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How Retailers Get You To Buy and How to Outsmart Them

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Most people are oblivious as to how much they channel into each of their shopping experiences. Average shoppers, give little thought to this and there’s a reason for this.

Brick-and-motor stores along with their online counterparts make money by feeding your mind with the illusion that every dollar you spend is never enough.

Retailers have the slightest details capable of making us spend our last dollar at the tip of their fingers.

This post discusses how retailers get you to spend and a few tips on how you can outsmart them. Here’s what you should know.

1. It’s All About the Atmosphere

Did you know that approximately 70 percent of your purchases are totally uncalled for? These massive amounts of spending can be linked to the ambiance; nothing more, nothing less.

Retailers tap into your senses and provide a pleasing scent, music and best of all, eye-catching color combinations that keep you in the store for longer.

They use striking colors like brown and orange to instill a feeling of warmth and coziness, blue to implicit reliability and trust, and red to get your attention and make you a regular at their stores.

Most of their products are packaged in white – symbolizing honesty, simplicity and purity.

Be one step ahead of their impressively cheeky strategy and pre-plan a whole lot of deals prior to your visit to the store.

Decide on where to shop, have a shopping list at hand and be sure to shop like a minimalist. Be sure to stick to what you’re supposed to buy and step out of the store a satisfied shopper.

2. Constantly Adjusting the Store Layout

Retailers take full advantage of the fact that shoppers are fed up with abysmal services and buying expensive but mediocre products.

While some resort to online shopping, there are those who still cling on to brick-and-mortar stores.

If you’re one of them, always be mindful of how the products on the shelves are arranged.

A number of retailers have adopted the practice of periodically shuffling their products in a bid to keep you from shopping in one aisle.

The more you walk around the store, the more products you’re bound to add to your cart. More often than not, the higher priced items are kept at eye level. The more you take, the more they earn.

Your game plan? If you need something and it’s not where you left it on your last visit, ask a nearby salesperson to help you locate it.

Not only will you be saving time, but you’ll also be saving money not buying stuff that’s not on your shopping list.

When you’re done shopping, don’t let the neatly arranged goodies on the shelves you walk past get your attention.

Keep your eyes fixed to the cashier and step out knowing you’ve bought whatever brought you there in the first place.

From thereon henceforth, make it a personal goal never to buy items simply because they’re cheap and readily available.

3. The Classic Upselling Trick

Especially when shopping online, retailers will indicate the number of people who have bought a specific item (t-shirt, TV, a pair of shoes, etc).

There’s no point in knowing how many people have the same thing you want to buy.

They also recommend products that are commonly purchased with what you want to buy.

They will mostly recommend the products that most people have purchased with the hopes that you’ll purchase it as well.

Their end game is to make you buy more than one item before you log out and buy the same item elsewhere.

No one enjoys being told what to buy. Be it as it may, there are those individuals that are still desperate to fit in.

Once they see a specific shirt or a pair shoe flying off the shelves, they may jump on it before it’s sold out. Such people feel left out if they don’t get the most sought after items.

If you’re one of them, it’s about time you reconsidered and prioritized your choices.

Realize that most of these recommendations are insider trading tricks retailers use to get hold of your money.

As a matter of fact, most sites today don’t have the necessary tools or software to verify whether or not the number of sales provided by the retailers is up-to-date.

You may very well be buying something that was in fashion the previous year.

4. Using Clever Wording to their Advantage

Most retail stores have mastered the art of deceiving you into believing that terms like ‘Hot Deal’ or ‘Special’ translate to relatively lower prices.

The following are some of the most common retail marketing phrases used by top retailers to automatically convert your wants into needs.

  • Simply amazing
  • Enrich your beauty (beauty products)
  • Gorgeous to the last detail (to promote trendy shoes or outfits)
  • Exceptional value
  • Be noticed (fragrances and perfumes)
  • Our reputation precedes us
  • Enjoy the best that life has to offer (mostly for sports equipment or activewear industries)
  • Instant Energy (for energy drinks)
  • A celebration of life (for brands that have withstood the test of time)

The creativity in these wordings always has us buying more than we bargained for. We would all want to look ‘Simply Amazing’ or wear outfits that are ‘Gorgeous to the Last Detail’.

Paying attention to these phrases only distracts you from the bigger picture: their prices.

Retailers effortlessly manipulate us into purchasing products that are way beyond our average paycheck.

Of the nine carefully-thought-of marketing phrases above, don’t pay attention to any one of them. They can quickly drive you into purchasing products you’ve never bought before.

We’ve all fallen prey to their clever wording tactic, but never again.

