I see you.
Entering the store.
Welcome. Look at the amazing offers by the entrance.
Here, we'll play some relaxing store music to make you feel comfortable. It's nice in here isn't it. We have air conditioning. Look at how friendly our staff look.
Check out some of our offers. Take your time. There's nothing to worry about. You can afford it. Everything is fine.
Yes that one is on offer. A very good choice sir.
Look, the checkouts are over here. Come this way. Open your fucking wallet. Pull out your credit card peasant. That's it.. Tap it. Good boy. There we go. Tap that loyalty card. Claim your "savings". That's a good little peasant. HAHAHA. See you after your next paycheck you fucking cretin!
This is internal monologue of a retail store if it were alive. (This particular store seems to have..well.. a few issues..)
Retail stores have one goal and one goal only. To transfer the money in your wallet into the cash registers. In cash, or electronically.
To those in the retail industry you may as well be a walking dollar sign.
Retail stores use a myriad of techniques to help each customer empty as much of their wallet as they possibly can.
THERE'S A REASON YOU FIND YOURSELF BUYING MORE THAN YOU INTENDED.
While a retail store may appear to simply be a building in which you can purchase the items you need at your convenience, there is SO MUCH MORE going on here.
FITTING ROOM MIRRORS
Ever notice how fucking sexy you look in the fitting room mirrors of clothing stores?
In the eyes of the retailer, your time in the fitting room is the most crucial moment of all. By the time you leave that room you will have probably decided whether or not you're going to hand over your money. Do you really think they're just going to put any old mirror in there?
Of course not.
The fitting room mirror, along with the lighting provided, is designed to be as flattering as it can be. If a customer looks good wearing the garment in the fitting room they are obviously far more likely to purchase it.
The mirrors will be subtlety slimming and the lighting will improve your complexion. The shadows will lay perfectly over your body because the light source has been carefully placed.
You self-esteem is raised. You start getting positive feelings towards the garment. And you buy. Success.
To find out more of the dirty secrets of the fashion industry click here.
Ever noticed that every supermarket looks, well, kind of the same?
That's because people study supermarket buying behaviour. And the template each supermarket uses has been studied extensively.
For example, the essential items, like milk or eggs, are placed right at the back of the store. This forces the customer to walk through the entire score and be exposed to all of the other non-essential items first. The same can be said for the placement of the in-store pharmacies. If the pharmacy was placed near the entrance of the store, customers would simply grab their drugs and head straight back out again.
Other popular items are placed in the middle of the isles rather than at the ends to have the same effect.
Many supermarkets make the customer walk through the store in an anti-clockwise direction because the majority of people have a dominant right hand. This makes the customer's journey around the store more comfortable.
The fruit and vegetables section is always placed right at the entrance of the store. This is because studies show that doing this makes customers percieve the food in the rest of the store as "fresher".
It also allows customers not to feel as guilty for buying the less healthy products later on.
There is always junk food placed right next to the checkout to remove the the guilt of buying it. It's just "something extra" at the end of the trip. You already stocked up on fresh vegetables right as you walked in so it's ok to have an extra chocolate bar right?
You can find out why you always end up buying junk food products here.
The shopping cart is made far bigger than is necessary for most peoples shopping. This has the effect of making people feel obligated to fill the rest of the cart.
The in-store bakery is often positioned just after the fruit and vegetables section and wafts the smell of freshly baked bread into the customers noses. This not only tempts the customer to visit the bakery, but also increases their hunger and makes the rest of the food in the store more tempting.
RESTAURANTS AND CAFES
Starbucks and Mcdonalds. Two giant brands. Yet they use two very different strategies to rake in the dollars.
One reason for the resounding success of Starbucks is the way they meticulously layout their stores. The chairs and tables are placed at the perfect height, phone chargers are placed within easy reach in the perfect location and there's enough space between tables so as to not feel claustrophobic. They use atmospheric lighting, the staff are trained not to come wiping down your table every 20 minutes and unlimited Wifi is readily available.
Because every Starbucks store is so goddamn comfortable, people will stay for a long time. And everybody understands the unspoken rule of purchasing a cup of coffee or a Frappachino every hour for their stay.
Compare this strategy with that of Mcdonalds.
Mcdonalds use hard plastic chairs and ugly grey plastic tables. The chairs are placed at awkward uncomfortable heights. They play no music, the only sounds that can be heard is the beeping of the machines. The staff are constantly wiping down tables in front of you and mobbing floors around you.
Mcdonalds is not comfortable. And it's not supposed to be. They want you in and out as quickly as possible. Because if Mcdonalds was a comfortable place, it would be overcrowded. All the time. And their sales would decrease.
