Isn’t capitalism a beautiful thing? Much akin to an unrequited lover who may abuse you only for you to enjoy the pain by the end. Sound tragic? Well it really is, pal. All or most of us and happy in the sheltered knowledge that we are getting off with great deals and steals when in reality we are the ones who actually are being stripped bone dry. And if you don’t believe this the stores are really doing a great job at convincing you! We often get fooled by pricing, sales and other marketing techniques and end up buying things we normally would not have considered worth our money.
Most retail brands are not trying to deceive you out rightly. However, they are also not above going out of their ways to employ their best tricks to get you to spend a little more than what you normally would. By knowing all of their little tricks beforehand, you can enter a store well prepared and are less likely to be lured into buying things you have no intention or use of.
10. Store layouts are designed to encourage buying behavior
More often than not, the very object you are looking for turns out to be the one farthest away from the entrance of the store. Coincidence? Probably not. In most stores, departmental or grocery, the retailers put the most frequently bought items in the back of the store so that you have to walk past several displays when looking for what you need. This means that putting the milk near the end of the store, or the maze-like designs of IKEA stores are not coincidences as much as a way to confuse the masses into getting things they originally had no intention of purchasing.
Forcing you to walk through the entire length of the store results in a strong temptation to shop, that most people are not strong enough to resist. The chances are before you make your way to what you actually needed, you will already have your cart full of things that you don’t need but seem like a great buy. It does not matter if you need things or not, the more items you see, the more you are going to take home with you.
9. Handing Out Freebies
Handing out free samples of everything, from food to perfume is a way to encourage people to buy more. By giving you one on one attention and taking the time out to explain their product to you directly, retailers subconsciously make you feel obligated to buy something from them. While it is true that they spent time on trying to sell you a product, it is in no way different from a TV advert and there is no reason to feel pressured into buying something you don’t think you have need for.
8. Catching Your Eye
The next time you hit a store, take a second to realize that most of the items that you need to buy are actually at eye level. Like everything else, this is not a coincidence; rather it is just a way to influence buying behavior. Products that the stores want to promote, which most usually are products that are bringing in the most profit, are most likely going to be the ones that will be available at eye level. Alternative brands that the store is not as keen to sell, but might be cheaper on the pocket, are what will be on the upper and lower shelves.
Similarly, leading toy stores alter this strategy to target their clientele – the children. The best toys are going to be the ones that are lower than your eye level, but directly in the path of your child’s gaze. This ensures the fact that even if you might miss a toy, your child will not.
7. Giant Shopping Carts
Stores, especially of the supermarket variety, encourage the use of huge shopping carts. When using a shopping cart, a shopper will subconsciously feel the need to fill it with items he might not have normally purchased. When you have a big cart, buying things does not seem like a big deal on account of the large space you have available. The next time you are making your way out to grab a few things, skip the shopping cart in favor of a basket. Not only will there be limited space making you choose between what you buy, but the constant weight in your hand will make you uncomfortable enough to not engage in needless buying.
6. Sizing technique
The fact that sizes vary greatly from store to store is no secret. You might fit snugly into a medium in one store, to find out you wear an extra small in another store. Some brands knowingly mark down their sizes, making you feel like you fit into a smaller size than you usually would. This confidence boost often results in you buying the product, because you subconsciously feel like you look thinner and thus, better in it. To make sure this does not happen to you, go to stores that use international sizing measures in their brand.
5. Taller, narrower packages
While we are repeatedly told not to judge a book by its cover, many of us are guilty of doing exactly that when shopping. For some inexplicable reason, consumers are more drawn to taller packages, without any regard to the width. This has led to several brands repackaging their goods to hold less product while altering their outer container to be longer but narrower. This tricks the consumer into buying a brand that might not be giving them the highest value for their money, thus, causing you to lose money.
4. ‘Up to’ sales
We have all been a victim to this highly effective tactic. You are walking by a store when a sale sign catches your eyes. The gigantic 50% off seems so tempting that the tiny “upto” written right next to it seems inconsequential. You tell yourself you’ll just look at what the store has, only to walk out with more bags than you can comfortably carry. By telling consumers that they are having a sale in which the potential savings could be as much as a staggering 50%, retailers are indirectly telling consumers that shopping right now would save them money in the long run. However, that does not hold true in most cases. More often than not, you end up buying things you don’t need and the discount is miserly, if any.
3. Encouraging Add-Ons
Most sales specialists will encourage you to buy add-ons for your product, especially when buying electronic appliances. From adding a Blu-Ray DVD Player to your stereo set to getting an extra lens with your professional camera, they will talk you into padding up your purchase. Not only will they make it seem like you need these things, but they will make it sound like you are getting them at bargain prices. Make an attempt to know how much these items cost separately and how much utility you can get out of them in the long run before making a purchase.
2. The illusion of bulk bargains
How many times have you bought completely unnecessary items just because they had a 5 for $5 deal going on? Buying in bulk often gives us the illusion that we are getting a great deal. However, that might not be the case. Most items in deals like these often cause $1 on their own as well, making this offer just strategically worded and nothing else.
1. The number nine trick
Retailers like to end their prices with a 9. While buying a $799 TV is the same as buying an $800 TV, research suggests that when making a purchase, consumers tend to pay attention to the first digit of the price. This means that by marking down a product for just one dollar, consumers might actually be fooled into thinking the product is cheaper than it is. To not fall prey to this action, start rounding up the prices upwards to gauge your options better and remain more cost effective while shopping.