The Consumer In Us


Thank you for shopping with us today, BUT I think you forgot a few things: the chap-stick you’ve been needing, scotch tape to wrap your presents, the lanyard for your niece, a notepad to write down your to do list, a flashlight for your son, gum because your breath stinks, don’t forget chocolate for later and OH, why not buy a gift card for Uncle Joe while you’re at it?! I mean, you are right here at the register, and you NEED it! What a nice store as they made it soo convenient because they truly care…NOT!

If we were all in a classroom I would have everyone raise their hand to this question – Who has purchased something off of these “impulse aisles” before? 90% of the class would raise their hand. While I want to give the stores the benefit of the doubt, I’m not buying that they put it there for our convenience. The items are there to capture that last bit of margin off you before you leave. These stores have put a lot of money and research into understanding how your mind works when you are shopping and they know how and why you make purchases. I took a Marketing course in college about how the consumer’s mind works and how large research companies offer their expertise to retailers on how to get the most out of the consumer when they step foot in their store. With this knowledge, I have not been able to enter a store without observing all of the trickery positioned to get me to buy, and dang it, sometimes it works on me!Each aisle, and the items in it, are strategically placed. Each department is placed in certain parts of the store and the “racetrack” (path you walk on) is paved to push you to certain areas of the store first. The end caps have specific items on them to also capture those “impulse” buys – this is science and it works on us! But why? And how can we take back control and stop the impulsive madness? Here are some ways that the stores trick you to BUY:1) “Stores know that sales increase when shoppers are hungry and so they waft warm bakery smells through the air-conditioning system.” 12) “The most profitable impulse buys and special offers are placed on aisle ends – and shops are designed to ensure you pass as many ends as possible.” 13) “The supermarkets’ key weapon is the use of the eye-level display. Experiments have shown that when we walk down an aisle, we often look only at the shelves that are level with our eyes.” 14) “Trick number two is the position of the bread and milk – the ‘destination goods’. They are placed at the back and the middle to ensure you walk past as many other aisles and ends as possible. Stores are keen for you to walk past clothes, gifts and gadgets – the most profitable lines.” 15) “‘You’re in Wal-Mart, when all of a sudden a display of canned corn the size of a small house blocks your path,’ says Lindstrom, ‘and you can’t help but notice, Hey, this is only $1.50.’ Guess what? That canned pyramid wasn’t built for aesthetic reasons. Whether it’s an in-store obstruction trumpeting a deal, or merely your cell phone ringing, the latest science proves that whenever we’re interrupted, we lose our focus and become more likely to spend.” 26) “‘Would you like to receive 15% of your purchase today?’ the saleswoman trills, offering an application for the store’s credit card. At LearnVest, we’ve told you many times that opening an in-store card was a bad idea, but ‘millions of women still fall for it,’ says Lindstrom. Here’s why what seems like a good offer actually works against you: again, the unexpected interruption. You were ready to pay, had your card out, and her offer catches you off guard. ‘That’s when they go in for the kill,’ says Lindstrom. ‘You think: ‘Well, why not? What’s the harm?’ The harm is major.’ Research shows that with that card in hand, you spend an average of 30% more. Plus, the store will now know all of your buying habits. ‘It’s a practice so deceptive,’ says Lindstrom, ‘some members of Congress think this should be regulated.’” 2
7) “Every single detail of your shopping experience-the placement of every shelf, box, sign, and restroom; the background music; color of paint on the wall; words the staff use to greet you-is a precisely orchestrated merchant-customer dance designed to achieve maximum sales results.” 3

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