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Price Insensitivity Priming

If you sell a high-quality product, chances are there are cheaper knockoffs fighting for your customers. These companies don’t stand strong in terms of quality.

But, and this is the rub, with online shopping, shoppers don’t realize poor quality till they’ve placed the order. It’s only when they receive their order at home that they realize they were being penny-wise but pound-foolish.

Solution 1: Knockoff the Knockoff

One option is to make a cheaper alternative to the cheap knockoff. That’s a pretty expensive approach (it takes a long time to develop a new product), it may be against your ethos if you are focused on top quality, and you may end up fighting a losing battle.

Solution 2: Use Psychology

Luckily, psychology can help you here. You can use proven principles of psychology to make your shopper less price sensitive. What?? Yup, it’s totally possible. You’ll need to use a technique called priming.

What is Priming?

We like this Wikipedia definition: Priming is a phenomenon whereby exposure to one stimulus influences a response to a subsequent stimulus, without conscious guidance or intention.

Simply, priming is a way to condition your site visitor.

How Does One Make a Site Visitor Less Price Sensitive?

Here is our idea: show this banner message on your landing page. Notice the floating element on top of the page. This is a made-up example for LifeSource Water (not a client, yet). We’re showing it to illustrate how you can use priming. We added the red band with 3 buttons (click to zoom👇):

You can use Priming to make online shoppers LESS price sensitive.
I know it sounds like magic. It isn’t.


Survey: when making a purchase what do you care about the most? [Price] [Quality] [A Balance of Price & Quality]

Guess which option shoppers will pick?

They will click [A Balance of Price & Quality] every single time.

Why? Because the marketer is forcing the visitor to rationally think about the choice. And rationally, [A Balance of Price & Quality] is always the best option.

But by picking [A Balance of Price & Quality] the shopper has, at the moment of entry, cast their vote and declared that a balance of price & quality is what they seek. Now when they go to the product page and see a price higher than they originally expected there will be a new voice in their head that will say: “didn’t we just agree that we’re looking for a balance between price and quality?”

And that will make the visitor slow down on the product page and learn more about the product. That’s pretty much all the marketer can do. At that point, the product needs to take over and convince the shopper.

Like this Priming example?

Good, in that case, we have 3 more articles to share:

About Frictionless Commerce

We’ve been thinking about online buyer psychology for the last 14 years. Why do online shoppers behave the way they do? Does a product that is objectively better than the competition always win or does buyer perception matter most? We’ve learned some fascinating truths: Marketing Secrets.


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