Guest post Written by Amy Fowler
Have you ever noticed how when you go to the supermarket for a gallon of milk you always come back with a shopping cart full of food? Do you always spend more than you intended when you go clothes shopping?
If so, you could be falling victim to the spending tricks that so many grocery stores love using, to persuade you to part with more of your money than you intended. Most of those spending tricks are easy to combat once you know that they’re being used on you.
So the next time you head out to your local retailer, keep an eye out for the following secret tactics.
You’ve probably heard about the way that supermarkets use the smell of fresh bread to make you feel hungry, and thus buy more food, but that’s not the only time that smells are employed. When you’re shopping for a new kitchen, keep your nose alert for the smell of cooking sausages.
When you go to the travel agents, look out for the smell of exotic oils. These are perfect examples of tactics that are used to subliminally make items more appealing to you.
Some department stores make use of varied carpeting to steer people towards their preferred products. They use lino or tiles in the areas they want people to move through quickly, and soft/lush carpets in the areas with expensive coats, jewelry and other items.
Themed music can alter your mood when you’re shopping – whether it’s clothes shopping or just grabbing a few groceries, the music in the background appears to impact what we buy. For example, French music can put consumers in the mood to buy French wine and jolly beach tunes can put you in the mood to buy swimming gear.
Most stores position the higher value goods at the front, so that you have to walk past them on the way into the shop. Perfumes and other expensive items are at the entrance, and items with smaller markups are at the back of the store.
In the supermarket, name brand items are at eye level and store brands are usually positioned lower down so that you’d have to make an effort to see them. Items that you’d come to a store to find, like milk and bread are deep inside the store.
This forces you to walk past dozens of special offers, discounts and 2-for-1 promotions on items that you didn’t even want until you walked into the store.
The same is true when you’re shopping for clothes. Like when you enter the store hoping to buy a light denim coat. However, upon arrival you’re bombarded with promotions for leather coats, posh ski jackets, and other items. Your carefully planned small purchase can easily turn into one big shopping spree.
The Solution to Impulse Buying
So, how can you avoid these pitfalls? Well, a big part of the battle is developing an awareness of the fact that these are all just marketing tactics. Make sure that you have plenty of time to go shopping and that you’re relaxed, well fed (grocery shopping when you’re hungry is not a good idea!) and know precisely what to buy beforehand.
Take a list of things that you need and promise yourself to not deviate from that list. If you are just browsing, focus on your budget and don’t go over it.
Written by Amy Fowler on behalf of country clothing and lifestyle retailers, Anna Davies. Photo by Lars Plougmann.