I’m a little bit torn on this one since I’m on both sides of the fence, i.e. all for business and at the same time I am a consumer of the products and services businesses produce and sell. Anyway, it’s a discussion that must be had and hopefully the outcome will educate and empower both the consumers and the producers, although I must admit the business side of the fence is about as informed and empowered on the matter as it can ever be.
I’m talking about what it means to get “more” out of a deal, particularly in the case of buying something. As a consumer, one is always made to feel they’re getting more for their money in some or other way when in reality they’re either getting less or getting the perceived market value of what they’re buying. For the seller this is an advantage which they simply cannot resist to take make full use of, but it’s not always a scenario which is presented in a sinister fashion.
This is perhaps the more forgivable iteration of the presentation of the illusion of “getting more” and in fact I’ll go all the way in saying this is about as positive as it can get. There is no deceit here, but consumers are made to spend a little bit more than what they might have initially set out to spend.
Up-selling is when you’re presented with a version of whatever you sought to buy which is perceived to be bigger, better, of higher quality etc, – an all-round better version of what you wanted to buy. This of course is offered at a slightly higher price than that of the original item you intended to purchase, but the suggestion is that for that little bit extra you’re willing to pay, you get more incremental value which is afforded to you at a price that has you getting more than what you’d otherwise have to pay for it.
A classic example of this is when there’s something like a two for the price of one special going on or just how pretty much anything becomes cheaper if you buy it in bulk. Buy the bigger version and the extra value you get works out cheaper.
There’s nothing wrong with up-selling, but if there is indeed an illusion to the supposed advantage of getting more, it should be addressed. You should know exactly what you’re getting into.
The darker side of this phenomenon has become such commonplace that you’re almost considered to be crazy as the seller if you don’t take advantage of it. This is when getting more really proves to be an illusion, such as how certain clothing items may have a sign above them displaying that they’re going at 50% off the usual price, when in actual fact they’re still being sold for their regular price.
It’s as if something works psychologically to get consumers to buy, some of which consumers are fully aware of the illusions and yet they ignore them either way.