Six Ways To Increase Sales Using The Contrast Effect


Most supermarkets and manufacturers use this marketing trick all the time, and many buyers fall for it without knowing that they are being tricked.


contrast effect


Imagine a Coca-Cola vending machine at an airport that sells 100 cans per day. Now, let’s put a Pepsi vending machine right next to it. How many cans do you think each of them will sell?


You might assume it would be 50-50 or maybe 60-40. But in reality, each machine will sell 200 cans daily.


Why does this happen? When you see just one vending machine, you think about whether or not to drink Coke. But when you see these two machines, you contemplate choosing Coke or Pepsi.


This marketing trick is called the “contrast effect,” based on the fact that when you see a product compared to another, it creates an illusion of choice. And you find it easier to make a purchasing decision, which increases overall sales.


If you sell one service, add one or two more. This will definitely increase your sales. For example, retail shops that are accompanied by M-Pesa agencies tend to sell more than those that purely focus on selling household goods.


The contrast effect can be leveraged to increase sales in business by strategically presenting products or services in a way that highlights their unique features or benefits compared to other options. Here are some ways to leverage the contrast effect:


  1. Anchoring: Present a high-priced or premium product as an anchor to create a reference point. Then, introduce a slightly lower-priced product that appears more affordable in comparison. This can make the lower-priced product seem like a better deal and increase its perceived value.


  1. Bundling: Create product bundles that include a mixture of high-value and lower-value items. By placing a high-value item next to a lower-value item, the lower-value item will appear more attractive. In a supermarket, for example, you might find a 1 kg washing powder bundled with an 80-gram bar of bath soap. The intention here is not to lure you into buying the bar soap but to make the washing powder more appealing and stand out from competitors.


  1. Testimonials and Social Proof: Highlight positive customer testimonials or reviews that contrast the customer’s previous experience and the benefits they gained from using your product or service. For example, manufacturers of washing detergents like advertising by comparing the washing abilities of their brand against those of another brand, creating a contrast effect that increases the perceived value and credibility of their product.


  1. Limited-Time Offers: Retailers create a sense of urgency and scarcity by offering limited-time promotions or discounts. By emphasising the time-limited nature of the offer, customers may perceive it as more valuable and be more motivated to make a purchase.


  1. Visual Presentation: Use visual cues such as colour, size, or placement position to contrast different products or pricing options. For example, you might see a toothpaste packaging written “With 50 ml extra for free” to make the brand appear more affordable and attractive.


  1. Upselling and Cross-selling: This can even involve two similar products from the same product. For example, you might see two Colgate toothpastes: Colgate Herbal with chamomile and Colgate with activated charcoal. The intention here is to emphasise the added value or benefits of the different types to suit a customer’s taste and preference. Like in the Pepsi and Coke example, the manufacturer sells more than if they only had one version of the commodity.



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