Study reveals curious consumer behavior
In New York, the Culinary Institute of America tested price formats on their menus as part of a large study, revealing curious consumer behavior, indicating that presentation of prices is more than just tricking people by making prices $199.99 instead of $200. The Institute tested three formats for pricing, first comparing sales of the same menu items presented with and without dollar signs, and scripted prices with the numbers spelled out.
Scripted prices and normal formats with dollar signs showed no significant difference in sales, positively or negatively, but removing the dollar sign from the menu actually increased sales.
So will removing dollar signs from your website or analog marketing instantly boost sales, or is it just for food items or New York hipsters that go to high end restaurants? Other studies support that parting with money sends negative signs to your brain and removing any pain signals to the brain, even “tricking” it by removing the dollar sign, can reduce the pain associated with spending money.
How to experiment
So how can you tell if this study is true for your industry and for your market? Test it out!
There are some industries where you literally have no control over whether or not a dollar sign is presented, particularly when your product is sold and marketed through a third party site like real estate listings, Etsy listings and the like. But for your own website, you can easily test whether or not your sales improve with some A/B testing.
If you’ve never done any A/B testing, ask your marketing professional and/or developer about how to navigate the technical process (which does not have to be complicated at all), or check out this comprehensive guide to A/B testing to do it on your own.