Marketing Tricks That Make You Spend More

marketing tricks

Marketing tricks can make you spend more than you think.  With the holiday season is fast approaching, is your wallet ready?

Kids aren’t the only ones happy during the holiday season. Retailers are thrilled to welcome you (and your money) into their stores. They know what you want. They will make you feel valued as a consumer and will give you the best deals, from huge discounts to free goodies.

So what’s the catch?

Whether it’s a holiday or it’s just a regular day, marketing tricks or mind games are being played on you every time you shop. You and your spending behavior are being manipulated and it’s up to you whether you’ll think twice or find the most accessible short-term loan option available to finance your spending.

Below are seven smooth and sneaky marketing tricks retailers use to make you spend more.

Prices one cent short of a whole number

$9.99 and $10.00 – can you spot the difference? The slight difference of one cent can turn a window shopper into an actual shopper, according to a 2009 study by researchers at Colorado State University and Washington State University. The marketing trick behind these “charm prices” tags is called the left-digit effect. People read from left to right and they’re more likely to register the first number thus, make a conclusion that the item appears cheaper than they really are.


Sale, sale, sale

Did I just hear payday sale? People are easily attracted to red banners, saying there’s a massive sale you can’t miss.

The concept is called loss leader pricing – a trick of selling products below its customary price not necessarily to boost sales but to entice consumers. Retailers and grocers are willing to have dropping prices if it means they are bringing you in the store to spend money. Once you’re in the store and you spot some yellow tags with enticing strikethrough prices, you’ll end up purchasing a few things that aren’t on sale, especially with clever packaging.

Decoy Pricing

Let’s say you’re going to buy a bucket of popcorn. The small bucket costs $3 and the large bucket costs $7. You might think that the large one is expensive so you’ll settle for the smaller one instead. But if you see that there’s a medium size that costs $6, you’ll conclude that it would be a wiser choice to buy the large one.

Decoy pricing increases sales of high-profit items by creating other versions of the product merely to make the expensive versions appear economical by comparison. So if a cashier in a fast food chain asks you to “go large” for only one dollar, think about this concept.

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False sense of urgency

Something that says “buy now or regret it for the rest of your life” always gets us.

The “scarcity effect” trick is timeless. The product is presented as either a part of a “limited time offer” or as an item with a very limited stock. The false sense of urgency forces you to make a “now or never” decision. You also can spot the same tactic in travel booking sites and online retailers wherein you’ll be obliged to hustle in order to get the “remaining seats” left.

Buy x get x FREE

People are always drawn to the word “free.” The catch is retailers make you feel like it’s mandatory to double or bulk up. You end up buying more than what you need, get something you don’t need, or get poor-quality products.

Aside from giving away items for free, another way to make you buy is when you’re asked to choose two items (like two pair of shoes) of equal and/or lesser value and you’ll just pay for the amount of the more expensive one. The downfall is you tend to purchase something more expensive than what you actually wanted.


Accessible random cheap items

The cheap items positioned next to the entrance are also called “open-the-wallet” items, which are designed to get consumers shopping, says independent retail consultant Jeff Green. They often appear as a random display which could include everything from half-priced candles to plastic to-go cups, which you don’t need. They are meant to give shoppers a little extra push to get them in the mood to spend money.

Gruen transfer

Do you feel like you’re shopping in a maze, which makes it difficult for you to pick up your essentials?  This is another of those marketing tricks to make you spend more.

The Gruen transfer (also called the Gruen effect) is the moment when you enter a shopping mall or a grocery store with a confusing layout and you lose track of your original intentions, making you more susceptible to make impulse purchases. If retailers can’t lure you with dropping prices, they’ll use manipulative shopping layouts to slow you down with the hopes of increasing your spending.


Avoid these marketing tricks and you will find that your holiday shopping costs a lot less than you imagined.

Author bio:

Like other young adults, Carmina Natividad also experiences struggles in saving money, yet she finds a way to become a responsible spender. She shares her views on money issues by being a daytime writer for Speedy Money, an Australian-based business, providing short-term borrowing solutions.

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