5 Tricks that Stores Use to Get You to Spend
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5 Tricks that Stores Use to Get You to Spend

Posted on Thursday, June 9th, 2011 at 4:12 pm
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Are you being tricked into spending more money at the store? Here are the strategies that most retail stores use to separate you from your money. Are you being tricked into spending more money at the store? Here are the strategies that most retail stores use to separate you from your money. Knowing exactly what is going on can help you make smart shopping decisions.

Avoid Extra Spending by Knowing These Store Tricks

1. Ambiance. Stores strive to create a comfortable and enjoyable shopping environment so that shoppers are more likely to linger and browse. Stores achieve this through music, lighting, displays, meandering aisles, smells, and colors. Studies show that soft blue walls create a feeling of calm and rest, causing people to relax and spend more time in the store. It’s proven that the longer people are in a store, the more money they spend.

Many retail stores even use smells to create an enjoyable shopping atmosphere. The infant section might smell like baby powder, swimwear like coconut, and lingerie like lilac. There are two precautions you can take to avoid falling victim to these tricks. One: Identify the trickery. If you walk into a store and see beautiful blue walls and hear calming music, remind yourself that it is just a marketing trick and laugh it off. Two: Shop with a list and on a time limit. If you have somewhere to be, try to squeeze your shopping in right before so that you can’t linger, no matter how hard the store tries.

2. Strategically placed items. Studies have shown that customers are 30% more likely to buy items displayed at the end of the aisle. Why? These items are more easily seen and many shoppers assume they are on sale, even though that is often not the case. Also, the most expensive items are often placed up front and near the register, so avoid those. Furthermore, stores will make sure you know there is a “huge sale,” but make the actual sale items difficult to find so that you might pick up a few other things while you are looking. Just remember to stick to what you came for.

3. But, it was on sale! Shoppers are more likely to buy an item because it is on sale, even if they don’t need it. Stores will mark originally way overpriced items down to what might only be a fair price. Yet, because it is “on sale” people are more likely to buy. Avoid this trick by only buying sale items you know you will use and that you know are a good deal.

4. Freebies. Often, stores draw shoppers in by offering free services such as make-up consultations, how-to demonstrations, and free samples. Studies show that after shoppers feel they have invested their time and the time of the store employees, they feel obligated to make a purchase. Just think about Costco – I know I have bought a few things that weren’t on my list because of the free samples!

5. The big picture. Customers are likely to spend more money when they are able to see all the individual pieces put together. That is why you often see mannequins dressed up with every accessory possible, or why IKEA has an entire floor dedicated to showroom displays. Just remember, such displays are fun to look at, but costly and unrealistic to try to replicate. Use your own creativity and savvy shopping skills instead.

How have you been tricked into buying something you didn’t need? Share with us in the comments below!


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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.