7 Tricks Stores Use to Separate You from Your Money

It’s not long now until the start of “Store Design, Visual Merchandising and Shopper Marketing”. A course that gives you the lowdown on the techniques being used by retailers every time you enter their stores. Whether you are a consumer who wants to take control, or a retailer looking to improve sales, this course is for you.

It’s not just the sales staff that makes you open your wallet. The store sells as well. The store’s influence starts the very moment you enter. We spoke to Claus Ebster, your instructor for this course, to get an insiders view on seven of the dirtiest tricks stores use to manipulate your mind and make you spend more:

1. Eye level is buy level

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Whatever products are placed at your eye level sell best because you notice them the most. The most profitable products are always placed at eye level. That’s why you will find that super expensive extra virgin olive oil made from olives picked by the blind nuns of southern Tuscany at eye level and the cheapo oil down at the bottom of the shelf.

2. Paying through the nose

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More and more retailers use ambient scents in their stores because research has shown that scents put shoppers in a good mood and make them buy more. Scents work best if they fit the store, like the smell of cookies in a bakery and black pepper scent in a lingerie store.

3. Seeing red

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Men are seduced by red prices. According to recent marketing research, guys are much more likely to see a bargain when the price is printed in red. Women, on the other hand, examine prices more closely and are not affected by prices on red signs.

4. Super-sized shopping carts

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Large, empty shopping carts invite us to fill them to the brim. If you don’t take a cart or shopping basket at the entrance, crafty retailers place baskets in the middle of the store. After you take three or four products, your hands are full. You would stop shopping, but out of nowhere a shopping basket miraculously appears. It’s time to resume shopping.

5. The scarcity principle

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Limited editions. A special sale that ends tonight. Available only to the first 50 shoppers. All of these use the same mechanism to make the merchandise more appealing: the scarcity principle. If there is little left, it must be good. Oh, greed is such a great motivator…

6. Slow music

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The more time you spend in the store, the more products you see and the more you tend to buy. So how do retailers make you spend more time in the store? That’s easy. Through slow music. Time and again, studies have shown that people spend more time in the supermarket, department store or restaurant if slow music is played rather than fast music.

7. Magic mirrors

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These mirrors are used in the fitting rooms of fashion stores and they make you look slim and trim. A mirror slightly inclined away from the viewer, light projected from the front to soften unflattering shadows, and warm wall colours in the fitting room are all it takes to add inches to a shopper’s height and shave pounds from the hips. Naturally, shoppers who are flattered by their own image in these mirrors are more likely to buy.

Find out more about consumer psychology (and even dirtier tricks used to seduce shoppers) in iversity’s new online course on Store Design, Visual Merchandising and Shopper Marketing starting 4 May.

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