Five ways shops make you spend

Everyone is looking for the best price – especially retailers. They know consumers are becoming more switched on when it comes to identifying shopping tricks, so they’re creating more sophisticated ways of influencing you to spend your hard-earned cash.

Become a savvy shopper by learning the tactics retailers use to make you spend more – and then outsmart them at their own game.  

 1. Background music

Researchers have found that certain types of background music can positively influence sales. Classical music has been found to make shoppers spend more because it is subconsciously associated with affluence. Music also turns shopping into a pleasurable experience, and you’re more likely to linger in a shop if you enjoy the music, giving you more time to browse.

 2. Product placement

Shopper proximity to the product is a major sales tactic. Putting a $200 bottle of perfume at eye level with a tester card allows the customer to enjoy the product for free before they purchase it. The same principle is applied with free supermarket samples. One tip is to look below eye level. Less expensive products are usually kept on lower shelves. This trick is also used with children, who often grab toys and ask their parents to buy them.

 3. Pricing

Shops typically use colourful price tags to give customers the perception of a bargain. Tags are laid over the original price to make the product stand out. The fact is, much of the time the new price is the same as the original price or only a few cents less. So it pays to check before you buy.

Other ways shops use pricing to lure in shoppers is by the numbers themselves. Retailers know that $9.99 looks more appealing than $10.00. By focusing on the dollar amount and ignoring the cents, it becomes easier to spend money on the belief of getting a bargain. It’s called the ‘left-digit effect.’

 4. Sale items

While bargain bins can offer useful products at great discounts, it’s worth knowing that retailers use this tactic to encourage you buy more than just that one item. In retail language, it is called the ‘open-the-wallet effect’. It’s an easy trap into which to fall. A shopper, who commits to buying a $2 mug, could be tempted to keep looking in the bins. Since they are already spending money in the shop, they might as well see what other products are on offer.

 5. A place to rest 

Shopping is a tiring experience – and retailers know this. Kindly, many of them provide seating inside the shop, often nearby the change room. These rest areas are places where customers can unload and have some thinking space – perhaps consider whether to buy that cardigan. Be wary of these rest areas, as they are often placed next to deliberately placed displays of products. 

Another way that retailers take full advantage of shopper ‘down time’ is through the introduction of a café. Think IKEA and Costco – both these shops have eateries as part of their businesses. Not only can they make a little extra cash from shoppers, but they also provide them with somewhere to refresh themselves onsite, so they can continue shopping. 

Of which other retail tricks are you aware? Why not share them so we can all become even better savvy shoppers?

Amelia Theodorakis
Amelia Theodorakis
A writer and communications specialist with eight years’ in startups, SMEs, not-for-profits and corporates. Interests and expertise in gender studies, history, finance, banking, human interest, literature and poetry.
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