top of page


Price Presentation Techniques for Captivating International Tourists

Europe's Elite Retailers' Secret

When selling to international tourists, the way you present the price of your product or service can be the main cause of losing sales.

This is due to you not presenting the full benefit of your price, including Tax savings.

Most salespeople who deal with international customers from China, Arabia, Russia, America, or any other nationality present the retail price as it is written on the tag. This can be the cause of losing many sales. The reasons are:

1- International tourists think that the same product is cheaper in their countries

If you work in a country like the UK or France, then this is usually true. European retail prices, if compared to the ones in Dubai, Hong Kong, the Caribbean, and many other places around the world, are normally more expensive. This is due to a relatively high VAT rate in European countries (%20 in France, 19% in Germany & 21% in Spain).

Be sure that every customer, even HNWIs, shops around; psychologically, all tourists like to believe that prices in their countries are lower!

Through my experience in the jewelry and watches retail market in Europe, I can recall only 2 countries where retail prices are higher, China and Brazil. Everywhere else, mostly, is cheaper than Europe.

So, if you work within a global brand or if your product is available internationally, then you are giving ample reason for your shoppers not to buy from you if you present them with the tag price in Europe as it is.

2- International tourists prefer to buy from airports Duty-Free.

Do you remember spending a long time with an International tourist, presenting products, helping them try them on, talking them through objections and so on… only to end the relationship with your customer asking you to write the product model number on a piece of paper, revealing, to your tortured soul, that they will buy it from the airport?!!! Yes, I know how this feels… torturous.

International tourists feel safer and more comfortable buying from Duty-Free areas in airports. They consider that airport pricing procedures and retailing rules are standardised, which removes the hassle of haggling or presuming that the local market retailer is making use of them due to their lack of knowledge about local prices, currency, etc.

Another reason why these tourists prefer airport shopping is that, in their minds, prices in airports are tax-free. And this is normally true. So why buy from you when they can get the same product free of tax (cheaper for them) on their way out of the country?

This is especially true if your brand has a shop or presence in your country’s airport.

3- International customers feel that your retail price is an invitation to ask for a discount.

Most international customers we meet in Europe come from Eastern cultured countries where retail prices are considered as guidelines only, and they are not supposed to be the final price that the customer would pay.

These customers come from a culture where haggling is an integral part of buying anything, and they actually enjoy it as much as they enjoy owning the product or service.

If you present the tag price as it is to them, then you are indirectly inviting the customer to ask you about your best price before they commit to the purchase. And usually, if they feel that you are not moving on price, they will move on and try to shop elsewhere because this is how it is in their countries.

The Solution

In order to avoid the whole dilemma and make sure that you are giving yourself and your product the best chance to make a sale, you need to adjust the way you present your price. So let’s make the following a habit:

When asked about the price of an item, the best way to present it is as follows:

Retail Price:

Of course, present the tag price as it is on the item.

Price Ex VAT:

Without the customer asking you, immediately follow up your price with the price without the VAT. This is because your customer has the ability to claim the VAT at the airport (or sometimes, in certain countries and for certain prices, they can claim it immediately from a VAT centre on your high street).

Mention the savings:

Again, without a question from your client’s side, always mention how much they would be saving if they buy this product from you, today.

This doesn’t have to be a lengthy process; you can do it quickly and casually. Also, this process of presenting price would get easier and feel more natural if you make it a habit and use it more and more.

So, to put it in practical terms, let's imagine the following scenario:

Customer: “How much is this?”

You: “This is 200” (tag Price), “After VAT, it would be around 170”, (with a surprised look). “Wow, so you would be saving about 30 if you buy it from us today.”

Okay, let’s look at the components of this answer and try to make it easier for you to perform every time:

Problem: calculating and memorising VAT for every product in your store?!

Of course not. First of all, if you notice above, you are using estimation of VAT and not exact figures. Tourists don’t expect you to give them the exact figure of VAT unless they ask you to calculate it for them.

Also, you are trying to be helpful by showing the client that you are making an extra effort to help them estimate the final price, which they always try to do silently in their heads.

Now there is a nice trick, which can be tremendously helpful to you when estimating the VAT.

Ask your VAT processing company (the company that processes the VAT forms you give to your clients. You can find their name and contact details on the forms near your till) to provide you with a VAT deduction/ calculation table. This is a VAT table that shows you (in monetary terms) how much money can be claimed on each item according to a range of prices, ex: 0 to 30, 31 to 50, 51 to 100 etc.

Usually, this would be on an A4 size paper.

Reduce the size of the paper (using a photocopier) to 25% of A4 (to fit in your shirt or blazer pocket); laminate it and keep it with you at all times.

Now anytime you want to present the price, it would take a couple of seconds to peak at your VAT table and see which price category your product lies under, thus telling the customer the estimated amount to claim.

The more you do this, the easier it will be to remember the VAT amount on each price category in your collection. Practice makes perfect.

The benefits:

1. Your price becomes more competitive

When you deduct the VAT from European retail prices, they become extremely competitive in comparison to the ones in any other part of the world. This is, as I mentioned earlier, because Europe, in general, has a high rate of VAT, so you are, in real terms taking out a big chunk of the price already.

2. Your customer will think twice before asking for a discount

When you mention how much savings your international customer is making by buying from you, you are psychologically telling the customer that you already made a gesture on the price and they are already saving money.

This is a great deterrent for any customer to ask for a discount on top of this. Even the ones who cheekily still ask for a discount would do it apologetically and would be prepared to accept a “no discount” answer from you, reminding them of the savings they are already making as international customers, which is not available for local clients… lucky them.

3. Your customer would stop thinking about buying from the airport

For international customers who try the product on the high street and ask for the model number thinking that buying it from the airport duty-free is cheaper, well now they have no excuse not to buy it from you, especially if you mention that what they decided on is readily available now in your store and there is no guarantee that they would find the exact same product in the airport while rushing to catch a flight.

4. Your customer would think of the saving, not the price

All experts in customer psychology agree that the price that matters to the customer is the last price they hear in a conversation. So, when you mention how much they would save at the end of the price presentation sentence, you are putting the savings number at the end (see customer/salesperson dialogue above), which would make it the only number they are thinking about.

So, to use the example above, your customer would be thinking about saving 30, not about spending 200 (retail price). And as we all know, thinking about saving is much more encouraging than thinking about spending.

5. You can close sales quicker

If you notice, when mentioning how much the customer would save, I used the term: “IF you buy it from us Today.” And this is rather deliberate and essential.

When you see any promotion anywhere in the world and for any product, you will notice that it is limited by time. Ex: “For this week only, buy one t-shirt and get the second half price”. No company would offer an open-ended promotion because it would lose its power.

This is because marketers know the power of urgency when linked to promotions. Customers feel that if they don’t act within the time limit, they will lose their savings.

So, when you remind your international customers that their time limit is while they are in your store today (because they simply don’t live in your country), then you are creating a sense of urgency in your customer’s mind, which is an extra push to commit to the purchase as no one wants to lose the saving.

We tried this strategy ourselves as salespersons, and we’ve seen the evidence of an increase in sales when companies that we consult for use this formula… This works; you have our promise. The only thing you need to do now is to try it.

The more you do it, the easier and more natural it will feel.


We hope that you enjoyed and benefited from this article, and we would really appreciate your opinion by writing to us through the Contact Us page.

Thank you!


bottom of page