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People think an item is way cheaper when priced at $9.99 rather than $10.

Psychology of retail pricing, 9.99, 99 cents, $10, buying, shopping studies, 9.99 pricetag, sale and discount signs

Photo from Photoxpress

Price tags ending with .99 rule the stores. They are prevalent wherever you shift your view. Ever wonder why retailers do that? And you can expect certain category of products and services with price ending in 0, like $10 or $400. Even the emission of the comma in 1200 is a result of pricing studies.

9.99s

9 has a pricing power. Any item that ends with .99 speaks out “great value”, “sale” and “discount”. Buyers think that it’s the lowest price it could ever have.

People round $9.99 as $9 instead of $10. Researchers call this the left-digit effect. Everybody that has a brain is susceptible to think that way because that’s just how human minds work. And we are more led to round prices on the left digit because we see .99 innumerable times.

William Poundstone on his book Priceless analyzed eight different studies on .99 prices and found that sales increase by 24% on .99 prices compared to the 10s. Kenneth J. Wisniewski from the University of Chicago conducted another study at a local grocery chain:  sales of margarine increased by 65% when price was dropped from 89 cents to 71 cents; but it increased by 222% when dropped to 69 cents!

People buy more when the price ends with 9. That’s why we see a lot of .99s.

10s

A tipped polo from Neiman Marcus is priced at $150, while a Dolce & Gabbana leopard print bag is priced at 3,425.00. Both prices are ending with 0, and both products are high end. An item whose price ends with 0 communicates premium quality.

People get satisfaction on owning an expensive product. People are convinced that prices ending with 0s are upscaled; and prestige brands love it that way. Companies wanted to keep the reputation on their products so not all can buy it and those who can buy it will love buying it.

1200s

How they write it affects how you buy it. The longer the price appears, the more expensive we perceive. This is the reason why restaurants minimize the price on their menu with 29 rather than $29.99.

Commas and cents make the price longer; hence, increasing the magnitude of the price (at least according to our brain). 1200 seemed to appear cheaper than 1,200.00. There are less words in “twelve hundred” than in “one thousand two hundred”, so we think of 1200 as less.

Did .99s lured you?

Sources:
The Psychology Behind The Sweet Spots Of Pricing; Fast Company
Pricing Psychology: 7 Sneaky Retail Tricks; CBSNews
5 Psychological Studies on Pricing That You Absolutely MUST Read; Kiss Metrics
Party Like It’s 19.99: The Psychology of Pricing; Wise Bread
An Easy Way to Make Your Prices Seem Lower; Neuromarketing

We no longer have to wait for the morning; society is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.

24 hours society, 24 hours lifestyle of people, restaurant and cafe open for 24 hours, sleepless nights, spending the night outside, 24 hours sign with lights, new street lights

Photo from Marcin Wichary’s flickr

Since people now don’t want to wait, businesses are offering around the clock activities. While there were still some of us who prefer to sleep tight at night, companies want you to know that they’re open whenever you needed them. With that option, they’re keeping their profits in the run every minute.

24 hours fitness is aptly named since they are open 24 hours every day. No matter what your shift schedule was, the gym can accommodate you. Working parents can leave their child in child care like Penny & Peggy Nairn where services are for 24 hours. And for us who likes to dine out, we don’t have to chase the closing times of restaurants because they’ll be serving us anytime.

Security should be firm for 24 hours businesses. Crimes are easier to perpetrate and evade at night. This is why stores have a one button that will alarm the policemen. But the increasing demand of security means society needs more policemen awake, in shift, at night.

There will be more jobs for graveyard schedule. Since people need jobs for survival, many would force their body to work at down time. But workers often won’t adjust to the nocturnal schedule, according to Paul MacLennan, PhD, of the Center for Injury Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).

Even holidays need workers; like the upcoming thanksgiving where some families prefer to dedicate the family day in restaurants than in their own houses.

We don’t have real 24 hours banking yet where banks are open all the time; but I think this will happen. What businesses do you think will open for 24 hours?

Sources:
Society changing to 24/7 lifestyle; News 8
A 24/7 Society; UAB

Audience screams, cheers, and reacts to athletes’ performance; and athletes make mistakes when they think about it.

Athletes' performance, making mistake on sporting events, psychological new study said squeezing a ball or clenching left hand can improve athletes' performance, trick and techniques to work under pressure, soccer ball in hand, small soccer ball for kids

Photo from Photoxpress

Several athletes in the Olympics perfect their moves over years but they make mistakes on the day of show. It happens to the most of us. We prepare for a long time but on the exact time we should perform, we gag and choke. We make mistakes we have never committed when we are practicing. This is a familiar feeling to athletes because eyes are on them in every sporting event.

The source of the blunder is when athletes started thinking of their own movements instead of relying on their body’s motor capabilities. Overthinking can intervene with concentration and performance of motor tasks.

For the athletes who aren’t used to the pressure of an audience yet, squeezing a ball or clenching a hand may help. According to the new research published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, doing so before the competition will activate certain parts of the brain.

