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We all know retailers use marketing tricks to get us to buy more. Everything from the music on the intercom to the scents in the air have been carefully orchestrated to maximize sales.
Money Talks News has previously tackled the subject of grocery store tricks of the trade, and today we’ll check out something a bit more holiday-related: department stores.
Start with this video from Money Talks founder Stacy Johnson to see how retailers may be tricking you into spending more than you planned.
If you want to learn more and are up for some heavy reading, you could check out this 2001 report from Hong Kong detailing how store environments impact shopping behaviors. Otherwise, we’ll make it easy for you: Here are five ways department stores convince you to blow your budget.
1. Store layout means laying out more cash
When it comes to a store’s layout, nothing is left to chance.
At the mall, for example, the most appealing items may be placed front and center to convince you to walk in.
Then, on your right, you’ll find some of the most profitable items in the store. For whatever reason, we are programmed to veer right when entering, and stores want the next thing we see to be something profitable.
Of course, clearance racks will be in the very back so you need to pass everything else before you can reach the discounted merchandise. As a bonus, the long walk keeps you in the store longer. And the longer you’re in the store, the more purchase opportunities you can be presented with.
If it weren’t bad enough stores are using human nature to manipulate us, it seems to be only a matter of time before your smartphone turns against you too. UK company Path Intelligence has developed technology that will pick up signals coming from mobile devices and use those signals to track shopping patterns and help businesses improve their layout and sales.
2. “Racetrack” flooring for “pit stop” purchasing
The Hong Kong study makes mention of racetrack layouts that lead shoppers to walk around the store with little thought to where they are going or what they are looking for.
That’s essentially the purpose of the smooth linoleum floor in department stores, with carpet off to the sides. You enter the store and vroom, vroom, you’re on the track. Maybe what you need isn’t far inside but by golly, you are going to follow that walkway all the way around the store.
When you see something interesting, you are going to step off the racetrack and onto the carpeted floor and then suddenly feel calm, relaxed … like maybe you’ll just want to stand there for a while and see what else is available on the nearby racks.
I know you think I am making this up, but really, pay attention the next time you are in a department store and see if I’m right.
3. You’ll need a rest by the time you reach the restroom
Remember how I said nothing is left to chance when setting up a store’s configuration? That goes for the restrooms too.
Retailers aren’t necessarily trying to annoy you when they place their restrooms all the way in the back of the store, but they are hoping you will happen to see some must-have item on your way there or back.
Again, the longer you’re in the store, the better they like it.