4 Tricks Retailers Use to Get You to Spend More Money

girl-2184000_1920When you walk into a store, there are many things working against your budget to try and get you to buy more than you intended. Stores use new marketing principles and psychological hacks to get you to spend more money. The key is for you to know this from the get-go so that when you are tempted to buy something you did not intend on buying, you can acknowledge the trick and make an informed decision.

Here are 4 tricks retailers use to get you to spend more money.

1. The 99 Cents Difference

The price of an item has a psychological impact on us. In general, we tend to look for good deals when shopping and get the most value for our money. Most of the time, this means buying things at low prices. Retailers have discovered that prices ending in .99 appear significantly lower to consumers than prices of just one more cent ending in .00.

This phenomenon is known as “odd pricing.” The phenomenon explains that consumers have a limited capacity for storing information. When looking at prices, we tend to evaluate them quickly based on the first dollar amount we see. Thus, $4.99 seems significantly cheaper than $5.00 because the former starts with a lower number. In the end, we are more likely to purchase items ending in .99. Next time you go to the store, take a look at how many items have prices ending in .99. It would not be a surprise if you found that almost all did.

2. Font Size

If the price is smaller, you may view it as lower. Research shows that we perceive numbers as magnitude representations – judgments relative to size.

Subconsciously, if you see a big number your mind registers it as a high number. Marketing professors at Clark University found that people are more likely to purchase items with smaller font labels because they view it as having a lower price. This low price perception also increased the participants’ judgment of the items’ value.

Moreover, participants were unaware of the effect of size representation on price perceptions. Next time you go shopping, take a hard look at the price label and ask yourself “is this price truly low?”

Also regarding font size, notice that the fine print for sales is often printed in a super small font. When you’re driving past a store, you may see a huge sign in the window that says “50% Off Throughout the Store!”. Once you get closer or maybe even after entering the store, you’ll realize that only 2 items are actually 50% off and everything else is full price.

Don’t be blindsided by small font sizes underneath sales ads as you’re checking out at the store. Be sure to read the fine print and ask questions before getting your hopes up because sometimes if a sale seems too good to be true, it can be.

3. Perceived Product Scarcity

You know those grocery store advertisements that limit that amount of sale items you can buy? For example, Gatorade packs may be on sale but you can only buy a maximum of four packs. When we see sales like this, two thoughts run through our subconscious minds. One: “Wow, a lot of people must like Gatorade since there are purchase limits. I will try a pack.” Or two: “I was going to buy two packs, but I better buy four since they might run out soon.”

Both of these thoughts are due to the perceived scarcity of the product. Researchers found that we are more likely to purchase something when we perceive scarcity. In reality, people may not even like the product or the product may not be on the verge of selling out. It is all about perception. That’s your mind for you!

4. Bogo Sales

Bogo sales often allow you to buy one item and get another one free or half off. Some other sales prompt you to purchase things in bulk. You’ll see an example of this in the grocery store as you pass by items that are offered as a 10 for $10 deal or a 4 for $20, for example.

While these ‘sales’ can seem great at first, you’re not actually saving any money in the first place if you didn’t plan on and budget for the extra purchases in the first place. Let’s say you don’t want to buy 10 of something in order to get a ‘deal’. I don’t blame you. Those offers just cause you to spend more money on extra stuff you probably don’t really need which is why you should avoid feeding into them unless you really do want to purchase more than one item.

Final Word

These tricks are so subtle that you usually do not know when they are impacting your purchase decision. Try to remember them the next time you go shopping and see if knowing the tactics stores use to get you to spend more money makes a difference in your shopping. Focus only on purchasing what you need and taking advantage of a sale when it seems appropriate and won’t cause you to waste the extra money.

Have you ever fallen for any of these tricks before when shopping?

Posted in: Money, Saving Money

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