I’ve Spent 10 Years Working as a Marketer in Retail Chains and I’m Ready to Tell You About the Tricks You Fall for in Stores
Hi, everyone! My name is Pavel and I have spent more than 10 years in marketing in big retail chains and international companies. I know a lot of smart tricks that my colleagues use in order to make regular people buy a lot more than they actually need. Why do retail chains want you to have a bonus card, what “pink tax” is, and why everyone loves to collect stickers with discounts — you will find the answers to these questions in this article.
Especially for Bright Side, I will uncover the secrets that these chains try to hide from their customers.
1. Lockers for storing things are not there to avoid shoplifting.
Lockers for storing your bags at the entrance of supermarkets are not there because they are afraid of thieves that can hide products in their bag and leave. In fact, these lockers are there to free your hands of the stuff you came with. Because if you are carrying a heavy bag on your shoulder, there is a smaller chance that you will buy a lot of things.
2. Carts make you shop longer and spend more.
The special trapezoid shape of the cart was designed to make it look like you didn’t buy a lot of products — until you start packing them in bags at the check-out.
With every year, the carts are becoming bigger and bigger. According to experts, since 2009, the size of carts in supermarkets has almost doubled which has led to a 40% sales increase.
Also, there is a reason why the floors in supermarkets often have tiles that make an empty cart shake and rumble. They are trying to make you move slower so you can see more products and make you want to fill the cart faster to stop the noise.
There are also other tricks that make you stay in the supermarket for a longer period of time: for example, phone chargers installed right on the handle of the cart.
3. Free gifts you have to pay for
Every time you get a free gift for spending a certain amount of money (it is usually something oriented toward children), you are caught in a simple marketing trap. Now, the kid wants to have the whole collection and you have to visit this certain store every time and spend a certain amount of money to get the toy.
4. The “pink tax” that makes women pay more.
The “pink tax” is a tendency in pricing when products for women cost several times more than the same products for men. They often have a pink package and they are identical to men’s things in terms of characteristics and features (for example, shaving blades). So, according to some studies, products for women, on average, cost 7% more than products for men.
5. Stickers with discounts as a way of playing with the customers.
In childhood, many of us had albums where we were supposed to collect stickers from gum and stuff like that, and it was pretty interesting. And even though we are adults now, marketers in retail chains remember our childhood interests and they come up with bright catalogs that make us want to collect their stickers to get a discount.
This is where the game starts, so if you have filled all the blanks, you feel like you’ve won and you want to buy something from the catalog. However, if a completely identical product was on the shelf, you would probably not even notice it.
6. Bonus cards are used to track you.
If you have a discount or a bonus card from a store, you feel like you are a special client, especially if this piece of plastic says that it’s a premium gold card. Yes, these cards really give discounts, but their main purpose is collecting information about your purchases.
When you are filling out a form, you give them your age, your contact information, and most of the time, you are subscribed to ads. Your personal info is legally used by the company in order to learn about you, far more than you can imagine.
For example, marketers know that pregnant women often buy beauty products without smells, they buy certain vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. They see the list of your purchases if you use their bonus card and they can even guess that you are pregnant. This means it’s time for them to send you an ad with discounts for products for kids.
7. The illusion of cheap goods
In almost all supermarkets, there are baskets with a bunch of products with discounts. The thing is, the same products might be placed on the shelves, but you won’t pay attention. The effect of a small mess (for example, when there are a lot of clothes in a basket) makes you feel that these products are much cheaper than the ones on the shelves. Usually, these products are in the most popular locations in the store to make you bump into them and spend a few minutes checking out if there is something interesting for you.
8. The anti-theft gate actually counts the customers rather than thieves.
Many stores have these things installed that are called anti-theft devices. Their main job is not to watch out for thieves, but to count how many people came into the store. This way, the store knows how many people made a purchase and how many people left without buying anything. So, they analyze the effectiveness of certain marketing campaigns. Maybe, you have seen the employees of these stores going through the gate and ducking in order to prevent the system from thinking that they are customers.
9. How they make us buy ordinary thing with unusual packaging
Another trick is to sell a regular product that looks like a gift because the price can be increased by several times. For example, they place shower gel with a sponge in a stylish box or put cheap spices into attractive bottles.
The price for these sets is usually several times higher, because marketers know you won’t choose a cheap gift and you are happy to say goodbye to your money and avoid spending several days thinking about a gift for your relatives.
10. We ignore the details.
Marketers know how to present the advantages of a product correctly or mislead their customers just a bit. For example, if you look at the packaging of your favorite pear juice, you might not notice that the box also hides a picture of an apple and it’s actually apple juice with a pear flavor.
Marketing experts are safe because the list of ingredients says it has apples in it and the pack shows a picture of an apple. So, if a customer didn’t see something, it is the customer’s fault.
11. Portion size influences our behavior.
Gradually, the pieces on chocolate bars are becoming bigger to prevent the customers from worrying about eating too much sugar. Because they still ate just one piece, even though it is a bit bigger now. This way, the people that like chocolate are tricked into buying more because they run out of the chocolate faster.
Also, marketers use another trick: they change the weight of the product without changing the pack we are used to and they reduce the price. So, we buy a smaller piece of chocolate in the same packaging but with a discount.
12. Marketers don’t want men to go shopping with women.
Marketers know that women are more spontaneous in their purchases than men. This is why the designers of stores place the products for men closer to the entrance, in order to stall them while women are packing their carts.
What tricks do you know about?