I'm talking about the dude at the front of the store awkwardly greeting people who don't want to be greeted.
He's not there simply to be friendly. He's there because it significantly lowers the amount of theft that happens in the store. People don't like to steal from people who have been nice to them, as it turns out.
The amount it costs to pay the dude at the front of the store is less than the value amount of items that would have otherwise been stolen.
Ah the classic shopping mall music. Calm, relaxing, inoffensive. Most supermarkets will play pop music with a positive relaxing tone.The music will keep your heart rate and blood pressure nice and low and you will stay relaxed. This means you will walk around the store slowly which increases the chances of you buying more.
One study showed that we buy 17% more when exposed to Christmas music in the supermarket. The music brings up nostalgic memories of consumption and makes us more likely to spend extra.
Clothing stores have a different approach. Their soundtrack is kept stylish and slick as a reflection on the clothes available in-store
If you don't think music has an impact on you, just imagine how you would feel if the store decided to play death metal or up-tempo trance music. Or imagine if there was no music at all? Just silence along with the screeching of shopping trolleys.
Let's get one thing clear. The loyalty cards are not made for your benefit. They issue them because they increase profits.
Think of the classic coffee card. Buy 9 coffees and your 10th one comes free.
"Why not" you think. It's a free coffee after all.
But this is probably going to make you buy coffees more often than you normally would. It gives you a tool to justify buying an extra cup of coffee. Only 2 more until your free coffee after all.
To put it simply, coffee cards make you spend more money. The coffee place wouldn't issue them otherwise.
And the same is true for loyalty cards. That's because they work in persuading people to buy more. The amount that customers save in the various offers and the collection of points is LESS than the increase in profits the supermarkets see.
LOYALTY CARDS WORK FOR RETAILERS, NOT FOR YOU.
These loyalty cards are so effective at increasing profits that more or less all major retailers have adopted the model.
But loyalty cards go much further than the simple coffee card premise.
The real value they hold is in the data they collect.
Retailers already collect transaction information from the checkout. This allows them to see trends in which products sell and when. They can watch as the sales of sunglasses begin to rise as the summer season begins. They can track which promotions work and which ones fail. They see exactly what the optimal price of each product is. Credit cards can be also be tracked, so the purchasing trends of each individual can be followed.
Loyalty cards the the next step.
THEY ALLOW TRANSACTIONAL INFORMATION TO BE ATTACHED TO A DEMOGRAPHIC
Because when you sign up to a loyalty card you give the retailer your personal information. So the retailer knows if you're a 40 year old father, a 75 year old grandmother or a 18 year old collage student. Not only can they now track buying trends, they can also track which demographics are buying which products.
A great example of this is a cereal brand called Grape-Nuts (ew) that was sold in Sainbury's supermarket. Despite the low sales of this product, the data trends collected from loyalty cards showed that the buyers of Grape-nuts tended to be incredbily loyal to Sainsbury's and spent loads overall with each shopping trip. Therefore, it was worth keeping the product on the selves.
As a loyalty card holder, the retailer can see what you purchased within the last week. If you came into the supermarket last Friday and bought baby's nappies, the offers printed on the back of your receipt after the next shopping trip will be full of baby-related products. If your last shopping trip involved buying salad, fruit and a bag of quinoa, the supermarket can use this data to present you offers that you're most likely to buy. Such as a book named "Lose 5 stone in 30 days!" or a weight-loss shake.
If the retailer can see that you're a 23 year old male student, you're more likely to get offers of headpones. laptops and notepads. If they can see that you're a 80 year old woman, they'll be more likely to send you offers of knitting books and cookery equipment. Or maybe not. Maybe their data shows them that this 80 year old woman tends to buy Rolling stone magazine and guitar picks.
They can tailor the PERFECT offers to each individual.
Now all this data has a value.
Because this data can make money for other businesses.
So retailers will sell your information to other businesses. They'll sell on your personal information as well as your current buying behaviour.
So if you go to a book store and purchase a book named "Buying my first house", you shouldn't be surprised if you're suddenly swamped with sales calls from real estate agents. Because the book store has sold on your personal information to a real estate company searching for individuals ready to buy a house.
If you head out and buy a load of cooking equipment, it's quite likely you will begin to receive leaflets in the mail from different businesses selling you cookery books.
While we're wandering around the shopping malls like lemmings, retailers are using the cutting edge of science to change your buying decisions.
That's why you always end up buying more than you intended.
It's not a coincidence that basically EVERYBODY does this at one point or another.
As the science gets more advanced, retailers will only get better and better at persuading people to buy more.