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8 Tips to Outsmart Marketing Tricks and Become a Genius Shopper

Marketing professionals are experts at driving up sales and encouraging overconsumption. They use every trick in the book to persuade you to purchase something, whether it be a product or service. It’s no surprise that we frequently fall for these traps and wind up spending far too much on something we don’t need. The good news is that there are tricks to avoid such marketing traps.

The Bright Side team compiled a list of things that marketers don’t want you to know to help you avoid overconsumption and wasting your money.

1. Never trust how you look in a fitting room.

We’ve all gone through the humbling experience of seeing your reflection in a fitting room’s mirror and realizing it looks nothing like what you’re used to seeing in other mirrors. The store mirrors give you the most unflattering reflection of every spot and pore on your face. Also, it gives you the illusion that you’re a size or 2 bigger and 5 years older. This is all due to the lighting many stores use.

This marketing ploy plays on the ego of the consumer to persuade them to purchase additional items — in this case, clothing — that will make them feel better about themselves. In a way, they fix a problem that was never there.

2. Avoid the medium-sized drink.

People tend to choose medium-sized drinks because large ones are too big and small ones won’t quench their thirst. The medium beverage, however, isn’t a good deal because it’s only slightly larger than the small one and almost as expensive as the large one. The same marketing trick is applied to movie theatre popcorn. This technique is called the decoy effect, and it occurs when a third option is designed to convince consumers to choose a more expensive choice.

3. Ads make us use more toothpaste than needed.

Most folks brush their teeth with too much toothpaste, while a pea-sized amount is more than enough. This trend originally came from advertisements, where using larger sizes of things looks better and makes us feel that our teeth will be cleaner and whiter if we apply more of the product.

4. Sales are rarely a good idea.

One of the main points of a sale is to maximize profit and make you want to buy more, but it may also be a sign that the product is overpriced or of poor quality. In order to not fall victim to sales, ask yourself if you would pay full price for the product. If the answer is no, put the item back and know that you’re just chasing the instant gratification of buying something new.

5. Turn a blind eye to trends.

If you’re into trendy clothes, you might want to rethink your wardrobe. Every couple of months, there is a new cut of jeans or color that washes over the Internet. The aim of this trend is to make you spend money all year long without actually finding your own style. The piece that is now trendy and sold out will soon become “cringy” and outdated when something else surfaces.

Instead of following trends, put time and effort into finding your style and building a timeless wardrobe.

6. Don’t fall for the illusion of scarcity.

People are more likely to desire things if they appear to be scarce resources. Consider how many people are interested in reading a book after learning that the first edition was sold out in a matter of hours. An example of the scarcity illusion is when an airplane company says, “Only a few tickets left at this price,” or a hotel says, “Just 3 rooms left!”

7. Don’t fall for the allure of owning a limited edition of something.

Companies will sometimes manufacture limited editions in the hopes that people will view them as rare and unique objects. These businesses are aware that people will pay extra for something exclusive and unusual, especially since they are frequently released around festive seasons when people tend to spend more.

Since these products will only be on the brand’s shelves for a short time, the manufacturers rarely put much effort into the quality.

8. Don’t trust the scent of the store.

The mouth-watering smell in the bakery aisle in the supermarket doesn’t come from the oven. Apparently, supermarkets release the odor of “fresh bakery” to make you crave pastries and buy them even if you weren’t planning to. This strategy is called scented marketing.

Which trick are you guilty of falling for? What are some other sales tactics that many people subconsciously fall for?


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