Especially if you think you’ve bagged a bargain. But before you pat yourself on the back for being such a savvy shopper, look at your receipts – you probably spent more than you planned to.
Retailers and big brands use marketing tricks worthy of Derren Brown to make sure you spend, spend, spend. After all, their sole purpose in life is to get you to part with as much of your cash as possible.
And with Christmas on the way, the big supermarkets will be bringing out the big guns with sneaky marketing tricks and gimmicks that would make even Scrooge hand over his bag of gold coins.
Short of turning off the Internet/TV/phone, staying in your house forever and wearing a bag on your head, it would be very hard to avoid marketing strategies these days. But if you’re prepared, you won’t fall for them.
So here we arm you with some insider knowledge to help you navigate around those dastardly marketing tricks and hang on to more of your hard-earned cash.
10 Sneaky Marketing Tricks That Make You Spend (and how to fight back)
1. Dazed and Confused
Ever noticed that the thing you were after isn’t where it was before? So off you go around the shop on the hunt for it.
But oh hang on, you notice another product which looks good and just pop it into your basket. Retailers move things deliberately to make you go around the houses, putting those lovely offers into your trolley on the way….
2. Dodgy Multi-Buys and Bogoffs
Three packs of rice for £3? Look closer, often each one will cost £1 or maybe £1.05 so you make little or no savings. You just end up buying three packs of rice, instead of the one you needed. Look at individual item prices to make sure you are getting the best deal.
3. The ‘Casino Effect’
Look closely – most shops, especially supermarkets, don’t have windows. Or if they do they are very high up, tinted or blocked by displays.
Las Vegas casinos deliberately do this to cut gamblers off from the outside world, making sure they carry on popping the slots. Supermarkets have cottoned onto this sneaky marketing trick too – after all, the longer you’re shopping the more you’ll buy.
4. Luxury for Less
Sometimes the only thing separating a ‘luxury’ item from the bog standard item is the gold-coloured packaging.
Downshifting a brand on certain goods can save you a LOT of dough. Often the products are of the same of similar quality. Take Money Saving Expert’s Downshift Challenge to see how much you can save.
5. Running the Aisle Gauntlet
Shops place products strategically to tempt you to buy them. Notice how the colourful, fresh produce, flowers, crisps, chocolate and baked goods stand are at the front of most supermarkets?
They make you feel good as you enter the shop.
End of aisles are another good place to catch your eye. But you are guaranteed to find cheaper products if you venture to the less traversed parts of the aisle.
Also, notice how essentials like bread, milk and eggs are often at the back of the store? So you are forced to run the gauntlet of more interesting things before you reach them…
6. The Big SALE!!! con
Shops lure you in with those big, red signs. But if you are not a dedicated bargain hunter, they bank on you leaving the jumbled sales racks and drifting over to the full-price section.
Some furniture shops also have almost constant sales to make you think you are getting a bargain…Go to the sales but if you don’t find anything – get outta there.
7. Look Up, Look Down
If placing things miles away or practically in your face wasn’t bad enough, retailers also put the products they want you to buy at eye level.
Nobody looks at the bottom or top shelves, where the cheaper products are most likely to be.
Remember: always look up and look down before you buy.
8. Hurry! Hurry!
If we are told to get a move on and do something, most of us will slavishly obey. It’s human nature – we don’t want to miss out on anything.
Retailers tap into this with ‘limited offers.’ The fact that there might be a limited amount of the product on offer makes us want to buy it, and quick.
Keep calm, the product will probably be on offer for longer than you are made to believe…. And if it was on offer once, it’ll be on offer again.
9. Have this Lovely Thing – for FREE
Make you look twice? It’s nice to be handed a free biscuit or cube of luxury cheese while you are slogging around the shops. But this taps into your very British sense of politeness.
You go on to buy the product because you feel obligated. Come on, they have given you something free after all……No! Be ruthless, have a taste and move on.
10. Beware Celeb Endorsements
From coffee pods endorsed by the easy-on-the-eye George Clooney to celebrity hairdressers with their own range of shampoos (see John Frieda, Charles Worthington etc.), we trust a product which we think a celebrity uses in their homes.
Oldest trick in the book. The supermarket own brand shampoo is unlikely to be that much different to the posh bottle. Read the ingredients on the back and you’ll see that under the flashy packaging and life-transforming slogans, it’s just soap really.
How to Fight Back on these Sneaking Marketing Tricks
How to avoid falling for their dirty tricks? Choose your weapon….
- Take a List. A well-planned list will help you stick to only buying the things you need.
- Cut Off Your Senses. Create your own little bubble. Plug in your iPod with some upbeat music which will make you move faster and ‘cut you off’ from the temptations of the store. Or download an interesting radio programme that gets you thinking, taking your mind off those bogoffs….
- Don’t Go Hungry. You are likely to spend much more in the supermarket if you are feeling peckish. Eat before you go and avoid having your stomach piqued by all those baking smells.
- Use A Basket And Not a Trolley. Big trolleys make you want to fill them. If you have to lug a basket you will buy less.
- Be Smart – Use Your Phone. Don’t get hoodwinked by what you think is a low price. Check it on your phone while in the shop, it may be cheaper elsewhere.
- Choose The Dullest Aisle. Start your shop in a boring place, like the toilet roll aisle. By the time you get to the exciting aisles you’ll be getting tired of shopping….
- Don’t Take Your Kids. Can I have it? Can I have it? Can I have it? Can I have it? If they say it enough, like a form of torture, you WILL buckle. The retailers know this and place products accordingly. Leave the kids at home while you shop.