I Worked in Retail for 6 Years, and Here’s How Fashion Stores Make Us Spend More Money

year ago

Sales associates are well-trained in using psychological techniques to boost their customers’ moods in different ways: carefully chosen colors, music, scents, and a sense of luxury. Stores meticulously arrange their furniture and work with shapes, ask you to “just try” some items, and produce similar things to bigger brands. In fact, they do all of this to attract customers and make them stay inside longer!

My name is Sophia Jones, and I worked as a sales associate at Tommy Hilfiger and Gap. Especially for Bright Side, I will reveal the retail stores’ secrets to help you understand their tricks so you can beat them at their own game.

1. A big red “SALE” sign creates a sense of urgency and attracts more customers.

Ever wondered why all those sale signs that promise a good deal are red? Here, stores use basic psychology and use the color that we react to the most. In the human mind, red is associated with a cue for danger. This reaction creates a sense of urgency and causes customers to make a purchase.

2. Clothes and accessories are shown in sets and “groupings.”

Customers will rarely find a mannequin with just one item on. For stores it’s important to show you how you can style their products. If a customer likes an item, there is a high chance that they will buy another that matches or compliments it — this is called “cross-selling.” Sellers pay a lot of attention to the fabrics, patterns, and styles they choose for the whole outfit. If you found the pants nice, you will most likely want a nice jacket or a shirt to complete the outfit.

3. They use things to slow you down.

Stores want you to spend as much time as possible inside, so they use small tricks to slow their customers down. They arrange tables, hangers, and racks so your walking pattern becomes crooked and curved. This approach makes customers walk slower and allows them to find more items to buy.

4. They suggest you “add-on” items.

On your way to the fitting room, a retail associate is more likely to suggest that you try a basic shirt or an accessory with your chosen items. They say that it will help you see your item with something similar to what you have at home. However, their real intention is to make you add this suggested item to your purchase. In retail, this technique is called “suggestive selling.”

5. The sale section is placed close to the fitting rooms.

A lot of stores place their sale section at both the entrance and at the back of the store. First, interested customers enter the store, observe the sale items, choose the ones they like and head straight to the fitting room. There they face another clearance section. It’s done this way so the customers will be trapped by the discounts and will most likely add more to their purchase. “It’s on sale and I’m close to the fitting room, why not just try it?”

6. Clothes are made to be slightly out of season.

Have you ever noticed how fast a lot of clothing stores change their collections? They keep adding new items representing the “current” fashions almost every week! The fabrics they use are also cheap and will most likely fall apart quickly. This trick makes their customers feel like they are outside of the modern trends and dressed out-of-season. This feeling is unpleasant for many people and inspires people to hunt for more brand-new, “stylish” clothes and accessories week after week.

7. They use alluring scents and well-selected music to boost their customers’ moods.

Ever wondered why all of a sudden you feel upbeat when entering clothing stores? Retailers pick the bright colors, floral scents, and music carefully to remind customers of happy times in their lives and encourage them. Using the right aroma also creates the perfect ambiance for the customer and connects them, on an emotional level, with the brand. Research has shown that the right music makes customers stay in the store longer and spend more.

8. They create a shiny and appealing display.

Most stores always try to create a display of a small selection of their items behind the super shiny store window. Bright colors, neat design, and lots of lights create the image of the store and make it look luxurious. Since this display prevents customers from looking straight into the store, but looks really attractive, people are forced to come inside.

9. They use a “hug-shaped” design.

Retailers know that people are attracted to round and U-shapes, so they are always ready to give you a so-called “hug.” They design their stores to look round, arrange U-shaped backgrounds, and hang circular signs from the ceiling. This subconsciously resembles a person opening their arms to give them a hug and invites people to enter the space.

Have you ever spent more than you intended? Do you have favorite clothing stores that use the tricks mentioned in the article? Do you know of some more? Share with us in the comment section!

Please note: This article was updated in May 2022 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.
Preview photo credit depositphotos.com, depositphotos.com


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They make their salesmen wear all black to get their customers attention off the shop crew and redirect it to the items they need to sell. Quite smart I must say !


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