5 Tricks Retailers Use to Increase Customer Spending


In-Store Demonstrations

An in-store demonstration is a sure fire way to push either a new or limited product quickly. Stores that sell goods, especially cutlery, will sometimes have demonstrations during prime shopping hours, which are usually the weekends. The initial enticement is that the store makes you feel special. You are the lucky customer who happens to have good timing and by just watching, you can get a free gift.

After the impressive demonstration, the price is finally given (never before) and ends in either .99 or .95. You are then told to quickly buy because supply is limited. You may not have wanted the item when you can in, but the demonstration has given you the visual of an items potential usefulness and made you think you need it right now. You may end up walking out with a new set of kitchen sheers even though you just wanted a storage tub.

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The Walking Mannequins

Ever been in a trendy shop and notice that the staff, for the most part, is objectively good-looking and outgoing? Our brains are wired to focus on faces, because facial features and expressions signal how we should react in an environment. You may have noticed that you feel less inclined to buy when the staff is disgruntled with each other or you. You may have felt more inclined to buy when staff compliments something you chose and seem like they are having fun.

Deeper still, psychologically we like to find connections between others and ourselves. When the staff wears the store’s clothes, the retailer builds a common connection for us. We are more likely to trust recommendations.

Also, if we like what a staff member is wearing, it falls subconsciously on our radar. We gravitate unknowingly to similar items. You may have walked in looking for a shirt, but a more expensive blazer seems like a better buy.

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Spend $100 and get 15% off

How many times have you seen this “sale” or something similar? Sales like this convince the customer that they are saving money instead of spending. We feel good knowing that our items are worth more than we paid for them. Psychology strikes again.

Sales like this or “buy one for $12, and get another for $7.99,” makes us think we caught a great deal because we spent less in comparison to the retail price. Although, we may have spent more than what we initially had in mind. Statistically, sales-shoppers become so caught in the taking advantage of such a great deal, that they end up spending more on average than non-sales shoppers.

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Goodies in the checkout line

In most stores, the checkout area isn’t a straight-line and retailers use smaller, less expensive items to form a pathway. These items are usually small enough to fit in one hand. So even in browsing, your sense of touch quickly takes in the shape and texture of the item. Both play a key role in making snap judgments on buys.

Sometimes these items are brightly marked $3, $5, $10. Single digit and numbers with zero are easily recognizable and influence our cognitive accessibility. We know that the line may move at any second so we have to choose quickly. Long lines play a crucial role in highlighting these easily snaggable goodies. The longer you stand in line, the more likely you are to add one more “small item” to your cart.

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Baiting with the sale item

Some stores place better looking regular price items directly next to sale items. The customer can easily mistake the regular item for being on sale and go through the decision-making process to buy it. Usually the customer doesn’t find out it’s a non-sale item until they are at the register where they have to quickly rethink their decision to buy.

If a customer was solely price driven, they may choose to walk away, but surely we have all had that moment when we think, “I might as well. It’s really nice and I’m already about to pay.”