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Price Tags: Frequently Asked Questions


Price tags are fundamental tools in retail. They are multifunctional and provide numerous benefits.

Encourage sales: Price tags encourage people to make a purchase as they know the price they need to pay beforehand. Surveys have shown that when people see a price, they are more likely to buy an item.

Information:Price tags inform the customer about the price of an item. It may also contain product information like product name, origin, weight or capacity, barcode/EAN, etc.

Transparency: Tags provide the same information to everybody to prevent confusion.

Organize: Price Tags help retailers segregate items with the same prices together and organize merchandise according to their prices so that it is easy to find items and show them to customers.

Eliminates manual work: Tags simplify functioning in a store or a stall by eliminating the need for an employee to answer pricing questions.


Unit price means the retail sales price of a consumer commodity expressed in terms of the approved unit of measure. It tells you the cost per liter, per kilogram, per pound, etc., of what you want to buy. Unit Price can be obtained just by dividing the cost by the quantity.

Retail price means the total price of a consumer commodity, excluding sales tax. It is the final price charged for an item from customers.


According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), 11 states have laws that mandatorily require displaying unit prices. These states are 

  • Connecticut
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Virgin Islands

Price tag switching is when a person tampers with a price tag for two reasons:

  1. Buying an item for a discounted price
  2. Returning an item for more money than it was purchased.

Price tag switching hurts business owners. Price tag switching is a punishable offense in many states. The punishment varies from a Class C misdemeanor to a first-degree felony, depending on the difference between the price marked and the price paid. Offenders can also be sent to jail for this criminal deed.


Psychological pricing is a strategy by marketing and pricing professionals based on the theory that certain price values have a psychological impact on customers, making them more likely to buy. In this pricing method, retail prices are often expressed as numbers that are just a little less than a round number or a whole number. For example - displaying a price tag of $6.99 instead of $7.00 leverages the customer's emotional response and influences purchase decisions.


Price Tags are said to be invented by John Wanamaker in the 1860s. Before this, most buying was done by haggling. Wanamaker also pioneered the concept of the department store. He had a flagship department store in Philadelphia at Oak Hall, at Sixth and Market Streets in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It wascalled Wanamaker’s where he introduced price tags for the first time, and several other department stores in other cities, including New York. Wanamaker's department store was a palace of consumption that made shopping itself an event for ordinary people. Some sources also give credit to Quakers for first using fixed prices on their goods.

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