Do you consider yourself to be a savvy shopper? Do you ever fall prey to sneaky sales tactics? Think of the mall as a battlefield. It’s you versus them. There are highly knowledgeable experts in marketing and human behavior whose only goal is to get you to spend more money.
Once you’re aware of their methods you’ll be less likely to fall for their dirty tricks. Without further ado, here are the 8 most common sneaky sales tactics the big box retailers use.
Bundling Items Together
Retailers try to persuade us to spend more money by bundling purchases together. They group like-items together and create a so-called special package. For example, they’ll group together standalone products such as a computer with a printer or a stove with cookware.
Sometimes they reduce the price of the bundled items, making it appear like you’re getting an amazing deal. But in reality, they’re just making you spend more money than you originally intended.
Price Tag Manipulation
When something’s $29.99 it’s really more than $32+ with taxes. But psychology you’re only spending 20-something bucks. It’s not your fault, your brain is tricked by the first number.
It’s the same concept as the score of a basketball game. When the score is 81 – 69 it looks like a complete blowout. But that’s the same exact deficit as 83 – 71. One score makes me want to turn off the TV while the other ones makes me think my team can mount a comeback.
Don’t be manipulated by the price tag. Add a few dollars for taxes and see the true cost before deciding to make a purchase.
Buy One (Or Two Or Three) Get One Free Deals
These “BOGO” deals are not really deals at all. You are not really getting anything for free. These types of deals entice you into buying more than you typically would have. They win, you lose.
Have you noticed that retailers raise the price of the items when introducing these types of deals? Say it’s a $15 shirt and there’s a buy 2 get 1 free deal going. You would spend $30 to get a total of 3 shirts. But just last week the shirts were on sale for $10 each. So they essentially tricked you into buying 3 shirts and spending $30. It’s much better for them than just putting the shirts on sale for $10. This way, they ensure the customer spends triple the money.
And don’t even get me started on the whole “buy one get the second half off” deals. Those are an even worse bang for your buck.
Free Shipping (With Minimum Purchase)
When shopping online you always see big free shipping ads everywhere. Then right below it in small print it says “with $50 order”. So you go around the site looking and looking for more items to add to your cart until you reach the minimum. Again, they win, you lose.
So if you find yourself in this situation, just bite the bullet and pay for shipping. It’s much better than spending the next half hour desperately looking for more items to bring your total up to $50 so you can get so-called free shipping.
Coupons are good, don’t get me wrong. But you have to use them the right way. People love a bargain and company executives know this. So they routinely send out coupons. 10% off, 20% off and even 50% coupons. Some of them sound too good to be true.
But did you read the terms? Some coupons don’t just have an expiration date, they have a start date as well. They make sure that you get the coupon a week or two before it’s actually valid. They really want you to visit their store without the coupon.
Other coupons have a long list of brands that don’t qualify for the coupon. Other coupons are only valid on full-priced items. Each coupon is different so be sure to know the terms before you go shopping.
But wait a second here, before you rush to the store, think about whether you actually need the item you’re buying! Don’t be blinded by the amazing deal. Never lose sight that even when using a good coupon, you’re still spending money.
Add-Ons At Checkout
After a store has successfully gotten you to purchase a product, they’re still not done with you. To them, you are a fish on a line. Now it’s time to reel you in and see what else they can do to you. After all, they’ve already determined you’re a sucker, I mean a shopper.
In comes the candy at the checkout aisle. Yes, these individual chocolates go for a cool $1 per bar. But if you really wanted them, you could have bought a box of 10 for $5 just a few steps away ($0.50 each of course). Congratulations on paying double.
There’s more than just candy at checkout. There’s an offer to open a credit card and save a whopping 25% off your order. “Why yes, sure I’d like 25% off so you can charge me 29% interest every month and ruin my credit”. And yet people fall for this every single day.
Multiple Purchase Prices
You see this one all the time, especially at the grocery store: 4 for $5 avocados for example. Well, do you know how much each avocado costs? More often than not, $1.25 each. So you see, it’s the same freaking thing. But yet most people go and buy 4 avocados when they really only need 1 or 2 at most.
Always check the per-unit price of the item and disregard how many they want you to buy. Remember, you’re the one in charge here.
Super Once In A Lifetime Sales
Most stores have sales periodically throughout the year. But every year, a store has a super duper amazing sale. You get the flyer in the mail advertising a whopping 70% off sale. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
You walk into the store and what do you see? You see just a handful of items at this low clearance rate. So did the store lie? Not really, they didn’t say the whole store was 70% off. They said “select items” at 70% off. Or they could have said “up to” 70% off. Either way, they tricked you. You’re at the store. They win, you lose.
So what are you gonna do, leave? The store already knows you’re invested in the trip so you’re bound to buy something at the regular price.
The same thing happens every Black Friday. They advertise these amazing deals. Then you stand in line and by the time it’s your turn everything’s gone. They only had a handful of products at those really low prices. Their goal is to get you through those doors. After that, they know there’s a 99% chance you’ll walk away having bought something.
Are there any other sales tactics you’ve seen that were quite clever?