Product Design Lessons

Interface Design Sketching  |   Lesson #120

How to sell more using relative value

How to use design triggers part 2 of 10

This week we’re continuing our look at how we here at ZURB utilize psychological triggers and patterns to increase engagement with the products we design. In this lesson we’ll be covering how you can use the design trigger of Relative Value to encourage your users to buy more, more often.

What is Relative Value?

Relative value helps battle choice paralysis within our users, since It’s often difficult to evaluate the cost or value of an item on it’s own. Having a starting point to help users choose is always going to be easier than appraising with no reference.

Relative value techniques work remarkably well in helping users make a decisions and follow through on a purchase. The tried-and-true example of this in the wild is a pricing table. When people are trying to make a decision, they feel more comfortable about it if they can compare it to something else. Visibility of other prices also helps to reassure the user that they’ve made the right decision.

How You can Use it

Sorting by price range is more than just about finding something within a budget; it’s about the assumed value of an item based on an individual’s reference price. Pay attention to the ways customers may determine the relative value of products on your site. Visually arrange products with respect to reference prices.

Shoppers like to have a variety of options to compare, and will compare more than just price. Allowing users to make a short list of products for comparison will help them make their decision. But be careful of how you use sales and promotions. Offering sales too frequently reduces the impact of the sale, and can lower customer’s reference price, making normal prices seem inflated.

We included an example of this in our ZURB Master Class for Responsive Email which displays pricing in three tiers. As the user scans through each option, they can clearly see the additional benefits of each tier. This helps users evaluate what’s included in each course option and make a better decision.

Next Steps

Examine how different companies use Relative Value to sell their products more effectively and now see how you can use Relative Value in your next project. You may also look at making one product much more expensive, to give the ideal price point much more relative value.

About the instructor


Brandon Arnold is a Foundation mastermind. He contributed several key components of the latest version of our framework, and walks you through getting started with Foundation for Emails.