December 1, 2022

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What tricks are stores trying to get you to spend more money with?  "It's good to know how you're being played" |  My guide: the consumer

What tricks are stores trying to get you to spend more money with? “It’s good to know how you’re being played” | My guide: the consumer

It’s Black Friday shopping time, but in reality stores, cafes or even cinemas are trying to lure you all year round with all kinds of “discounts” or tricks. They try to influence your financial choices without you even realizing it. So consumer psychologist Patrick Wessels shares five commonly used tricks to keep you from spending too much money.

Wessels is sometimes affected by the tricks of store marketing: “If you put me on a shopping street on a busy Saturday afternoon, with stimuli of sound and images, I am also susceptible to it. Because then it is difficult for me to think rationally about the purchase.” In retrospect, I realized that I fell in love with it Anyone can be seduced, but it’s nice to know how to play.”


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Some companies are more than happy to let you know whose products most other people choose. Buyers rarely check this out.

Consumer psychologist Patrick Wessels

1. Delete the euro sign
In the coffee chain, you can see what you can order on the board above the counter, and at the end of the line, for example, you will find 5 instead of 5 euros. Why do they do this? “The euro sign is an association with money,” Wismes explains. “That’s deliberately omitted, just like other financial associations like a comma or a dash. Because then your brain will automatically make a decision. Five euros for a coffee is that a good deal? And of course it’s not. You’re basically facing this way with products you don’t really need.”

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2. Social proof
“Best Seller,” “Most Choice,” or “Customer Favourite,” some companies go to great lengths to let you know which of their products the most other people choose. why? Wessels: “So they can sell what they want you to buy. Buyers rarely validate that. Get a SIM-only subscription. For example, cheap, medium and expensive mean ‘most preferred.’ Nobody knows if that’s really the case. But most people don’t know what kind of data they actually need, so they choose the one that says ‘most selective.’ If everyone else chooses that collectively, that will be the best option.”

3. Scarcity
“Up is up!” A way to prove your worth especially on Black Friday. Rarity makes it attractive. “There are two variants of this: ‘It’s a limited time offer’ is the friendly version. For example, a customer has the opportunity to pay not €100 but €50 for a product for a week,” says Wessels. “The second is more competitive: Gone Gone. If there are only 10 products left and you’re Buyer #11, you’re missing out. The question is whether it’s really ‘on’. But it works.”


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As a marketer, the intention is for the highest price to enter the consumer’s brain first, then the lowest

Consumer psychologist Patrick Wessels

4. The classic deduction method: “pinning”
“First 100€, but now only 50€!” “This is the classic deduction method,” Wessels says. “As a marketer, the goal is for the highest price to enter the brain of the consumer first, and then into the brain of the lowest consumer. For example, if someone asks you what your hourly wage is, you first say €150, but this time I will do it for €75. You don’t judge this 75 objectively, but in relation to 150 euros. If you don’t say anything and immediately say 75 euros, people might think: a lot of money. But because of the ‘fixation’, the second amount seems to be better than expected.” .

At the movies we tend to take the largest container of popcorn. © Getty Images

5. Distraction: “decoy”
Let’s say you go to the movies and there are three sizes of popcorn. Small 3€, medium 6€ and large 7€. Since the difference between medium and large is only 1 euro, many people tend to buy the largest. If it’s not the middle option, you’re not likely to spend $7 on a bowl of popcorn. The middle option is “decoy”.

Wessels: “This is actually a divergent effect. A real ‘decoy’ is a worse option than other options. For example, a subscription to a magazine where the choice is: only 50 euros per year on paper, on paper and on the Internet 100 euros per year, and the Internet Only €100 a year.Of course no one will choose that option.With the popcorn story you can also choose the small container or the middle container if you don’t want to spend one euro more.If you only have a choice of small or large, three quarters of people will choose the container Small and a quarter for the big container, thinking they got a good deal.”

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