Marketing from the Grocery Aisles: Price Tags Matter!

I’ve always brought my lunch to work, mainly because I can’t justify spending money for something I can make for a few dollars and then eat all week. Granted, some weeks I have fabulous lunches of homemade soups I made the Sunday before. Other weeks, I prepare a hearty salad, made from grains, wild rice, and couscous with chopped vegetables and herbs. 

Occasionally, I don’t have time to make decent lunches, and I’m scrounging through the pantry for a can of soup, heel from the bread my husband uses for sandwiches (he’s also an avid brown-bagger), or grabbing leftovers from the previous night’s dinner.

A few weeks ago, while buy a few groceries from Safeway, I spied a plastic tub of baby lettuce and kale with a large round label on top, printed in half-inch high, bright red lettering “$5.” I was instantly sold, tossing the pound of assorted greens into my basket. 5

For the next week, I had salad for lunch with shredded carrots and daikon, and a blob of homemade tuna salad with my favorite balsamic vinegar dressing.

The next week, I opted to have the same lunch; except, I went to another grocery store. I spent at least five minutes searching their refrigerated produce section for a similar crate of greens. About ready to give-up, I spotted what I was looking for in the organic section. The price and cost comparison tag on the refrigerator case said “$4.99.”

“$4.99! I’m not paying that much for organic greens,” I scowled.

499 Then I took a step back. Wait, I recalled I’d paid a penny more the previous week for run-of-the-mill-non-organic greens. Surely paying a penny less for organic greens wasn’t a bad deal. Without hesitating, I grabbed the container, along with a bag of chopped kale.

What’s the lesson? Labels matter. Using a prominent, uncluttered label like “$5” triggers consumers’ emotions, nudging them to purchase – sometimes products they wouldn’t otherwise consider. While it’s never a good idea to primarily compete based on price, offering a temporary price cut can pique customers’ interest and persuade them to give a product or service a try.


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