The average US shopper expects to spend over $900 on gifts this holiday seasonaccording to a new Gallup poll. Whether you’re shopping for the kids or planning a stay-at-home stay buried in gifts for yourself, chances are you’ll join the spending spree.
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Retail stores have all sorts of tricks to trick you into spending more, so to shop smart you need to know their tactics. Soothing music at wholesale prices, Check out these money-saving tips from retailers this holiday season.
They play relaxing music
If a crying baby and a crowded movie theater can make you forgo a movie, chances are you don’t like venturing into a crowded mall for your holiday shopping – or you’re spending a very long time in shops. Queue soothing music.
Research reported by the Association for Psychological Science shows that when you walk into a store with relaxing music playing, you’re much more likely to spend more time there. If you’re already in the mood to buy, chances are you’ll end up with an extra item or two in your cart.
People who listen to classical music while shopping, for example, might spend more money than they expected because gender is tied to perceived wealth. This tactic is used more frequently during the holiday season, said retail specialist Mari Corella, who has worked with major national retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Gap and Sears.
“Retailers play Christmas songs in their stores to invoke emotions of nostalgia and generosity, which leads to larger basket sizes,” Corella said.
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They use warming scents
Retailers are also using holiday-specific fragrances to try to increase your willingness to spend money, Corella said.
“Retailers often scent their stores during the holidays with seasonal scents such as gingerbread and pine,” she said. “Similar to Christmas music, this tactic invokes a feeling of warmth and generosity, which leads to larger purchases.”
This tactic is used by businesses large and small and can be particularly effective when the scent complements the music being played, said Bruce Sanders, retail consultant, consumer psychologist and author of “Sell Well: What Really Moves Your shoppers”.
“Small retail stores use candles and large retailers use scent diffusers,” he said. “If the Christmas music and Christmas scent in the store match, people say they like the store and the merchandise better and are more likely to shop in the store.”
Sensory experiences can play an important role in your perception of a store and a brand. The more enjoyable the shopping experience, the more likely you are to walk out with less cash on hand.
They make you nostalgic
Retailers frequently sell items that appeal to people’s feelings of nostalgia, such as a 50s-style dining set, an old-fashioned video game system, or a retro turntable.
According to Fortune magazine, gifts that trigger a memory or inspire a young person to try something from the past can offer richness that general gifts like candles cannot.
These feelings of nostalgia seem to have a significant impact on the consumption behaviors of holiday shoppers. Nostalgia led shoppers to pay more money for products and value their money less, according to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
They offer wholesale prices
You might be used to seeing two-for-one deals, but you can expect even more – and bigger bundles – during the holidays.
Grocery stores, in particular, frequently use this tactic, such as offering 10 items for $10, which makes you think you have to buy 10 to get the $1 per item offer. But if you want to buy smart, you can usually get the offer price no matter how many items you buy.
Research has shown that adding the phrase “maximum eight cans per customer” to the price of cans of soup led to increased sales by giving the illusion of a big discount even though none was offered, according to Time. .
They use the number 9
While shoppers are used to the majority of retail items selling at prices like $39.99 instead of $40, few shoppers stop to wonder why the merchandise is being sold at this price. price. Not using round numbers is another trick meant to make you spend more, said William Poundstone, author of “Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value.”
In his book, Poundstone reviewed eight different studies on the use of so-called “charm prices”. He found that using this pricing method increased sales by an average of 24% compared to using rounded, even pricing.
This pricing structure probably won’t change anytime soon, so customers just need to remember that while $39.99 seems cheaper than $40, it’s only a 1-cent difference.
They put more profitable items at eye level
Stores often place items with the best price margins at eye level so you can see the products easily. Items that are better buys for the customer – and therefore less profitable for the retailer – are more likely to be found at the bottom or top of the aisle.
“It’s a classic retail tactic,” Corella said. “Eye level is such valuable real estate that retailers charge manufacturers to place it there. That cost is then passed on to the consumer. are placed at eye level.
They mark up the prices before the holidays
Kyle James, founder of Rather-Do-Shoppinga site that helps consumers save money, said the holiday season is notorious for so-called “super low prices”, which often trick consumers into thinking they’re getting a much better deal than they actually are.
“[High-low pricing] is when retailers have relatively high daily prices and then release “holiday” coupons to trick you into thinking you’re getting an incredible discount through the coupon,” James said. “In reality, retailers who use high-low prices know they’ll sell minimum items at full retail, and if they do, that’s a bonus.”
James said you’ll likely see this tactic used by many popular retailers over the holidays, such as Ann Taylor, JCPenney, Kohl’s and Old Navy.
They sell you gift boxes
Walk into a place like Bath & Body Works or Williams-Sonoma, and you’ll find plenty of gift sets, whether it’s a set of lotion, shower gel, and perfume, or a beauty kit. BBQ essentials. These gift sets even come in pretty packaging, which means you have a beautiful gift ready to go.
Gift sets seem like a good deal because the value of all the items sold together is usually less than if you bought them separately. The declared value of the set, however, is full retail of all the items it contains, so it can sometimes be cheaper to buy the items separately if they’re on sale, Corella said. Buying gift sets can also lead to overspending, which will jeopardize your smart shopping plans.
“It’s also an upsell tactic where you come and buy a single item but end up with a gift set because it seems like you’re getting so much more for just a few more dollars,” Corella said.
They mix big ticket items with regular priced products
The holiday season is a popular time for some retailers to mix luxury items with other products, so prices for regular items seem much more reasonable by comparison, Sanders said. This tactic is one of the expense triggers that can put you in the red.
The annual Neiman Marcus Christmas Book includes top-notch fantasy giveaways, which for 2016 included a $500,000 Grammy Awards VIP experience for two and a $120,000 sleepover for 12 at Neiman Marcus.
“As you begin to think about it, the Christmas book browser begins to view that $895 price tag for a triacetate and polyester designer dress as a bit more down to earth,” Sanders said. “The price of the first item considered becomes an anchor for what the buyer expects to pay.”
They make it hard to find clearance items
According to Business Insider, shelving or clearance shelves are often located at the very back of the store or hidden away as much as possible because retailers want holiday shoppers to have to walk through the entire store to access them. As you walk through the store, you’re more likely to see the most expensive items first, which you might end up buying.
Once you find the clearance section, it is deliberately in a state of disarray. True bargain buyers don’t mind sifting through the mess to find the bargains, but the average buyer is more likely to be put off by the hurdle and buy uncleared items instead, leaving the retailer win.
This holiday season, avoid these retailer tips so you can shop smart. Your wallet and bank account will thank you.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 10 ways retailers are getting you to spend more this holiday season