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In recession, businesses cautioned about discount dangers (access required)

By Caitlin Coakley Consumers have less money to spend these days. Most businesses get that. The easiest way to appeal to the recession-weary consumer, to get them to part with what little extra cash may be in their wallet, seems to be to offer lower prices for goods or services. However, business and marketing experts say that that go-to tactic might not be the best idea. “When you compete in price, it tells me that you suffer from a rampant lack of imagination,” said consumer behavior expert Sunil Erevelles, interim chairman of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s marketing department. “You can think of no other way to distinguish your product.” The core of the philosophy of the discount is value. A business wants the customer to feel like the value of the product or service matches, or is greater than, what they paid. By lowering a price and letting the customer know that the price has been lowered, a customer may perceive the value as being greater.

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