“Oh, no! I thought that sale ran through today!” Your customer planned on grabbing a bargain, only to realize she got to your store a day after the sale ended. Is there any way you can still convince her to buy? Well, read on.

One researcher recently worked with a kitchen-and-bath store to offer consumers different coffeemakers “on sale.” Customers were told they had just missed a $25-off sale on a Cuisinart coffeemaker. As solace, one group was invited to get the Cuisinart for $10 off. Another group was given a choice of either the Cuisinart or a similar Krups coffeemaker at $10 off.

Turns out, 87% of the latecomers who were offered the Cuisinart at $10 off said “no thanks.” However, of those who were offered either the Cuisinart or the Krups at $10 off, only 60% said no: 40% made a purchase.

Why did the offer of the Krups boost sales results here? The researcher suggests that consumers may transfer the “negative affect” (regret at missing a sale) to the promoted product itself, leading to a lower opinion of the product.

The message for marketers? You might want to “time sales of different brands, or even of different items in [a] product line, to ensure that a consumer who misses a sale on one product can find another sale on a different yet similar product,” this researcher suggests.

Keep those options coming. When one item goes off sale, consider offering similar products at a slight reduction, to keep sale latecomers happy.

Source: “Releasing the Regret Lock: Consumer Response to New Alternatives after a Sale,” by Michael Tsiros. Journal of Consumer Research.