5. Extraordinarily Spacious Carts

Have you ever noticed the differences in the sizes of carts in retail stores? Most of the time we’re in a rush to get our shopping spree over and done with that we fail to notice crucial details like these.

When you walk with a bigger-than-usual cart, your spending senses begin to tingle. At times, it gets tempting to fill up the extra void after you’ve bought what you needed to buy.

Most people step into one of the many big-box retailers with a few items on their list.

By the time they’re done, they have no idea how they ended up driving away with a trunk-full of purchases. Don’t beat yourself up about it.

In any case, retailers have made it hard tracking shopping baskets in recent years.

If you were wondering why you can’t get a basket from the entrance nowadays, now you know that it’s an intentional move from the retailers to get you to use the carts.

Using the carts will significantly impact the number of items you pick up while shopping.

Whenever you go out shopping and you know that baskets are going to be hard to find, consider bringing along a handy shopping tote to carry only the items on your list.

Keep your receipt as short as possible by buying as many items as your tote can handle.

6. Playing the Friend Card

Salespeople tack on the friendly charm when the retail gets competitive – especially during the holidays.

Between the million-dollar smiles, personalized suggestions and intimate conversations, you may feel like you’re talking to an old friend.

Just because sales clerks approach you with a contagious smile, it doesn’t automatically make them your friends. They’re on a mission to empty your pockets in the shortest time possible.

The more you spend, the more they’re paid. Rather than wasting your time on pointless product conversations, play them at their own game.

Only if you need a product, then can you look their way.

When you ask them for assistance and they begin talking you into purchasing extra merchandise, either pass them politely or tell them to back off, depending on how aggressive they are.

7. Making You Look and Feel Like a Million Bucks

Although you already do, retailers will go the extra mile to give your eyes what they want to see. When trying out a dress or suit or any clothing in particular, never trust your eyes.

Retailers know when their flattery works on you and what to do if it doesn’t.

For most shoppers, a misleading tag is all it takes to make them believe that they’re smaller than they really are.

In your mind, you know you it’s a lie, but you would pay anything to make it a reality in the physical.

You may be under the false illusion that clothes will make you a lot slimmer when, in the real sense, there’s no difference at all.

You will be provided with mirrors and extra lighting that play with your complexion and make you look more toned and leaner than usual.

Never trust results from a retail mirror – no matter how impressive it may be. Refer to the mirror in your dressing room for the real results. From there, you’ll judge for yourself if you want the outfit or not.

If it looks good in your eyes (and not the retailer’s), buy it and try it out at home in the absence of special lighting and fancy mirrors.

It will then be up to you to purchase more like that specific one of the same size.

8. ‘Buy Two, Three, or More and Get One Free’ Deals

Deals like these are common in almost every retail store. They put it out there in a way that captures your attention. At the back of your mind, you’ll be keen on not letting that ‘good deal’ go to waste.

The whole point of packaging products strategically and printing out ‘Buy 3 for $6’ and such like promotions is to get you to spend more. To make the deal sweeter, they add an exclamation mark to it.

Wise shoppers will read between the lines and realize that they’re spending two for each. Offers like these are meant to give you the assumption that purchasing a single product is missing a worthwhile deal.

‘Why pay $39 for one jacket when you can walk away with two for a mere $11?’ This kind of response is what’s expected by retailers.

Especially during the holidays, it’s common to find deals like these in every store you visit. Think twice when the deal is too sweet.

Don’t cook up reasons to buy more than necessary just to take advantage of a supposedly good deal.

Before you squeeze your cart with packs of soap, yoghurt and related items, ask yourself this question: how on earth can you claim to save money by ‘giving away’ a massive chunk of it? Food for thought.

9. Nudging You to Complete Your Online Purchases

Just as brick-and-mortar store retailers have a few a few tricks up their marketing sleeves, so do online retailers.

There must be a reason why, for example, Amazon’s purchase feature – ‘one-click’ – is highly convenient.

Once you take time to re-evaluate your credit card information, billing and shipping, you may think twice about whether to make that purchase or not.

Do the wise thing and turn off the one-click ordering feature and steer clear from saving your credit card information on similar websites.

Never start a process you can’t complete. Check out the item and include it in your spending plan, but never click on the ‘Buy Now’ button.

Once you leave a purchase incomplete or your cart empty, your inbox will be flooded with emails ‘begging’ you to purchase the items you’ve left behind.

10. Decorating their Display with Noteworthy Merchandise

Retailers spruce their displays with vibrant lights, bright colors and eye-catching merchandise in a bid to lure more and more shoppers into their shops. This is a strategy referred to as ‘visual merchandising’.

Displays are known to draw the attention of unsuspecting shoppers to products they may or may not have noticed.

