The consumer driven economy of today is a direct result of canny advertising and marketing strategies. Here are a few tricks retailers use to captivate your attention.
The next time someone calls you a spendthrift just blame it on the retailers and their advertising strategy. Retailers and e-retailers have some clever tricks up their sleeves which makes people spend. But, the magic is lost once you know the trick. You are no more awed or amused.
The consumer driven economy of today is a direct result of canny advertising and marketing strategies. But consumerism may not always work in your favour. There are too many cool and funky things out there in the market that you do not need, but are encouraged to buy. We understand it’s not easy to fight the irresistible pull of shopping; so we’ve decided to unveil the tricks retailers use to captivate your attention.
Once aware of these tricks, you can flash an all-knowing smile and walk away without spending your hard-earned money.
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Use A Decoy
When you are going through products in a store you probably first check the price tag. You tend to look for something nice that’ll fit your budget. But do you really know what your budget is? Most people do not come with an amount in mind. They usually just have a rough idea. This works in the favour of retailers. They place products of differing prices next to each other to makes you feel like you bought something expensive for a bargain.
For example, if three items priced for Rs. 1,000, Rs. 1,500 and Rs. 2,000 are placed next to each other, you are most likely to pick the item costing Rs. 1,500. The three different prices act as a diversion to make something expensive look economical.
The next time you are out shopping, look out for decoy pricing. You’ll find this trick widely used in menus at restaurants.
Are you in the habit of picking up packs of chewing gum and chocolates while waiting your turn at the billing counter? This is a marketing gimmick to make you spend. In fact, these little pocket-friendly items have been intentionally placed next to the billing counter.
Exhausted from shopping, you are quite likely to indulge in these treats. Nobody thinks of exercising self-control at this time. They’re just there to entice shoppers to part with a little extra money.
It’s the feeling of being lost in big stores. Didn’t think this lost feeling will make you purchase stuff, did you? Interestingly, it does. This phenomenon of ‘shopping under the feeling of being lost’ is named after the architect Victor Gruen, a man credited with the task of designing ginormous malls.
So, what’s the deal here? Well, when you are lost, you tend to spend more time in the store figuring out how to get out. This puts you under stress, which in turn makes you impulse shop. Moreover, as you move between alleys and towers of products over and over again a sense of familiarity settles in.
Prices which made you raise your eyebrows once don’t seem all that threatening any more. This strips you of your pricing inhibitions and makes you dip into your wallet again.
Ditch The Bag
The moment you set foot inside a store what’s the first thing you are treated to? Usually, a welcome note. What’s next? A shopping bag. Yeah, a big shopping bag. But how is that a trick? Isn’t it convenient and really sweet of the stores to hand you one?
Well, this empty bag is full of clever tricks. Holding an empty bag makes you buy more. It’s the idea of filling it up. Also the longer you hold the bag, the deeper your bond with it and hence more time you spend in the store. By the end of your shopping sprint it feels a little bad giving that bag away.
Do we need to tell you what you must do next time? Never take that shopping bag. If you see a store assistant walking towards you with a smile and a shopping bag, do an about turn and run. Hide behind the mannequins, but don’t take the shopping bag. Use your two strong arms to hold all the items you want. Once your mobility is weighed down you’ll automatically purchase limited things.
Big Denomination Scare
Is it easier to part with a Rs. 500 note or a Rs. 1,000 note? Of course the smaller amount. Gives you the feeling that you are spending less. Well, the retailers know this. How do they exploit this cognitive behaviour? They stock cheaper products in large numbers rather than stocking high value items.
When you buy cheaper things you don’t really feel the pinch of shopping and spend more. Go back to the second point – strategic placement. All those items at the check-out counter are tiny and easy on the pocket.
Do you have a friend who can shop all he/she wants in 30 mins flat while you need one day to window shop, one day to decide and another entire day to make the purchase? Long-form shopping works fine with brick and mortar stores, but it is not a good practice to follow online.
Why? Because e-retailers watch you while you browse their website. They study your pattern and behaviour and can predict what you buy and when you will it. That’s their job – predictive analysis. However, retailers often ramp up the prices of products if a person spends a long time on their website and drop it for those who just make a quick pit stop.
