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The following is a guest post. Enjoy!
We have all had the experience of walking into a store to purchase a simple carton of milk and coming out with a shopping cart full of other items! It may be funny when this occurs, but it is not by at all by accident. This is due to the fact that malls and stores alike are deliberately set up to entice you into buying more than you need or want.
This is different than shopping for items online. Take looking around the Internet for a credit card for example. At least when it comes to this exercise, you can research online and spend time finding the most suitable card for you. You can use a reputable and informative site to view a whole range of cards offering low APR, rewards, and cash back features.
On the other hand, malls and stores have spent millions of dollars researching the psychology behind shopping. Everything is done for a purpose, and many of these strategies are subtle but effective. The atmosphere, the lighting, the carpeting, and the shelves are all set out within a store to achieve maximum sales of the most profitable goods and to keep shoppers in the store for longer periods of time.
Have you ever wondered why the toy departments or washrooms are placed at the back of the store? It is because customers have no choice but to walk through other departments to reach them. In this way, customers are exposed to goods they may not have otherwise seen, and therefore, this creates a sales opportunity. It is a clever and common technique employed by most retailers.
High-priced goods are displayed on shelves which allow easy access, whilst their lower-priced counterparts are placed on lower or higher shelves which are not as convenient. In the busy rush of daily life, consumers will often just reach out and take what is there without seeing the cheaper alternatives.
Some manufacturers pay stores more for their goods to be placed within easy reach. Often time, products will be put in some sort of bin or in a particular area to suggest they are a bargain. Check carefully before trusting that this is true as sometimes it is simply a psychological trick. Many times, the items are reduced, but only minimally.
When purchasing perishable goods especially, think about how long they will last. It can be what is known as a ‘false economy.’ You may save a dollar on fruit in the reduced aisle, but if this has to be eaten within 24 hours, it may not be such a bargain. Check the price against regular fruit that will not spoil so quickly.
Psychological research shows that when shopping, consumers are more likely to purchase an item if they touch it. This is why you will find soft cashmere sweaters near the entrance to a store.
Using a shopping cart frees your hands to touch items, which is when temptation is strongest. If possible, use a basket or at least the smallest size shopping cart. Human beings do not like empty space, so a smaller cart will feel better than a larger one. The risk with this is it looks empty, even when you have many items in there.
The best advice is to prepare a list before entering the shop and stick to it. Don’t be seduced by the sights and smells of the store! Be single-minded and you will save money by shopping smartly.
How about you all? What strategies have you seen that stores/retailers use to get customers to spend more? Have you ever encountered or fallen prey to any of the ones on this list above?
What tips do you have for other readers to avoid these schemes?
Share your experiences by commenting below!
Jacob’s Thoughts – Listed below are my random thoughts as I was reading this article.
***Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/james_lumb/5587734031/lightbox/
Hi folks! My name is Jacob. I am the owner and operator of My Personal Finance Journey. I started this blog in January of 2010 and have enjoyed the journey ever since. Since finishing up graduate school in Virginia in 2014, I have been working in biopharmaceutical development in Colorado. You can read more about me and this site here. Please contact me if you have any questions!
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