6 Subtle Tactics that can Increase Sales


Combining marketing with psychology has been a very impactful tool on business revenue and sales. Understanding what makes people tick and how people perceive and interpret different things has made some advertising campaigns exceptionally effective. Some of the changes that can be made to websites or in stores are relatively minute but have a very large impact on customers, making the return on investment massive! Below are some examples of some very indirect techniques that have a surprising effect on people’s buying habits:

The “Mystery Box”

Building intrigue in the customer’s mind is how the Mystery Box works. If you don’t give all of the information regarding a certain item to your client, it may build interest in the information you left out. This pushes them toward moving forward and inquiring further. For example, making a post on social media that reads “New deals have come available. Follow the link to find out more” will interest customers as to what has been discounted and see if there is anything they want.


Falling victim to “impulse purchasing” is something that everyone is guilty of. When you were just browsing or looking for a product when something caught your eye and you decided to buy it even though you don’t need it. One of the biggest factors that can coax people into this habit is the act of reducing the price. Getting something cheaper is something that everybody loves as you think you are saving money and getting more value for your money. You also buy sooner rather than later because you want to save money while you can and before the discount runs out, even though you may not even buy the product when it is at its original price so you’re not saving money overall.

Decoy Pricing

Have you ever purchased the larger version of a product just because it is not that much more expensive than the size below? That is the concept of decoy pricing. Imagine seeing a product with two size variants, a small and a large. The small costs 20p and the large costs £1.20, you are more likely to get the small because it is cheaper. However if you add a medium variant that is £1.00 you are now more likely to purchase the large as it is only 20p more than the medium. Whether you are looking at two products on their sizes, amounts or quality, you can add an option that you don’t intend to sell but advertise next to an item just so the perceived value of that product is increased.


We covered this very briefly when talking about discounts. Including some form of time limit on a product, like how long a discount will last for, can influence someone to purchase as soon as possible. The reason this works is that when you are relaxed and not rushed to buy the product you will think about it thoroughly asking yourself if you really need it or is it worth it. However if you have a time limit you don’t think about these things and are just worried about getting it while you can. Time limits on discounts are not the only way to instil this feeling of urgency. Saying “while stocks last” or “for next day delivery, order within 20 minutes” are other ways to get customers to purchase as soon as possible.


If customer see that buying a product will also get them a separate product for free it persuades them to purchase from you. Seeing the free item boosts their perceived value and is a great way to entice customers to purchase from you over your competitors. Furthermore, if the freebie you offer is a promotional product (product printed with your logo or artwork), you gain the benefits of the constant advertising that the product will provide. For instance, if your customer would receive one of your branded tote bags when they buy one of your products, they will be persuaded to purchase with you to get the free bag and will be reminded of your brand whenever they pack your bag with other items.

Unrelated Imagery

A surprising amount of marketing uses themes, iconography and characters that have no relation to the business it is advertising. They may just show off a company logo at the end but apart from that will share no relation to the products or service they provide. Perhaps the most famous of this kind of advert is the Cadbury’s Gorilla advert where they don’t even show off chocolate at all and is still talked about 10 years later. This is a subtle form of advertising as it doesn’t even push you towards a product and instead just creates an image for your brand and tries to represent the feel and atmosphere of the brand instead. It gets people talking about the advert and dives sales that way.


Due to the nature of subtlety, the small or indirect forms of sales aren’t talked about that much even though are just as influential, if not more, than more apparent and overt methods. They can have a surprising impact on your sales and shouldn’t be ignored in your strategies. You’d be surprised how many of these techniques are used by large corporations and how many of them you may have fallen for in the past and well in the future.