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6 Marketing Games Retailers Use To Make You Spend More

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Retailing is more than just a business. It is an art.

Some of the smartest people around works as marketers and merchandisers for mega retail chains. And even if you are the most meticulously careful sort of person, you will have been enticed by some of the games they play with consumers each day.

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No matter how much you deny it, there is a science to predicting and enticing human behavior. And nothing demonstrates this better than data.

If a product converts at 5%, it means that for every 100 people who comes across the product, 5 would buy it. This will mean that you only need to get more eyes or hands on the product to achieve a sales target.

This is fact. Or else the many professional marketing agencies out there would have closed down decades ago.

You don’t have to feel embarrassed when you find that you have been a willing consumer who got caught in the hook. It happens to everybody. The psychology involved is just not something the average person can withstand. Even smart professionals can be pulled into these marketing gimmicks unknowingly.

Don’t know what I’m talking about? Here are some common games retailers play with us.

1) The loss making hook

The overblown flyers your receive in the mail and full sized double fold newspaper ads you see always advertise items that are attractively priced.

Such is their low prices, the average person would perceive that the retailer would actually lose money on them.

Even though they might actually be losing money on selling these items at low prices, the main purpose of these promotions are to get you into the door.

Very often, for the usually higher priced items selling at a loss in a promotion, by the time you get there, the very limited quantity of the items are gone and you will be checking out normal price merchandise that are conveniently placed beside the sold out item.

We commonly see this with electronics.

This tactic has been in use for as long as I can remember. So it must work.

Also, once you walk into the store to buy the low priced box of strawberries, you are more likely to make your trip worthwhile by buying the rest of the week’s groceries. That’s how you have been baited and hooked.

2) Rebate vouchers

You really have to hand it to the marketer who started this.

Who would turn down a $20 rebate voucher?

But on closer inspection, you might find that the voucher can only be used if you spend $250 on a single receipt for regular priced merchandise. So if you were to cash in the voucher, you are only saving less than 10%. That is pocket change for a retailer who probably marked up their products 100%.

The more annoying part is that you might only realize the minimum spend requirement in the store. You are not going to spend that much money. But you might as buy some other stuff since you are there.

3) Limited sales items strategically located

Be truthful…

Would your eyes light up if you see a 50% discount banner in front of your favorite store?

In all honesty, you would. But the moment you enter the store you cannot find any discount for the best looking apparels.

Where are the discounts anyway?

They are located right at the corner in the back. And the sales items only take up 1 shelf with merchandise from 2 seasons ago.

These are the ones that nobody decided to buy after being displayed prominently in stores for the last 2 seasons. They are the scrooge of fashion. And you probably would agree that pricing them at 50% is just about right.

As usual… Since you have walked all the way into the store and familiarized yourself with the layout, you might as well browse through the regularly priced items.

That dress looks awesome doesn’t it? It doesn’t come with a discount.

4) Impulse buys

The best time to get someone to buy something is when they already have their wallets out. In real world retailing, waiting in the cashier queue to checkout is the best time to entice impulse buys. These is where you find magazines, chocolate bars, batteries, colorful candy, etc.

This is the moment when you are bored and most vulnerable to attractive looking stuff to add into your cart. And since you are all ready to swipe your card in few minutes, you might as well make the most of it by grabbing one of those colorful items within reach.

Just be mindful that even though many of items in this area is relatively cheap, they are also often those that are very highly marked up.

5) Price illusions

The art of retailing is getting people to pay for merchandise and walk away feeling good about their purchases. In other words, consumers feel that they got a good deal from their purchases.

There are basically only 2 ways to achieve this. Either customers pay less, or they get more.

Successful retailers are well known to be able to achieve this effect consistently.

You will be able to observe a common tactic of placing regular items beside more expensive ones. This creates the illusion that you get more value for your buck on the cheaper item. But you might later find that you have overpaid after you make a trip to a budget shop that sells the same item.

By placing an expensive alternative to the cheaper item, you perceive that the less costly item provides more value as it basically does the same thing compared to the expensive one. It will then become a much easier buying decision to make.

6) Psychology of numbers

This is a marketing trick that continues to work today. I cannot really see it being out-phased.

An toaster priced at $19.99 seems overwhelmingly more attractive than one that is priced at $20. If you keep the price below psychological barriers, consumers will be more receptive to buying them. It’s odd. But it’s a fact.

It might even be easier to sell something at $29.99 compared to one selling at $20 because of the psychological effect. $29.99 makes one feel that the seller is trying to keep prices low. While $20 makes on fee that the seller is milking the most out of his merchandise.

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