Have you ever gone to one of those huge chain stores that has just about everything? Whether it’s a Super Target, Meijer, or Wal-Mart, these stores seem like the most convenient places on Earth. When you need some toothpaste, batteries, and milk, it’s heaven to be able to get it all under one roof — until you realize the items you want are all scattered at the far corners of the overly massive stores!
Twenty minutes later, after singing “I Would Walk 500 Miles” while you toddle through all the different sections of the place, you leave spending about double what you originally planned on. Guess what, my friend? You just got psyched! The store’s designers wanted you to pass as many items as possible while on your way to buy the three things you went there for in the first place. That’s the truth.
Majoring in psychology really opened my eyes to some of the tricks of the trade that retailers will use to get you to buy more. Once I was aware of these schemes, it helped me become a better shopper. Here are examples of some of the most common ways retailers will get into your mind to get into your wallet:
- 10 for $10 – Buying ten jars of grape jelly isn’t a requirement to get sale pricing. It’s just a suggestion that happens to be a pretty round number. You could buy eight for $8, or four for $4. But doesn’t it feel good to get the full ten? And don’t forget about its less pretty cousin, 3 for $5. This might actually work better since two for $3.33 doesn’t sound sexy at all…
- “2 for” vs. 1 Big One – This is one of my favorite examples. For people that frequently buy half gallons of milk, a “two for” deal might sound great. However, what they fail to realize is that one whole gallon still usually costs less than the two half gallons on sale!
- Look Up and Down – The middle (eye level) shelves at stores are full of the best sellers and the store’s best money makers. Retailers bet on customers grabbing the first items they see, so just looking at the tops and bottoms of shelves can reveal some of the better deals and money savers. Pretty easy one, right?
- A Bajillion-Dollar Value for Only $19.99! – Who said that top-of-the-line cappuccino machine is worth a bajillion dollars? Not me. Not you. It was most likely some number crunchers who tried to figure out the highest dollar amount you’d actually believe. Keep that in mind for those late night infomercials. Those Snuggies may not be as good of a deal as they’re leading you to believe…
If you want to avoid these marketing psych-outs, then be extra alert when you shop. Be skeptical of sales; remember, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. Retailers almost always have a catch with coupon savings and offers, but you have to look long and hard to find it!
Just being able to identify when these “deals” are in front of me has led me to put back the ninth and tenth cans of beans, or to buy the big bottle of ketchup instead of the two smaller ones. Avoiding psych marketing means that I can save my money for what really matters…guitars, shoes, and video games! You know, the important stuff.
Do you know of any other retailer tricks? What are some more examples of psych marketing?