But it has to be the left hand. In the study, right handed athletes who squeezed a ball using the left hand have lower chances of choking than right handed athletes who squeezed a ball using the right hand. This may be due to the system of our brain’s supervision, where the right brain controls the left part of our body – the side of the brain that directs automated and instinctive behaviors.

The idea is to distract athletes from thinking. “Athletes usually perform better when they trust their bodies rather than thinking too much about their own actions or what their coaches told them during practice”, said Juergen Beckmann, PhD, chair of sport psychology at the Technical University of Munich in Germany.

This technique may also be applied outside athletics, especially in pressing situations.

Do you think this will work for you?

Sources:
Squeezing a ball before competition may improve performance, study finds; American Psychological Association
Do You Choke Under Pressure? A Routine That May Help; PsychCentral
Sporting skill improved by just a simple squeeze; drbriffa
 

Humans only use 10% of their brain, so they say.

Man uses 10% percent of his brain? human working out cognition, working in the office, people wandering about the brain, science discovery, philosophy, man questions the brain's capabilities

Photo from David Goehring’s flickr

The 10% brain usage is definitely a myth for the scientific community. Every region of the brain is performing, whether it is from the back’s occipital lobe that controls our vision or the frontal lobe that’s responsible for our cognitive functioning. Every region of the brain is almost working constantly to accommodate our activities; even those that we don’t have to think of doing, like breathing, are under the brain’s supervision.

100% of our brain is working hard; that’s why it demands so much energy to operate. Our brain “represents three percent of the body’s weight and uses 20 percent of the body’s energy”, said Johns Hopkins’ neurologist Barry Gordon.

Where the myth came from?

It may have started from William James’ words in The Energies of Men (1908), “we are making use of only a small part of our possible mental and physical resources”. Later on, Karl Lashley studied the brains of rats where he removed portions of cerebral cortex and the rats can perform specific tasks like nothing happened. So people would be thinking, we won’t need most of it.

The more interesting claim is human’s potential psychic abilities. It is indulging to believe that there’s even more we could do, perhaps have a super memory or heroic capabilities.

The more appropriate claim is we only know 10% of our brain. That 10% are neurons, and the rest of the brain is supporting glial cells. There is still a broad spread of exploration to know what glial cells are for.

But the science community is not backing off to know more. In a way, you could buy Einstein’s brain via an iPad app. $9.99 gives anyone access to images of the genius’ brain cut into 350 slides, hoping to spark another knowledge to his brain apart from knowing that his parietal lobe (processing of mathematics, language, and spatial understanding) is wider than normal.

Is this too much to take from the man who already contributed so much to our comprehension? The man who wished for his body to be cremated?

As long as the person is dead, it seems, his voice will not matter. Jacopo Annese of the University of California “predicts that there will be another Einstein, and when that individual dies, we’ll be prepared (we’re hanging on for that 3D-mapped interactive specimen)” (Wired UK).

Do you believe that nothing should hamper the search for knowledge?

Sources:
Do People Only Use 10 Percent Of Their Brains?; Scientific American
Do We Use Only 10% of Our Brains?; Washington.edu
Einstein’s Brain Goes Digital With iPad App; Wired UK

A good sale saves money – most times this is false.

Cheap is more expensive, too many sale, big red sale sign, panic buying, cheap products, products made in china, shopping, sale on roof

Photo from Tim Parkinson’s flickr

I shopped at the Mong Kok Street three consecutive nights while I’m in Hong Kong. This street is a long expanse of small retailers selling dropdown imitation products from clothes to cool USBs. Can you imagine buying Lacoste shirts for a quarter of its original price? I’m not a recreational shopper but I couldn’t stop.

I came home with more on my suitcase. I bought “branded” shirts, watches and a pair of shoes for me; another dozen of shirts for my family and bags for my mother and sister (picked randomly and they loved it!). But I regretted buying them all.

I learned something about myself. Heads up mothers, this may give you a heart attack: I don’t like sale items.

I need not any of the items I bought in Hong Kong. I never used the shoes because I realized I hated the dire design. The strap of the watches peeled (turned out they’re made from plastic). After the first few wash, the clothes are indistinguishable from a rag. I depleted my entire budget for that trip because everything’s so cheap it feels like I should take advantage of it.

But cheap price is cheap quality. They don’t last long. They don’t satisfy you with the value you deserve.

After the Mong Kok street experience, I always get myself the topnotch original brands simply because I deserve the best. There may be some delays to my purchases, but that delay adds up to the excitement and happiness of buying the product. I’ve grown to give-up my quest for instant gratification that cheap products give because that gratification will go fast and will become frustration.

Like David Hays says, “Buy it once”. Choose the better quality products with better value. Buy for long term use and lasting gratification.

What cheap product you have to buy twice after the first broke?

More Moments for you:
No Time for TV

Mention:
Buy It Once: When More Expensive Is Cheaper; Black Star Rising

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