Sales & Marketing

6 company tricks to make you buy more

5 min read

15 October 2013

There's a reason you should stick to your shopping list!

It’s no secret that marketing tricks exist to seduce you into spending more than you intended, but with every part of a store fashioned to make you purchase more goods, it’s no wonder we often fall into their traps.

Take a look at these six techniques.

1. Architecture

From supermarket flow to where the necessities are displayed, everything has its purpose. Whether its because we drive on the right hand side of the road or walk on the right in the underground system, the items you are most likely to buy tend to be on the right hand side. You are also most likely to find the more favoured items placed at the end of aisles, with the essentials normally hidden at the back so that you have to walk through the whole store to get them. This way, you’ll have to pass several sales signs and one-day only specials.

Neuromarketing expert Martin Lindstrum also suggests that “more stores study the way we walk around and grab products, then design themselves around the concept.” Indeed, some stores have installed small speed bumps into their floors. Subconsciously, when we feel those bumps, we slow down and look around rather than navigate our shopping cart. On average, that 15 second delay leads to 17 per cent in additional spending.

2. Bigger shopping carts

Believe it or not, the shopping cart is more foe than friend. This 1938 invention was purposefully crafted to let customers make larger purchases. With a bigger cart, it will take you longer to estimate when you’ve bought ‘too much’. According to recent research, the amount of groceries we buy is related to the dimensions of the cart – bigger shopping carts entice us to spend 37 per cent more. Now imagine that percentage if you entered the store with a child pushing a mini-cart.

3. Eye level sales

Retailers strategically place the items they most want you to buy at eye level. Take, for example, the cereal aisle. Healthy cereal is tucked away and barely in reach at the top, with bulk cereal lurking at the bottom. What can you expect to find at eye level then? The expensive brands. But that’s not all, retailers often cater to a child’s eye level as well. This is where you’ll find the sugary cereal and other items a child will grab and beg his / her parents to buy. Indeed, on average, a consumer will spend 30 per cent more when they have kids with them, according to Lindstrum.

4. Music

“It’s an old trick”, explains Lindsrum “Music makes us feel nostalgic, like we’re children again.” As a result of carefully selected music, we spend 17 per cent more. Lindstrum also refers to something called “soundscrapes”. For example, when you pass the butcher aisle, you will hear the background sound of sizzling steak.

“It’s a way to activate an emotion we’re not aware of, which stimulates us to buy.” Studies also show that slow music makes people take their time and spend more, while loud music makes them move quickly through the store – barely sparing the sales a glance. Classical music leads to people buying more expensive merchandise.

5. Samples

You may not have been hungry walking into the store, but after having a sample, you might find yourself having more. “Reject them!” Lindstrum states. “Whenever you grab a sample, you tell your body it’s dinner time, and your brain will tune into the topic of food. In fact, 40 per cent of people who accept them will begin buying food.” To the same degree, sample stations and displays only serve to slow you down while exposing you to new products.

6. Smells

One of the reasons why super markets start off with flowers and baked goods is because of the smell. It activates our salivary glands and makes us more likely to make impulse purchases. Effectively, retailers are hoping to put you in a good mood and make you more willing to spend. Some stores even use specialised scent machines to waft scents designed to make us part with more cash.

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