You fix a day to go out shopping, prepare a list of essentials you need, chalk out a budget and even set aside some extra cash for impulse buys. But what happens on D-Day? You end up exceeding your budget and bringing home items you never even planned to buy in the first place.
Yet again, you fell for the clever marketing tactics that were too hard to ignore. From the time you walk into a store to the moment you step out, you are psychologically and physically lured into making impulse decisions. And the same goes for shopping websites. Retailers try every trick in the book to make you spend more and the clever part is that you don’t even realize that you are falling for their tricks.
So what are these tactics really?
Loud, red banners
This is the number one trick in the book that marketers use to tap into your impulses. You must have seen signs like these at every store with words like ‘Sale’, ‘Reduced To Clear’, ‘Hurry, limited-time only’, etc. This tactic is designed to make purchasers feel that this is their only shot at getting this deal. Plus, you would notice that most of these signs are in red since the color creates a sense of urgency and is associated with movement and excitement.
Strategic product placement
Have you ever wondered why almost every store is designed in a similar way? It’s all a ploy to make you spend more. Stores place their products strategically to appeal to the psyche of a shopper. For instance, every POS area has an attractive display of products that are novel or inexpensive so that shoppers can make a quick addition to their carts during checkout. Similarly, certain products or merchandise are kept next to best-selling items to boost their visibility. Even the individual shelves are designed to make you buy more. You may find complementary products such as taco shells and salsa placed close to each other.
Targeted ads and emails
Since many of us do a majority of our shopping online, retailers have found innovative ways to reach out to us through strategically targeted ads. You may have observed this while searching for a product and the advertisement of the same product appearing moments later on your social media feed. Retailers also bombard customers with marketing emails with over-the-top subject lines or sending attractive offers on items that you left in your shopping cart.
[Related: 5 ways to curb your shopping impulse]
Larger shopping carts
The average size of shopping carts has increased considerably in the past few years since studies suggest that bigger carts make people spend more. Customers are usually tempted to fill up their carts before checkout and the size directly impacts the number of products one can accommodate. In other words, the bigger the cart, the more you are likely to spend.
The .99 trick
Pricing games are used by retailers to influence your perception of price and trick you into believing that you are paying less than you actually are. This is also known as the “left-digit effect”. You will find many products in the store priced like that, i.e. AED 49.99, AED 10.99, etc.