C’mon, buy one more thing, OK?

In class this week, I was noting that for many (most ?) retailers, the difference between low (on no) profits and extraordinary profits is getting people to throw just one more item into the shopping cart.

Well, Business Insider must have been listening in …



Specifically, BI offered up  18  ways that retail stores get us to buy more stuff.

Here’s the list …

To make you buy more …

  1. A big, bold “SALE” sign helps get people in the store, where they are likely to buy non-sale items.
  2. Once you enter, there’s the shopping cart. This invention was designed in the late 1930s to help customers make larger purchases more easily.
  3. In supermarkets, high margin departments like floral and fresh baked goods are placed near the front door, so you encounter them when your cart is empty and your spirits are high.
  4. Flowers and baked goods also sit near the front of stores because their appealing smell activates your salivary glands, making you more likely to purchase on impulse.
  5. Supermarkets like to stick dairy products and other essentials on the back wall, forcing you to go through the whole store to reach them.
  6. Once customers start walking through a store’s maze of aisles, they are conditioned to walk up and down each one without deviating.
  7. People are more likely to purchase items on the right-hand side of the aisle [so, that’s where high high margin products are shelved].
  8. Anything a store really wants customers to buy is placed at eye level.
  9. The most favored items are highlighted at the ends of aisles.
  10. There’s also kid eye level. This is where stores place toys, games, sugary cereal, candy, and other items a kid will see and beg his parents to buy.
  11. Sample stations and other displays slow you down while exposing you to new products.
  12. Stores also want items to be in easy reach. Research shows that touching items increases the chance of a purchase.
  13. Color affects shoppers, too. People are drawn into stores by warm hues like reds, oranges, and yellows, but once inside cool colors like blues and greens encourage them to spend more.
  14. Hear that music? Studies show that slow music makes people shop leisurely and spend more. Loud music hurries them through the store and doesn’t affect sales. Classical music encourages more expensive purchases.
  15. Store size matters, too. In crowded places, people spend less time shopping, make fewer purchases (planned and impulsive), and feel less comfortable .
  16. Stores not only entice you with sales, they also use limited-time offers to increase your sense of urgency in making a purchase.
  17. The most profitable area of the store is the checkout line. Stores bank on customers succumbing to the candy and magazine racks while they wait.
  18. Finally, there is the ubiquitous “valued shopper” card. This card gives you an occasional deal in exchange for your customer loyalty and valuable personal data.

For more details – including some research sources – check out the Business Insider article.

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