How Stores Get You to Spend More

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When it comes selling stuff, you can count on retail stores having a bagful of tricks to get you to spend more. Most of us are not aware of it, but a lot of these tricks are grounded on studies, that’s why they work and we don’t even notice it. How do they do it? Here are some examples.

Prices that end in .99 or .95

This is a pretty common way to charm buyers that something is cheaper than it should be. People tend to round off the number to the left, so that a $4.99 or $4.95 item would be read by your brain as $4 when it fact it’s far closer to $5. This “left-digit effect” is so effective that there now stores whose themes revolve around the idea of $.99, i.e., all their items are priced with .99 on the right side.

Hiding the dollar sign

The dollar sign reminds people that something costs money. When that reminder is taken away, people associate the numbers less with money. In fact, a study by the Cornell University found out that when diners were shown menus with dollar signs or the word “dollars” on the prices, they tend to spend less.

Price anchoring

You know how when sales people offer you items at an amazing discount? A $100 perfume is automatically offered at 50% discount without your asking at all. Then you realize that indeed it is a good deal and you should buy it now because you don’t have time to come back for it. The truth is that the salesman had anchored your brain to the $100 price, so that when he offers it for $50, it all seems so cheap when in fact, he still makes profit even after selling it for less.

Setting a minimum for free shipping

Who wants to pay for shipping when you can get it for free? You just have to spend a few more dollars to get the free shipping. Oftentimes, this is imposed in many online stores such as Amazon. However, instead of simply throwing in something, which could cost double digits more just to avail of free shipping, simply calculate the shipping costs versus the additional cost you need to spend. More importantly, ask yourself if you really need the item. If not, just pay for the shipping cost, or simply wait for the time when you can visit a physical store.

They bundle up items or services

Bundling services (such as cable and internet) also appeal to many of us buyers because it appears as if we are getting more than what we are paying for. But the truth is that retailers are smart. They always get the better end of the deal.

They let you buy now and pay later

This is a trick credit card issuers do to tempt you to buy. Instead of charging you right away on the next billing cycle, some credit card issuers offer promos that charge you only after 60 days of purchase. That means you get your reward but it won’t show up on your bill until two billing cycles later. Nothing has actually changed. They only delayed charging your account, because they know that buyers are more willing to purchase if they delay the payment.

Know other tricks that retailers use to get you to buy more? Let us know in the comments section!

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