Shops need you to spend lots of money, for good reason. They have big overheads and need profit. They constantly look for new ways to get you to spend more money than you need to. Shops are very good at selling things, it’s how they stay alive, they need to be able to entice people to buy things that sometimes they probably don’t even need.
Things like up-sells or add ons that the customer really doesn’t need to have, but it’s just a way of exploiting certain psychological techniques. More on that later. For now, we will talk about some of the ways which retail outlets get you to stay in the shops longer, and also spend more money than you would normally. Let’s go through a few of the main ones.
How shops make you buy MORE than you need
1. Up selling, adding things on to what you’ve already decided to buy
When you walk into a store, and you know what you’re going to buy, you will probably spend about 10 minutes or so looking for the item, maybe even ask someone where it is, and then you’ll go to the checkout to purchase it and leave, right?
But then the assistant will start up a conversation with you, things will be flowing, (if they’re good at their job) and you’ll be having a nice chat. They will likely see what you’re buying and offer you some sort of extra, like they’ll say ‘Did you know you can get a discount if you buy 3 of those?’ or something along those lines.
They’ll try and ‘up sell’ you, that is to try and get you to purchase more once you’ve decided to buy one thing already. It’s a sales technique, but it has roots in psychology as well, when you’re trying to get someone to do you a favor, it’s what’s known as the ‘foot in the door’ technique.
It’s the idea that if you ask someone to do something for you, and they agree, they’ll be in a positive mindset and they’ll be many more times likely to do another favor, or an added on smaller favor as well. They’ve already said yes once, why not go the little bit further and say yes again.
Shops KNOW this.
This is how shops make you buy things. They exploit it and will always try and make you think you’re getting a better deal when they up-sell you.There will always be something to gain from it, they’ll make you almost want to have the extra product, even though when you walked into that shop, you had no intention of buying 3 of whatever it is you were buying, or getting the extra item added on.
2. Add ons or ‘1 year guarantee’ on smaller items
This is another one. A pretty important one, to watch out for! The guarantee, or the reoccurring payment for some sort of insurance. Now this is usually a good thing, for example on electrical goods or items of high value, such as some of the more expensive phones and laptops, you want to know that if it breaks, you can get a new one for free.
The problem lies where they try and get you to sign up for insurance payments for a smaller item, like a less expensive mobile phone or something like an iPod, where the value of the item is not high enough to need insurance.
An iPod isn’t expensive, and by signing up to insurance you’re wasting your money, by the time you’d need to claim on the insurance, either several new versions of the iPod would be out already or the money you’ve spent on insurance would have brought you several new ones anyway.
They will always try and get you to sign up to this type of insurance on the day of purchase though, as it’s in their interests to sell you as much as they can. They get a better report or commission or whatever.
Don’t get me wrong, some things you will want and need insurance on, but be mindful of the value of the item they’re trying to get you to sign up to insure.
3. Putting the most commonly bought items at the back of the shop
This is most common with supermarkets or grocery stores. You’ll notice they put the most commonly bought items at the back of the store, meaning you have to walk through the whole shop to get to the things you want?
This is because they want you to look at all of the other items in the shop and be tempted to buy some extras instead of just walking in, getting what you need and leaving. They know which of their items sell the most over the course of a week, and they’ll move them around accordingly.
Have a look at the item placement next time you’re shopping, do you notice that the items you buy the most regularly are not easy to get to without going past a load of promotional stands, ‘discount baskets’ and other products being shoved in your face?
4. Putting smaller commonly bought items on or near the checkouts
A way shops get you to add a few pounds onto your purchase is by putting the little things that you probably forgot or could do with at the checkouts, so that whatever you’re buying you’ll always be able to grab a pack of chewing gum or something like that.
Shops also use this as a way to get people to spend their minimum amount for card. Shops sometimes have a lower limit for card payments, so you have to spend a certain amount in order to use your card.
They put small items at the checkouts so you can quickly gab a chocolate bar or something in order to be able to use your card and spend more. Sneaky right?
5. Putting random items on all the aisle ends
So we’ve talked about how they put items you need the most at the back of the shops, well they also will put their promotional items on the ends of aisles.
Why? So you have to walk past their latest offers when you’re looking for something. If you lose someone you’re with in a shop, if you’re with your parents, other half or friends, and you get separated, you’ll usually walk down the end of the rows to look for them.
This means you walk straight past all their latest offers and deals, designed and located to pull you in and get more sales. They make sure with the layout of the shop that you have a good chance of seeing their offers and promotional things.
6. Using various methods to get you to stay in the shop longer
They use any means they can to get you to stay in the shop for longer, and therefore hopefully buy more.
The layout of the shop sometimes is designed to make sure you have to walk through several rows of products in order to get to what you want. They think it out carefully in order to maximize use of their space and what they have to offer you. Have a look at the shop layout the next time you’re in there, see if you can tell why things are the way they are in the shop.
Shops sometimes play relaxing of soft music to make you slow down and browse. This is what they want, you to slowly browse the shop, adding things to your trolley and then pay for it all and make them rich. The music is rarely upbeat and poppy, because this would make you speed up and get your things and leave.
It’s slow, relaxing and soft most of the time, so you stay for longer
So the next time you’re shopping, see if you can notice some of these things shops do. They do it to get you to spend more money with them. It’s not always a bad thing, but be mindful of these techniques the next time you go shopping in case you end up leaving with more than you needed.
If you’re trying to save money and budget you really do need to make sure you’re not falling victim to these techniques and methods of maximizing profits. They can easily catch you out, so be careful!