Behavioral Pricing: Meaning and Strategy

For decades, psychologists and sociologists have questioned conventional finance and economics notions, suggesting that people are not rational utility-maximizing actors and that markets are inefficient in the real world. To address these issues, behavioral economics emerged in the late 1970s, gathering extensive data on individuals acting "irrationally" daily. Hence, it is established with input from psychology and finance, aiming to better explain numerous baffling facts in stock markets. It is a branch of finance that provides ideas based on psychology to explain the underlying dynamics of asset purchasing and selling behavior.

Behavioral Pricing

Behavioral pricing is a method of setting prices based on consumer behavioral patterns. Analyze large amounts of relevant data to reveal consumer behavior patterns. It is also part of the larger field of behavioral economics. Traditional price theory assumes that rational variables influence buyer behavior. Customers get complete price information, and every customer's choice is obvious. Consumers choose a value (product) and expect this purchase to maximize their profit from that product. Customers sometimes respond differently, and such cost-benefit models need to consider that. They behave differently from the assumptions of classical price theory. Evaluate prices based on various criteria, including the manufacturer's reputation and your own money. They also behave unpredictably. You can stop searching for products and continue later. I need to improve at remembering prices or comparing them accurately.

So pricing depends on many factors. There are many aspects to pricing, and rational considerations are just one of them. In classical theory, behavioral, emotional, and primarily cognitive factors have little influence. This study focuses on subjective aspects to better understand how customers price products. It is a form of price discrimination. Price discrimination aims to increase profits by changing the price paid by different consumers depending on information about the customer.

Evaluation of Pricing Information

Consumer attitudes, perceptions, and interpretations of factual information flow into evaluation. In some cases, it may also contain other information unrelated to the product. B. Changes in financial circumstances.

Respond to Price Information

This action can be purchased, not purchased, or deferred. In deferral, the process starts again, and consumers may remember the price they first saw.

The Ideas Behind Behavioral Pricing

Behavioral economics forms the scientific basis for behavioral pricing. Examines various psychological factors that drive consumer behavior toward specific purchasing behaviors. In most cases, the research provided by behavioral economists can be used to formulate and predict the processes by which people make economic decisions. From this perspective, insights from behavioral economics can help us better understand the economy as a whole. Narrowing down the phenomenon of behavioral economics leads us to the concept of action prices. The idea is to set product prices based on available information about customer behavior patterns and purchasing decisions. In other words, behavioral pricing turns insights from behavioral economics into actionable pricing strategies.

Interestingly, the origins of action pricing go back to Adam Smith, one of the founding fathers of capitalism. Our first understanding of buying behavior was related to fairness, but after hundreds of years of research, experts have discovered many more psychological issues that influence people's purchasing decisions. With the advent of the data and digital age, businesses at this time have received a wealth of metadata that helps them better understand consumer psychology. Nothing is behavioral economics like a real-life example—a specific brand. To create that effect, offer loyalty cards, discounts, and excellent customer experiences.

Behavioral Pricing Strategies

Major strategies are −

Price Point

The Cambridge Dictionary defines a price point as "the possible price scale point of a product." Among behavioral economists, a price point is a specific retail price determined by market power. From a psychological point of view, this means demand-related prices that businesses may fear. Price points are based on the observation that consumers can only determine a fair price when viewed in context.

Price Threshold Power

The threshold can be considered a specific zone determining whether a customer is willing to pay for a product. Using price thresholds is critical to maximizing existing margins while retaining customers. It is a perfect balance.

The Three Options Principle

Providing multiple options is always a good thing. If you have a cheap and expensive option, always offer an intermediate option between the two. In this Ted Talk on behavioral economics, the speaker details this phenomenon.

The Nudge Effect

Behavioral pricing can guide consumers to the products they want to sell. Consider encouraging customers with labels like "best buy for the price" and "hot deals" to create a sense of urgency and great deals.

Price is Rounded just below

Traditional microeconomic theory portrays the typical demand curve for a product as linear and right-sloping. However, modern research recognizes that when prices fall slightly below integers, customers may be more willing to pay, creating a segment with a positive slope in the demand function.

Principles of Framing, Congruence, Context, and Signaling

Framing principles are based on how to highlight product functionality in a way that is positively perceived. The most common concept is associating "free" with an offer. In his study, Larson concluded that offering accessible units generates more demand than the corresponding discounts. Pricing in multiple increments instead of a single price may be a better strategy.

The context principle is tied to the information people store about items. The appeal of a mid-range product can be enhanced by adding a third option. So if the desired option is extreme, people may lose interest. Another frequently used contextual principle is first to reveal the most attractive items (product ordering) and lock prices. Sell bundles by changing the price of individual items. The signal principle relates to the visual and psychological message a company wants to send. The most commonly used signaling principle is just below the pricing, usually using a number ending in 9 or 5, depending on the number of digits. Other signals can be sent by adjusting price color, symmetry, order, and length. Discounts can also be displayed as percentages or absolute amounts, whichever is more effective.

Applications of Behavioural Pricing

The Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) and the Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH) are logical and sensible assumptions. These ideas believe that most individuals behave logically and predictably. According to theoretical and empirical data, CAPM, EMH, and other rational theories, they have accomplished a fine and praiseworthy job of anticipating and explaining specific occurrences.

Nevertheless, as time passed, experts in finance and economics began to notice anomalies and behaviors that could not be explained by the theories of the time. While these ideas may explain some 'idealized' occurrences, the actual world proved complicated with unpredictable market participants. As a result, humans are only sometimes rational, and markets are always efficient. Behavioral finance explains why individuals do not always make the anticipated judgments and why markets do not always behave as predicted.

According to a recent study, the average investor makes judgments based on emotion rather than rationality. Most investors speculate by buying high and selling low in a panic. Behavioural Finance is a new academic subject that utilizes psychological insights better to understand the behavior of investors and financial markets. It assists us in avoiding emotion-driven speculation that leads to losses and, as a result, in developing a suitable wealth management approach.


Behavioral pricing helps us understand what motivates people to buy products and avoid others. Knowing how to differentiate can mean the difference between a successful and unsuccessful pricing strategy. Prices are typically valued against a reference price that a company's behavioral marketing decisions can partially influence. A reference price is not a specific price but a range that may constantly evolve as new information is registered. Therefore, the base price has upper and lower bounds, and price changes do not change perceptions.