The different ways retailers get consumers to overspend

Category: Shopping

Woman shopping at the supermarket


Leaving a store with far more merchandise than you ever planned on buying—perhaps you know the feeling all too well. There are so many different ways that retailers get customers to buy much more than they meant to, and it can be easy to overlook some of these subtle (yet effective) tactics. By knowing what some of these tactics are ahead of time, you can be aware of them while you’re shopping and avoid them completely:

Product placement

Many shoppers don’t realize this, but stores tend to stock shelves strategically, and will often put the more expensive items at eye-level. This isn’t a coincidence and as a result, customers often end up buying the more expensive item because it’s the easiest to find and it’s what’s right in front of them. Unless you already know what exactly you’re looking for, check the very top or bottom of the shelf for generic brands and other cheaper alternatives.

Limited-time sales and other discounts

From department stores to online retailers, this is one sales tactic that has proven to be effective time and time again: the amazing deal that’s so great, you just can’t pass it up. As a result, many shoppers end up purchasing merchandise they don’t really want or need, and simply because it was on sale and they didn’t want to “miss out” on the good prices. But next time you’re about to take advantage of a great offer or sale, ask yourself it’s something you’ve been wanting for a while now anyway, and if it’s something you’d normally want to purchase if it wasn’t on sale. If you’re unsure or know it’s not something you really want or need deep down, then just move on. Even if it’s a great deal, it’s still money being spent that doesn’t need to be. Even small purchases and sale items can add up quickly, so if you’re looking to save money, just buy what you need.

Shopping cart size

Are you just picking up a few items? Opt for a shopping basket rather than a cart, especially if the shopping carts appear to be a bit larger than normal. More and more stores are offering jumbo-sized shopping carts for their customers, which can make it easier to spend way more than you realize. Filling up just half of these larger carts can equate to filling up a normal-sized shopping cart, but it can be easy to overlook this. Unless you’re at the store for a huge shopping haul, consider skipping the cart entirely, which can make it much easier to give in to temptations and buy items on sale that you don’t even need.

Engaging the senses

This is another way to get consumers to overspend without even realizing it. From pleasant smells (such as perfume or food) to specific types of lighting, engaging certain senses can often get consumers to buy things they never planned on.

Pricing tactics

Certain pricing tactics might not be as subtle, but they still are very effective. For example, an item that’s priced at $9.99 sounds a lot more appealing than $10.00, although in the end you’re just talking a one-penny difference.

Overpriced items in the checkout line

The checkout lines at many grocery stores, department stores, and even clothing stores always seem to be stocked with random items that are also overpriced. They catch the attention of many customers at the last minute and lead to a lot of extra purchases.

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Nothing above is meant to provide financial, tax, or legal advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.

Tags: discounts, overspending

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