[Pricing Nugget #001] Strikethrough Prices That Strike

Imagine you are about to launch a deal event for your products or services. You create advertisements and design sale signs in your store.

The deal price is a real bargain, but you wonder how you could best bring home the message of a good deal?

Academic research unearths five nuggets that guide the visual design of your strike-through price:

  1. Do not use fancy fonts for the sale price (just plain, fluent fonts like Arial).
  2. Present the regular price with a larger font size than the smaller promotional price.
  3. Add physical distance (i.e. white space) between the reference price and the sale price.
  4. Present the larger selling price above (if vertically ordered) or left (if horizontally ordered) to the lower sale price.
  5. Use red ink for sale prices.

Does your design lean rather to the left or to the right?


Mead, James A. and David M. Hardesty (2018), “Price font disfluency. Anchoring effects on future price expectations,” Journal of Retailing, 94 (1), 102–112.

Coulter, Keith S. and Robin A. Coulter (2005), “Size does matter: The effects of magnitude representation congruency on price perceptions and purchase likelihood,” Journal of Consumer Psychology, 15 (1), 64–76.

Coulter, Keith S. and Patricia A. Norberg (2009), “The effects of physical distance between regular and sale prices on numerical difference perceptions,” Journal of Consumer Psychology, 19 (2), 144–157.

Biswas, Abhijit, Sandeep Bhowmick, Abhijit Guha, and Dhruv Grewal (2013), “Consumer evaluations of sale prices: role of the subtraction principle,” Journal of Marketing, 77 (4), 49–66.

Puccinelli, Nancy M., Rajesh Chandrashekaran, Dhruv Grewal, and Rajneesh Suri (2013), “Are men seduced by red? The effect of red versus black prices on price perceptions,” Journal of Retailing, 89 (2), 115–125.