How Stores Make You Spend More

In recent years, the popular catchphrase “Keeping up with the Joneses” has turned into “Keeping up with the Beckhams,” as wealthy celebrities like David and Victoria Beckham have normal consumers scrambling for luxury. Neighbors compare each other’s cars, landscaping and style of dress.

It’s no wonder that stores base their promotions and advertising on the fact that people continually care about their image. With the high unemployment rate in this country and strapped household incomes, some consumers cannot let go of the comfort trappings they were accustomed to when the economy was booming. In turn, credit card use is on the rise, with spending out of control. Retailers, grocers, department stores and malls are cognizant of this and capitalize on consumer weaknesses.  However, with savvy, you can avoid all the pitfalls that stores employ to make you spend more.

Checkout Please

Have you visited a Best Buy lately? When it’s time for checkout, since when did they start selling food?  Electronics stores are tricking consumers into spending more by placing appealing candy bars, soda and potato chips next the cash register. Predictably, children see these items and begin to beg their parents for them. Even last minute items like batteries and DVDs are there in an attempt to make you spend more.

The checkout counter is becoming a source of tremendous profit for retailers trying to get consumers to spend more. The lure of gossip magazines, gum and soda make it tempting for consumers not to buy something upon checkout. Thank goodness for self-checkout!

Another trick retailers use is placing the most popular items at the back of the store. This way, when you’re making your way to checkout – the other evil spending place – you have to pass all of the displays with signs shouting “Sale,” “1 Day Only,” or “New.”
Compulsive shopping fuels our economy and empties our wallets. Retail researchers have studied consumers and cater their marketing and advertising efforts toward the findings. Retailers lure shoppers even before they step foot in the store. They capitalize on holidays (“Shop for Easter-1 Day Only!”) and make consumers feel like they are missing out on something by NOT shopping at their store during within that precious time limit.

Don’t Shop on an Empty Stomach

Research into grocery shopping shows us that impulsive shopping occurs most when we shop on an empty stomach.  Why? Because instead of going to the grocery store for a gallon of milk, you begin to think what would go well with that gallon of milk. Is it a coincidence that the bakery is often near the store entrance?

Watch Your Senses

Retailers tap into all of our senses. For example, Dollar Tree Stores now have their own station on satellite radio that plays throughout the store. Researchers know that it’s a lot of fun to sing your favorite song while shopping at your favorite store…which leads to more sales.

Over the last decade or so, shopping carts have grown larger, taste tests are the norm on Saturday, and grocery stores are usually always spotless. Consumers feel more comfortable shopping in a store that is clean and fresh smelling. And the stores are carefully mapped out to direct you to the next department subconsciously pushing you to spend more. Even multi-level department stores like Target have installed elevators and escalators to encourage you to spend more. Who doesn’t want to see what’s upstairs?

Merchandising is the most popular tactic to encourage people to spend more. Children’s cereal is often at their eye level, while the expensive name brands are at the average adult’s eye level. Every inch of space is an opportunity for a consumer to spend. The end caps of aisles grab your attention with sale items, and displays appear to be bigger than ever. Grocers have begun adopting a one-stop shop promotion. There’s the check-cashing counter, nail shop, pet store and optical shop – all waiting for you to spend after you purchase milk and eggs.

The majority of our nation is drawn to advertising and status symbolism. When consumers walk into a store, it’s like they have entered a shopping zone. The colors are brighter and the music happens to be your favorite song. Retailers are under pressure to find new ways for consumers to spend more. Why are consumers doing this to themselves?  Do consumers have to resort to giving themselves a pep talk before entering a store just so they won’t spend more?  With this knowledge in mind, consumers need not succumb to tactics of retail establishments!

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