In October 2021, a company released a screen polishing cloth for your devices. While other similar products were priced around $5-$7, they upped the price to $19.99 and sold out in less than one day. The product? Apple’s Polishing Cloth.
While many reviews by consumers state that it is a good cloth that works well, wiping away smudges without damaging screens, comparison reviews show it isn’t a “better” product. What keeps consumers coming back for it is the Perceived Value, or the perception of the value outweighing the cost.
How can you learn from this to increase the Perceived Value of your product or service? Here are seven ways to get started!
1. Create An Emotional Trigger To The Product Features
Perceived Value is exactly what it sounds like: a customer’s appraisal of the benefit versus cost. If a customer feels it will fill a need, they will have an emotional reaction and appraise that it is worth the cost. But how do you trigger that reaction?
Start with reviewing if it will meet or exceed the customer’s needs and expectations. If your product is a kettle, does it have a thermal protective covering on the handle? Does it have a nice whistle sound? Does it come in a color that will match their décor? A kettle that checks all these boxes but costs $10 more is likely to be purchased more often than the one with a lower price but none of the features the customer would like. The increase in likelihood of being purchased over the featureless competitor may make the manufacturing costs worth it.
2. Raise Prices & Use Charm Pricing
We are wired to believe that a higher price means a better product. However, a price that is too high will be a turnoff to the average consumer. Finding a sweet spot of your product being seen as premium but your price still being a value is difficult to find. You may need to experiment with your product pricing strategy to find the perfect balance. Another common way to look more like a value price is to use Charm Pricing, or taking an item that is sold for $5 and marking it $4.99 or $4.95. The reality is that the price has hardly changed, but we gain a perception of it being closer to $4 rather than $5. Wouldn’t you rather pay a seemingly significant amount less and feel empowered by the decision? Suddenly the $5 worth of value seems like you have under-charged and over-delivered than if you had priced it pennies higher.
3. Document Customer Satisfaction
You can have the best product at the best value but still not sell any. It’s an unfortunate truth that working hard on your product doesn’t always equal sales. However, a great way to draw attention to your product is to offer customer reviews. We are often word-of-mouth driven in how we make purchases, allowing our friends and social circle to help justify a purchase, and reviews can come close to simulating that sense of acceptance in our decision. Customer reviews can also be a great way to find an undocumented use of your product that you may not have marketed toward before. And yes, some reviews can be negative, but we can also learn a lot from them. Handling them well and in a timely manner can take a negative and turn it into a positive if the reader is left feeling that if they have any issues or questions, they’ll be handled in a timely and thorough manner.
4. Improve Customer Loyalty
Why do people line up to buy coffee from somewhere when there is an equally-good café across the street? Why do we have a sense of pride when a fashionable logo can be seen on our clothing or accessories? Why do some brands have customers conditioned to steep price increases or the need for the newest item? These are all examples of brand loyalty and show what the power of value perception can do. But how can you gain and maintain that sort of loyalty? Some ways can be to offer a rewards program. If you are working toward a tenth purchase for a free coffee, you might choose the café across the road. Ask for feedback. Make your customers feel that you are listening to them and tailoring their experience to their needs. Encourage referrals with a referral program. Set up a subscription such as a newsletter or monthly feature update list. You can also offer a number of rewards and discounts based on frequency of purchase. Over time they will want to visit your site or make a purchase out of habit and FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out.)
5. Create Scarcity
Order quick, there are only 5 left in your area! Limited time offer! This is a one-day deal that is only valid for 24 hours! We’ve all seen this tactic used, but done well, it works and doesn’t cheapen the brand. In fact, perception that it is so popular it can be hard to get in stock is a great way to trigger FOMO. Consider only releasing a portion of your stock at once and add names to waiting lists, then daily take people off the waiting list so they feel they’ve been moved to the front of the line. This generates excitement that they are among the first to get their hands on the product, but allows you to create that sense of loyalty daily.
6. Include High Quality Visuals
High quality, detailed images are necessary when selling a product online. But there’s more than just showing a high quality zoomed-in option to gain customer interest. Add images of the product alongside a standard-sized item to show size in a way that a list of dimensions does not. You can also take images of how many items your product holds, and direct comparison to a competitor. The price of a product photographer is easily justified when you can visually see how much more quality and value you get from the perception great photography gives your brand.
7. Offer Support Levels
Your product or service is bound to have help available to anyone using it, but you should consider offering a VIP level of support for premium subscribers. This could include things such as allowing real-time chat services instead of just email or phone support, access to community forums, assigned account managers and a newsletter with examples of how to use high level features and early access to user guides. If they will be using the help files to teach themselves more about using your product, they will feel there is a value in expanded services.