How Retailers Use Science to Tempt You into Additional Purchases

Metal sign holder stands

You are walking through your favorite retailer, scanning all of the aisles and racks, How do you decide what to purchase? You might have a list of needed items, but most people add to this list during shopping. Impulse buys are one of the most common types of purchases, after all. The retailer actually has the store set up specifically to tempt you into buying items that are not on your shopping list. They draw your attention to a variety of items, in a couple of different ways.

Sales and clearance stickers
If you have ever spotted a sale or clearance price tag on an item, it was probably a different color than the original clear price tag sleeves. It is usually a brighter color, in red, yellow, or orange to better grab your attention. There may even be specific custom retail displays that hold only sale and clearance items. You probably do not even pay attention to what the cost is, instead focusing on how much the item used to be, and how much of a discount you will receive. This is a common way for retailers to push out last season?s inventory and make room for new items.

Retail display fixtures
Have you ever went into a store for an item, and then purchased additional items that simply go perfectly with that original item? Retailers carefully plan and set up retail display fixtures. These retail display fixtures may be surrounded around a theme. For example, if you purchased a new blouse for work, it is likely to be surrounded by skirts and pants that pair perfectly with it, further tempting you to purchase one of the accompanying items. Between 6 and 10 purchases in a store can be classified as impulse purchases.

Advertising signs
Some products or items may get lost among other similar items. However, some retailers use large signs to call attention to a specific item or brand. You may notice the discount, the poster easel, or the large and colorful sign. Science says that you are more likely to purchase that brand now. Several studies, including one from Brigham Young University showed that merchandise with a sign outsold merchandise without a sigh by 20%. This all works on brand recognition. We tend to purchase the brands that we recognize and have purchased before.

Entrance signs
Entrance signs are important in pushing temptation buys because they encourage you, the customer, to visit a different part of the store than was originally planned. If you came in for one item, you may simply walk to a specific department of the store, and miss out on many impulse items. The picture display stand at the front of the store, however, directs you into additional departments. It may tempt you with a sale, a new brand, or a free sample. According to a 2014 Mass Merchant Study, 16% of unplanned purchases were due to a display noticed while shopping.

Door signs
Door sign holders attract customers to the store that never intended on coming into the store in the first place. Perhaps you were walking through a strip mall, with your destination in mind, and you were distracted by a large door or window sign. These retail display fixtures lined at the front of the store are to attract customers into the store. Once a customer notices the retail display fixtures and enters the store, they are more likely to purchase something and return as a planned customer in the future.

Shopping is actually a science. It involves a lot of planning, advertising, and measuring of how a retailer can attract guests to visits different departments of the store. Retailers use things like poster easels, retail display fixtures, picture display stands, sale and clearance racks, brightly colors clearance stickers, and entrance signs. All of these methods tempt you into browsing additional items, with the hopes of increasing your purchase amount.

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