If quick purchases are not your thing then you should browse in incognito mode and remove all your cookies. This will prevent retailers from following you around and changing the prices of products. Now you can browse at your own pace.
Eye To Eye
Looking a person in the eyes (not staring) while talking translates to effective communication skill. When you enter a store you will spot those products which are at your eye level first. It’s comfortable. If you pay close attention, you’ll see that products kept at your eye level are the costliest and, hence, most profitable to the retailer.
Likewise, if you go to a store for kids, you’ll see the toys placed at the height level of kids. You are more likely to pick stuff kept within your arm’s reach.
Another trick retailers follow is to move you from the right side of the store to the left. This is because most people are right-handed and this movement allows them to grab things with their dominant hand. Guess this saves the left-handers some money.
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You are done with shopping and very glad about it because you stuck to your shopping list. Then, as you near the payment counter you see aisles loaded with essential food items. Of course, the sugar is running out or the fruits kept in lovely wickers baskets look delicious.
Then very innocently you start exploring the aisle for grocery items you might need. Well, you’ve just walked into a trap. Food items are intentionally kept towards the end of the store, usually by the billing counter, so you are tempted to pick all those nice edibles you do not need. There goes your vow to stick to your shopping list.
Ditch The Discount
Discounts are not really discounts. You might feel that a flat 50% discounts or ‘buy one, get one free’ offers are good news. No, they aren’t. If companies actually started discounting their products, they’ll never ever break even, much less think about making a profit. The supposed discount is still a profit for the company.
Moreover, when you see a ‘buy one, get one free’ offer, the price of the first product helps cover for the second one. You are not really being smart while shopping during sale and discount season. Have you ever noticed you spend a lot more during sale time? Make note next time.
Big Expenses Come In Big Packages
How many times have you been tempted to buy the economical packs—6 cartons of juices, a pack of three soaps—because they are cheaper. Are we going to say that it’s actually not cheap? Yes, we are. Glad you understand us by now.
It’s all nice to buy things in bulk since it goes well with the Indian hoarding habit. It might even be cheaper on your pocket at that instant. But research says that when you stock up more you consume more. Then when you consume more you need to buy more.
Hmm, food for thought. Next time buy one item at a time. You’ll use the product economically and it’ll save you a lot of money.
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What comes free? Nothing. So what are all those stalls that advertise free samples? That’s another trap. You go in for the free sample but get attracted to all the nice things placed around this free product. You even buy them.
What have the retailers done? They have killed two birds with one stone. Firstly, they introduced a new product to you with free samples and then placed cool things around this free product to make you spend.
Expenses Are Meshed
There is something nice about going to the farmer’s market and handpicking veggies. But who has the time? You just need to go around to the corner shop and pick the pre-packed veggies in mesh bags. They seem good quality and at the same price at which hawkers sell.
Is that true? Not really. Mesh wrapped veggies are often more expensive than loose veggies and you don’t even get to pick the best. You’ve got to deal with a mix of good and bad. So, always opt for the handpicked ones.
Trap Of Technology
What’s this? When you buy an expensive phone with a crazy in-built memory and a superfast processor you fill it with apps. All kinds of e-commerce apps. Even the ones you don’t use. Then you switch on the notification for the apps, constantly being bombarded about offers or sale.
How do you suppose you won’t succumb to such consistent nagging? You will. If not on Monday then on Friday. Under the influence of a good Long Island, you probably will succumb to one of these notifications and make the purchase. You might not need it, but you buy it. Money wastefully spent.
Apocalyptic buying happens when websites or hoardings scream something along the lines of – ‘last few days, last few items, fast selling, offer lasts 3 mins’. Nothing is that short lived, but you are made to believe that it is. It creates stress and the only way to mitigate it is to make the purchase.
Then you feel special that you are among the last few who got their hands on the deal. Actually you are one among the crowd that falls for such trickery. This selling strategy is literally like goading sheep inside the barn. They have no choice but to get inside and you have no choice but to buy. Be smart next time.
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These are some of the methods retailers adopt to make you spend your hard earned money. They are smart tricks and hence we won’t blame you for not catching them. But now that you know these tricks don’t continue spending on things you don’t want.
Make your shopping list sitting in the house and adhere to it strictly. You’ll be pleased to see more money in your account at the end of it. If you want to save more get a cashback or a rewards Credit Card.