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The Psychology of Shopping

The Psychology of Shopping Posted on January 23, 2018Leave a comment

Ever wonder why a store is laid out the way it is whenever you are perusing up and down the aisles while looking for the one item you came for? Why you must trek through the entire store to get to the eggs and milk? Or why clothes are folded and stacked neatly on tables? Well, it should come to no surprise, but retailers have been studying us and our habits and have tailored made their brick-and-mortar stores to entice us to buy more or buy items spontaneously.

While it is more straight forward how online retailers can more directly craft advertisements to you based on your order history or your search history, there is a certain elegance and subtlety to traditional retailers in their approach. Relying more on psychological tricks and playing to our senses, this article will explore the psychology of shopping.

 

Staples in the Back

 

            It is not by accident that all the food staples (like eggs, milk, meat, butter) of a grocery store are in the back. The design is to make you walk by as many products as possible to get to these staples in hopes to get you to pick up an unexpected item. The probability of this greatly increases with each item you pass to what you came to the store for. Not only are you susceptible to this persuasion on the way to the staples, but you are equally likely to buy additional products on the way back to the cashier.

 

Music That Gets You in the Mood

 

Research has shown that the music can impact our shopping decision subliminally. A study from 2005 stated that the average shopper spends an additional $32 of unplanned purchases whenever popular, slow-tempo music is played in the store compared to those who shopped with no music.

The slow-tempo tunes tend to make shoppers roam around and browse more than they normally would.

 

Neat Piques Curiosity

 

            Clothing retailers have a two-pronged approach to why folded clothes are the best way to get you to make a purchase. The first reason is that a folded garment is an open invitation for you to touch it. Studies have shown that if a customer touches an article of clothing then they become more emotionally attached to it and thus more likely to buy it.

The second reason for folded clothes is that it makes the shopper curious to what the rest of it looks like, which forces the customer to touch it. Of course, retailers place signs near clothes that say “touch me” to up the chances a customer will feel the product.

 

Words that Trigger

 

Being able to conjure up memories of pleasant times is a very powerful tool in the retailer’s belt. Activating these memories can occur using words, scents, sounds or sights. Using words like “home cooking” or “grandma’s” or “camping” are loaded words that are specifically targeted to trigger your nostalgia and to provoke an emotional response out of you. Retailers rely on invoking these feelings in hopes you will buy their products.

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