You’ve been framed! How sales prices affect the way you shop
Shoppers are less likely to compare prices if they see the word “sale” according to 2010 research from Australia on shopping behaviour. Retailers often show both the non-sale and sale price rather than just the sale price when promoting a product.
This "dual price" approach conditions shoppers to think how much they are supposed to be saving. The normal price is used as a “frame” to condition shoppers to consider they are getting a bargain. This conclusion may be reached even if the sale price is higher than could be found in another shop.
Be alert to sales procedures that increase prices
Sales may allow you to grab a bargain but it makes good financial sense to shop around and compare prices, even briefly, before loosening the purse strings. In particular, be aware of extra conditions that may be attached to apparent bargains.
Sales promotions such as discount vouchers and cash back promotions should be examined carefully according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission website. The Commission recommends being aware of all steps required to get cash back and carefully reading the terms associated with discount vouchers.
The eZonomics article What is price drip pricing? also recommends being aware of sales that offer an initial attractive price but then add extra costs (such as card payment fees or shipping costs) during the sales process that push up the final price.