Online marketing terms

What is a bait-and-switch?

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Bait-and-switch is a sales tactic to attract visitors to products and then sell a comparable, more expensive item.

What is bait-and-switch?

It means that you want to attract visitors with an advertisement to a product that subsequently turns out to be no longer available, in order to be able to sell comparable, more expensive products. Because the seller makes a tempting offer to benefit from it, bait-and-switch is experienced as misleading.

How does bait-and-switch work?

It starts when a company advertises a particular product. The product is then offered for a price that is well below the current market price. For example: They offer an ad where a washing machine is now $500, while the usual price is $850. Even though the offer sounds too good to be true, there are plenty of consumers who fall for it. As soon as the consumer visits the store, they are confronted with the fact that the product is out of stock. One of the following options can then occur:

  • Another similar product is offered at a higher price;
  • The seller comes up with various excuses and tries to offer a product with better features.

How can you recognize it?

You can easily recognize this marketing trick by the following characteristics:

  • A supplier asks for customer payment information too early;
  • A company advertises products at a heavily discounted price without any occasion;
  • A seller who apologizes for being out of stock of an advertised product;
  • A seller who claims that the advertised product is part of a larger product.

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