8 Marketing Tricks Retailers Use to Make You Spend More

8 Marketing Tricks Retailers Use to Make You Spend More
8 Marketing Tricks Retailers Use to Make You Spend More

Imagine your typical Christmas shopping experience. You walk into the store and it looks like the North Pole has moved to your local mall. You are greeted with festive red and green decorations everywhere. You hear classic Christmas carols that warm your heart. You smell the sweet scent of mint as memories of opening presents at Grandma's house on Christmas morning begin to flood your mind. And suddenly, you loosen your grip on your wallet, in the "spirit of Christmas."

Oh! He just fell for some super crafty Christmas marketing tactics (aka gimmicks). But don't worry, you're not the only one who gets fooled by those annoying tricks.

Marketing tactics = lots of money

US Christmas retail sales for 2021 hit a whopping $889.3 billion.1 Yes, that's a billion with a B. Sheesh. That's a big part of the change! & Christmas 2022 is projected to cross the $940 billion mark.2

With so much money at stake, is it really any wonder that retailers go out of their way to get us to buy something? At Christmas,& they pull out all the stops. And with inflation still high and the supply chain still out of control, they'll work even harder for you to part with your hard-earned dollars this year.

Retailers know a little secret about us: we are emotional shoppers. They know that if a product gives us warm fuzzy feelings or triggers happy childhood memories, we are more likely to buy it.

So when stores play on our emotions and tap into more than one of our five senses, we usually end up spending a lot more money than we planned. Marketing nerds call that strategy "multi-sensory marketing" and we need to be aware of this, for the sake of our budget.

However, retail tactics are not just limited to our senses. There are plenty of other marketing strategies to consider when doing your holiday shopping this year, both in person and online. Here are eight of the most common.

8 Marketing Tactics to Consider This Christmas

1. Buy now, pay later

Before you split your $400 Black Friday shopping bill into 16 $25 "easy payments" between now and Valentine's Day, hear us out. Don't let multi-million dollar companies trick you into buying gifts you can't afford with buy-now-pay-later scams.

Is it tempting to split your payments that way? Of course it is. That's why companies like Klarna, Affirm and Afterpay keep popping up. But don't get caught in this trap. Spoiler alert: It's just another way to get into debt, something those companies don't want you to realize.

But what if I know I'll make all my payments on time and avoid extra fees? Sorry,& but the data says you probably won't.& Our State of Personal Finances report found that 74% of people who used to buy now pay later in the last three months have missed a payment.

Well, I have a really big income, so there's basically no chance of me missing a payment! Not so fast. The report also found that 82% of households making more than $100,000 a year have missed out on a purchase now, pay later! Trust us:& this shady marketing trick takes advantage of everyone.

2. Credit card store

We've all been at the register when the 17-year-old scanning his items asks the age-old question (as unenthusiastically as possible): "Would you like to open a store credit card and save an extra $15?" % This day?"

Just say no.

Sure, saving 15% might sound like a great deal, but it will cost you credit card interest if you can't pay your bill right away. Also, once he has that store card, he'll be tempted to use it even more. You may think you'll pay right away and grab one quick at the store, but the only one being taken advantage of here is you. They are not offering you the discount because they are friendly, they are doing it because they know they will win in the end.

3. Sales and offers

Hey, there's nothing we like more than a good deal. Yet too often, the only reason we buy something is because it's on sale. Retailers know this, so they'll cover entire stores with those big, bright "25% off" signs.

Online stores do the same thing on their websites, but they have an added superpower: free shipping on orders of a certain value. They know there's a good chance we'll come back and add more to our cart if it means we can lower the cost of shipping.

Shopping for deals and sales is actually a great way to make holiday shopping more affordable; the discounts are not ada bad And hey, we love free shipping! But you have to be careful that you don't end up with a bunch of stuff you don't need (or really don't even want) because of offers you "couldn't pass up."

If you have to spend extra money to save money while checking off items on your list, that defeats the whole purpose of a sale! So do not do it. The best way to save money on something is to not buy it in the first place.

4. Colors

It's hard to avoid red, green, & other bright colors during the holiday season. & that can be a problem because some colors have a big influence on how we see a product or a shopping experience.

For example, the color red creates a "must act now" feeling, & that is widely used by stores to target impulse shoppers (think of all those clearance labels). Blue & green,& on the other hand,& are calmer colors that stores use to attract careful & cautious customers.

The next time you're at the mall & see a red sale tag, take a step back & decide if you really need the item that caught your eye or if you're about to make a purchase on a whim.

5. Music

Music affects our heart rate & our mood. Studies have shown that slow music makes us shop longer, spending more time & more money. Upbeat music,& which stores often play during sales, increases our enthusiasm & encourages us to spend. & during the holidays, Christmas classics can make you feel more nostalgic & willing to buy things you didn't plan on.

Hey,& we're not saying you should walk around department stores wearing noise canceling headphones,& but you should be aware of the effects music playing in a store has on your mood.

6. Odors

The part of our brain that recognizes smells also handles our emotions & memories. So if a company can get us to associate a pleasant scent  & with their products,& we're more likely to buy them. Department stores are good at using scents to control our spending behavior, especially around Christmas. The next time & you're in a store over the holidays, take a deep breath & see if you can smell mint & Christmas trees. & if you do, don't let those smells make you spend too much.

7. Touch

We've all been shopping & come across an item that we suddenly felt like we just had to pick up & touch. Maybe it was a fluffy blanket or a fancy silver laptop. We all have. & it turns out that that's exactly what retailers want you to do because as soon as you touch or hold a product, you start to get a sense of ownership, even before you buy it!

Moral of the story? Take your mom's advice and keep your hands to yourself. Okay, you don't have to go to that extreme, but remember, & if you touch it, you're more likely to buy it.

8. Impulse purchases

You can see it.& The end is in sight.& You've almost made it to the checkout counter when they're there. . . the shelves of goodies & you never knew you needed, aka impulse buys. & These items are usually affordable & useful, so you tell yourself, & I might need this one day.& But beware! These flashy "can't live without" items lining the shelves (ahem, stocking stuffers) can cut your budget to death.& It's the store's last ditch effort to get you to spend a little more money before heading out the door.

Stick to your budget this Christmas

Look, we're not trying to be Scrooge here. There's nothing wrong with getting caught up in the holiday cheer and buying gifts (or buying things to make your own gifts). But it's important to understand that stores do a lot of planning for their holiday shopping experiences (both retail and online).

Keep these marketing tactics in mind, stick to your holiday budget, and save yourself postseason buyer's remorse and a blown budget! Then, you will have a Christmas that will not haunt you again in the new year. Instead of guilt and debt, you will only have sweet memories.

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