Version

A similar, yet more expensive version of your product will make your existing product seem more appealing.

$50 with "or $1.60 / day" nearby

Mention the Daily Equivalence

Customers compare this daily value to a reference price, so it feels like a better deal.

$500 fitness gym being bundled with $5 fitness DVD

Don't Bundle Cheap and Expensive Items

Customers focus on the average, rather than the sum.

Cash turning into credit card

Create a Payment Medium

You can transform the payment into a separate medium (e.g., monthly credits, gift cards).

Bundle of salad and cupcake with $1 discount on cupcake

Attribute Discounts to Emotional Products

We want to buy emotional products, but we need justification.

Charged on Monday for benefits received later in the week

Charge Customers Before They Consume

Paying beforehand helps numb the pain of paying because customers can look forward to the benefits.

$15 tee-shirt with $1.80 for materials, $1.42 for manufacturing, $2.03 for shipping

Describe the Costs of Your Product

Customers prefer prices that are determined by material costs, rather than supply and demand.

Starting budget early in month for purchase later in month

Encourage Customers to Budget Early

Early budgeting pushes you further away from this initial money, reducing the pain of paying from these funds.

Woman returning a product, and she's more likely to spend the money she receives back.

Apply Refunds or Savings Toward Purchases

These sources bypass the pain of paying.



Reduce the Left Digit By One

Use “charm” prices (e.g., $2.99, $49.95) to reduce the left digit as much as possible.

$28.16 has 5 syllables ("twenty-eight sixteen")

Choose Prices With Fewer Syllables

Subconsciously, phonetic size feels like numerical size.

$5, plus $2 fee

Divide Price Into Smaller Units

“Partitioned prices” are usually more persuasive.

$365,478 seems smaller than $365,000

Be Precise With Large Prices

Highly precise numbers feel smaller.

$62 with the 6 pushing attention toward the 2

Place Low Numerals After Right-Facing Digits

Right-facing digits push your attention toward adjacent digits. If these digits are low, you round down.

$55 for a person named Fred whose birthday is February 5, 1984

Tailor Prices Toward Names or Birthdays

Customers prefer prices that contain the same letters in their name or birthday.

Wine bottle for $20

Use Round Prices in the Right Context

Round prices (e.g., $50) are easier to process than specific prices (e.g., $49.63), so they work better in certain scenarios.

Two similar candies. One priced at $2.95, while the other is priced at $2.93

Add Slight Price Differences in Your Assortment

The choice becomes slightly easier, nudging customers to choose an option.

Year 1 is $80, year 2 is $82, year 3 is $84

Raise Your Prices in Small Increments

Use frequent (yet smaller) price changes. Avoid waiting until the moment of desperation.

$3 box of fries where price stays $3, but the box gets smaller

Downsize Features Besides Price

You can change prices without changing the numerals.

Tax of $2.00 brings total price to $51.95

Set Prices Above Round Numbers to Boost Sales of Upgrades

It feels easier to spend money when prices surpass a round number ($51.95).


$50 original price with $25 sale price that has different font and color

Make Sale Prices Look Different From Original Prices

Your brain misattributes the visual difference to a numerical difference.

$50 original price with $25 sale price spaced apart

Add Space Between Discounted Prices

A visual gap makes the numerical gap seem larger.

$50 original price above $25 sale price

Place Sale Prices Below Original Prices

Vertical numbers are easier to subtract because of the digit-by-digit comparison.

$465 original price with $350 sale price because each digit in the sale price is lower than the respective digit in the original price

Reduce Every Digit in the Discounted Price

If your price is $465, aim for a discounted price across every digit.


Offer Discounts With Low Right Digits

The difference between $22 and $23 seems more significant than $28 and $29

Above $100? Discount by absolute amounts. Below $100? Discount by percentages.

Give Percentage Discounts for Prices Below $100

Below $100? Give a percentage discount (20% off). Above $100? Give an absolute discount ($20 off).

Was 25% higher

Mention the Increase From the Discounted Price

"Was 25% higher" is more persuasive than an equivalent discount of "20% off."

Price tag with "clearance"

Provide a Reason for the Discount

Customers should believe that your discount is temporary so that this lower price doesn't become a new permanent reference price.

$25 off

Offer Discounts in Round Numbers

Round numbers seem larger.

20% off than an extra 10% off

Give Two Discounts in Ascending Order

Two discounts feel better than one.

Discounts at end of calendar month

Offer Discounts Toward the End of the Month

Discounts are more effective toward the ends of months because people have depleted their monthly budgets, and they are seeking ways to save money.

$5 off $20 then $10 off $50, then $25 off $150, then $50 off $200

Arrange Discounts in Tiered Amounts

Reaching one threshold makes it easier to enter another threshold.

Discounts transitioning from 30% to 20% to 10%

End Discounts Gradually

Gradually retracting a discount boosts sales.

Don't offer an expensive watch on sale

Don’t Discount Premium Products

Emphasize the the quality of your product instead.