You walk into a store to buy some milk and bread and by the time you leave, you’ve got two bags full. Wondering why this happens? Retailers have become increasingly more sophisticated when it comes to using tactics to trick you into spending money.
Related Article: 3 Ways to cut down on compulsive spending
Ambiances are used to create a customer experience and tap into your emotions. By invoking sentimentality, your willingness to pay more increases. Your sense of smell can generate these feelings, which is why fresh flowers and baked goods are often placed at stores’ entrances. Music is also an important factor as it can project a positive image and affect purchasing habits.
Do you ever get lost wandering through isles? By creating confusion, you are exposed to things that you may not necessarily need. This can increase impulsive spending and decrease price sensitivity. Products are also placed specifically within isles, with the more expensive products being at eye level and certain products placed lower down to meet the eye level of children.
Bargains and Sales
Sales lure customers into stores and give them a rush of exhilaration. This creates an excitement about splurging money. Certain bargains can also be tactics to get you to spend more. This is often presented in bulk bargain illusions and ‘buy one get one free’ deals.
By having in-store samples of delicious treats, an increase in the desire for luxury goods is created. These sample treats also slow you down, ensuring that you stay in the store for longer periods of time and potentially spend more money too. A further way to trick people into spending more is having the promoter mimic the gestures of the consumers, making it easier for them to part with the money.
The Price Tag
Restaurants in particular often drop the money sign or “R” when indicating the price. This increases willingness to spend more money. Another way of using the price tag to increase spending is to use cents: a product will be R9.99 instead of R10. The brain tends to ignore the digits on the left, which increases sales significantly. Placing expensive items next to cheaper, but over-priced items is another trick to look out for.
When using cards to pay for goods, consumers tend to spend more. The brain is perceives the purchase as less ‘real’ as it can be dealt with and paid for in the future. Loyalty cards are another example as they provide tracking data to retailers and the idea of the benefits can create both repeat and unnecessary purchases.
The Bigger the Better
Trolley and bag sizes have increased dramatically. With a bigger amount of space to be filled, your brain tempts you into filling it. The emptiness can also generate feelings of excitement, further encouraging you to spend more.
These are all ways in which our brains trick us into spending more money. Be more savvy when shopping by spotting these tricks rather than falling for them.
Written by Shannon Correia