Speed Reads

How low will you go?

One after-Christmas sale lets the buyer pick the price

If you had the choice between paying $32, $39, or $68 for that $75 sweater you've been lusting after, which price would you choose? Online retailer Everlane — a company that prides itself on "radical transparency" — is putting that exact choice into buyers' hands.

With the click of a mouse, shoppers can choose between three price points for an item, each marked with the profit amount that will go to Everlane for that purchase. The lowest cost only covers production and shipping; the middle cost covers all of that plus overhead for the company's 70-person team; the highest price covers everything the middle cost covers, plus a profit margin that allows the company to "invest in growth."

The choice might seem obvious, but buyers beware: Science of Us reports that what looks good on the price tag doesn't always work well in practice:

People feel bad paying less than what they feel the item is "worth," but at the same time they feel conflicted about choosing to pay more than they have to. And so the promotion, according to the research, often ends up backfiring, and people end up buying nothing at all. [Science of Us]

Everlane has yet to reveal what price is getting picked the most. The sale ends Thursday.