People are of the idea that these innovative arrangements have a lot to say about the popularity or quality of a product.

The message that most displays convey is that the retailer has commodities they would like you to purchase.

Placing items in displays isn’t the most recent, trendiest, or the most productive means of conveying that message subliminally to potential customers.

In most cases, retailers are making either their most profitable or hard-to-sell products a significant part of their display. If you want to keep your money intact, don’t be lured by what you see n the displays.

You’re a smart shopper. When passing by retail stores with a stunning display, your shopping sense should enable you to compare quality, quantity, and most of all, the price of whatever you want to buy. That’s a sure way of keeping your budget intact.

11. Wooing You with Free Shipping Offers

However wonderful and useful free shipping may be, there are various free shipping minimums designed to get you to part with most of your budgeted money.

A sizeable portion of shoppers would prefer to receive their package at no cost compared to spending less and catering for the shipping costs.

As the saying goes, ‘there’s nothing in life as fake as free lunch.’ With every free shipping offer, there must be a catch.

E-commerce retailers, in one way or another, have to pay the carriers in one way or another. Who better to cater for it unknowingly than you, the oblivious consumer?

Through the average cost of admission in the form of a minimum-order requirement, you cater for the hidden fees.

Depending on how good or bad online sales are, carriers will either lower or raise their costs by a small percentage.

Last year, Postal Service, a member of the inflationary fraternity, increased its rates by a meagre 4.9 percent.

Counter enticing free shipping deals by shopping exclusively at online retailers that ship products for free with no added minimums.

If there are none, you’ll just have to wait till your preferred online shopping site runs a monthly or annual free shipping promotion.

12. Placing Impulse Buys at Strategic Angles

Time and again, retailers will set either displays or bins of small-sized items by the register, enticing you to grab one or more items before coming face to face with the cashier.

If you spend a better part of your day at malls and retail stores, don’t question yourself about why you keep buying stuff you really don’t need.

Retailers take advantage of your need to feel wealthier than you are and place high-priced products at certain angles on the shelves that you simply can’t ignore.

Knowingly or unknowingly, we fall prey to this classic move each time we step into the store. The more enticing it looks, the bigger the urge to have it in your cart.

While most of these items are a sure way to try out products you’ve wanted to try out, you may get tempted enough to buy more than what’s in your credit card.

Impulse buying has been around for a while now. Retailers have benefited greatly by playing around with your desire to have only the best things that life has to offer.

To counter this age-old move, have a personal spending limit prior to making your way to the store.

If you’ve set a limit of $50 for example, carry no more than that on your next visit to the store.

Once you’ve reached the limit, you may want to pick up something abruptly but you remember that you’ve reached your spending limit.

13. Using Your Little Ones as Their Sales Representatives

Okay, not in a literal way, but sure enough, retailers are willing to go as far as using your little ones to get you to go deeper into your wallet.

As dirty a trick as it may be, retailers know that we say no to their product, but less likely to our kids. I’ve often found myself in a relatable predicament such as this.

Did you know that the average consumer spends approximately 30% more when they shop with their kids? No, your kids are not to blame.

While placing impulse buys at strategic points at the store may lure you into buying more, your kids are no different.

Kids Are Smart

They know they don’t have the money, so they look to you to fulfill their urge to get home with that trendy Barbie doll or Transformers action figure.

If it were up to them, they wouldn’t mind picking up any food or toy that catches their attention. Since it’s not, they use you instead.

Unless you put your foot on the ground and decide not to surrender to your young one’s whims, you may end up using up more than you planned to.

The more your child insists (either through adorable puppy dog eyes or annoying tantrums), the more you spend, and the more money your retailer gains in the long run.

How can you shop with your kids without spending 30% more of your hard earned cash? Decide in advance if you’re going to buy them something at the store.

If you are, don’t let them be the ones to tell you what to buy. As a matter of fact, don’t let them anywhere near items that catch their eye.

If you try this and your child still wants anything and everything, it would be best to teach them a thing or two about money or leave them at home and let you do your shopping in a clear mind.

Be Smart and Keep Those Precious Dollars Intact

Using well-crafted schemes like these, retail stores devise plans to get shoppers to shop for longer, spend their last dime, and make their way back the next day.

The market place generally thrives on consumer persuasion. According to Paco Underhill, author of ‘Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping’ if we were to buy only the things we need, the economy would suffer a major blow.

No one wishes for the economy to get worse than it is at the moment but neither do we want to spend more than we’re earning.

At a time when the young and the old have made retail stores their second home, it would be wise to keep those precious dollars in your pocket by being ahead of the retailers and beating them at their own game.

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