Know the secret meaning behind a price tag

August 9, 2019

Today, Big Tech’s jumping into diabetes-tech and making some sweet bets and a plant-based burger shortage is giving Impossible Foods the meat sweats, but first…
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Inside the secret world of price tag codes

What if we told you that the reason Office Depot prices its staplers at $10.03 — instead of an even $10 — is NOT just to mess with your head? 

In fact, that seemingly random extra 3¢ secretly tells you that the stapler has been marked down 3 times AND that it will likely be marked down once more before disappearing from the shelves…

It’s true. But that 3¢ is just the tip of the iceberg. 

You don’t have to be a member of the retail-luminati to benefit from this secret info — you just need to know the codes.

Retailers use codes to communicate extra product info

Most large department retailers — Home Depot, Target, Old Navy — build secret, unpublicized codes into the prices of the products to reveal information about how they’ve been discounted.

A blog called “Rather Be Shopping” maintains a running list of these open secrets. At Best Buy, for example, a price ending in:

  • $X.92 = 1-time price drop; often below wholesale; Great deal.
  • $X.96 = Adjusted price to beat competitor; Good deal.
  • $X.99 = Full price or marginal markdown; Bad deal.

Other retailers have similar codes: At Home Depot, prices ending in $X.06 are on sale but will drop further in 6 weeks, while prices ending in $X.03 are marked down fully and will disappear forever in 3 weeks.

There are some more general takeaways for shoppers, too: Prices that end in 9 are generally bad deals (full price), while prices that end in 7 are generally good deals (marked down price).

But what do the retailers get out of these mind games?

The code’s meant to be cracked — and once it is, it creates loyal, engaged customers. 

According to the Harvard Business Review, the secret menu at In-N-Out is one of the main drivers of the famous burger chain’s long-term financial success.

These “price vocabularies” are the secret menus of big retailers — they engage shoppers by letting them in on a “secret” and create loyalty among the frequent shoppers (who matter most to large retailers) by making them feel like they’re in the club.

The price is nice
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Tech giants are racing to build businesses that help manage diabetes

For most of the more than 30m people in the US living with diabetes, managing blood sugar is a process of guesswork that involves regular finger pricks and insulin adjustments.

Now, according to a recent CNBC report, big tech companies — namely Apple, Amazon, and Alphabet — are investing heavily to make those quality continuous treatments more accessible (and capture a big chunk of diabetic business in the process).

Right now, the bar is pretty low

Businesses catering to diabetics have provided an, um, less-than-satisfactory customer experience in recent years: Sellers increased insulin prices as much 353%, and continuous monitoring devices have remained prohibitively expensive. 

Things have gotten bad: Diabetics are stockpiling medicine, crossing borders to find cheaper insulin, and switching to cheaper generic alternatives (sometimes with tragic results).

Several different approaches to ‘diabetes tech’ want to fix things 

Apple is focused on building tools in its Watch and iPhone to integrate with diabetic devices and provide more seamless monitoring.

Amazon is programming Alexa-enabled devices to help diabetics verbally check their blood sugar levels. 

Alphabet, through its life science subsidiary Verily, is actually developing new hardware to continuously monitor blood sugar levels.

» Big Tech vs. ’Betes

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Q: What do you do when your $70m-in-revenue company implodes?

A: You create a new company focused on de-stressing a stressed out individual society. Read the founder of Calm Michael Acton Smith’s story below — FYI he’s speaking at this year’s Hustle Con.

Read the full story →

Chick-fil-A flaps high above its competitors, and it has other fast food giants worried sick

In 2019, milk is out, plant-based meat options have taken restaurants by storm, and a drive-thru chicken sando chain — Chick-fil-A — is moving toward the head of the fast-food flock. 

See, the ol’ witch hippy was right: The end times are upon us. And cows are loving it, that’s for sure. 

But, as Chick-fil-A continues to fly high above the industry, with plans of going international, other beef-led chains are feeling the pinch.

2019: The year of the chicken

Chick-fil-A’s food is phenomenal. That’s not an opinion, that’s a poultry-sized fact.

Because of its fine feastings, the fast-fried franchise absolutely rakes in the dough. According to CNBC, one of CF’s locations Chick-fil-A’d  $5.7m in 2018 — and the dang rooster robbers don’t even crow on Sundays.

While cows sipped dairy-free coladas on sabbatical, Chick-fil-A grew to become the 3rd-largest restaurant in the US by sales. 

And competitors are bracing for some even rougher winds ahead. 

Like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off 

Per Business Insider, in the first 6 months after a Chick flies into town, customer traffic falls an average of 5.4% at Wendy’s and 4.4% at Burger King locations within 1.5 miles. 

Now, chains like BK and Carl’s Jr. have doubled down on the growing plant-based meat crowd to compete with the church of chicken.

Another clucker-chucker, Popeyes, is heading beak-first into the chickity-challenge by putting its own top-notch breaded bird on the menu. 

McDonald’s franchisees are also pleading for a better chicken sandwich option as well. McChicken? More like McChopped Liver (nailed it).

» A chickin-fried stake in fast-food

BK unveils the Impossible Whopper, putting Impossible Foods in a pickle

This week, Burger King rolled out its “Impossible Whopper” — a meatless Whopper-alternative via startup Impossible Foods — in 7k locations nationwide. 

So far, the plant-based patty has been a huge hit for BK, boosting traffic by 18% when it debuted regionally back in April. 

But, in the race to keep up with heavily funded competitor Beyond Meat, Impossible may have bitten off more than they can chew: Almost immediately, customers reported shortages in around 300 locations.

It’s a tale of two Browns

Launched by biochemist Pat Brown in 2011, Impossible has raised nearly $700m to bring its trademark “bleeding” veggie burgers to the mainstream.

Beyond Meat has beaten Impossible to market in more ways than one: Founded in 2009 by Ethan Brown (no relation to Pat Brown), Beyond went public in May at a $1.5B valuation — despite raising just a sixth of the venture money. 

Beyond’s products are also already in grocery stores around the country, while Impossible only just received FDA approval and won’t hit aisles until September.

Now, it’s a race to dominate the restaurant biz

Impossible has inked partnerships with White Castle, Red Robin, Qdoba, and Burger King, while Beyond meat has contracts with Dunkin’, TGI Friday’s, Carl’s Jr. — and now Subway (via a meat(less)ball sub, the Beyond Meatball Marinara). 

And if Impossible can’t deliver on its plant-based promise — it opens the door for Beyond to swoop its customers.

» Mr. Steal Yo Grill

Want to take a bigger bite out of the alternative meat biz?

The previous story follows a Trends report by The Hustle. Check out the full story here.

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shower thoughts
  1. Airline passengers would probably pay more for priority deboarding than priority boarding.
  2. The guy who killed Batman’s parents saved tons of lives.
  3. People are so amazed by the fact that every snowflake is different, but nobody cares that every potato is unique.
  4. In the future, old YouTubers might give their account to their children, and it might develop into some sort of family business that is passed on through generations until the original owner of the account becomes legend.
  5. Throwing a dead fly in the garbage would probably be seen as respectful by the fly community.
  6. via Reddit

BONUS INTERNATIONAL UNDERWEAR DAY SHOWER THOUGHT: A “buttload” of underwear would be exactly one pair.

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