5 tricks stores use to make you spend more money

Industry tricks: There's a world of technique behind the way retailers present products.

Industry tricks: There's a world of technique behind the way retailers present products. Photo: Getty

When it comes to buying loads of stuff that you probably didn't need, what happens between good intentions and that hefty addition to your credit card statement?

Doug Fleener, blogging brains behind Retail Contrarian, has an idea. The man whose job it is to advise companies on how best to sell you things recently wrote an article for Business Insider, ‘How to get someone to buy something’, revealing every trick in the book when it comes to consumer manipulation. The best sales people have mastered the following five things …

They create anticipation

Choice phrases such as “You’ll just love this [insert name of costly item that you do not need]” or “I’ve got the perfect thing for you” are much more enticing then “Let me show you this.” Through building anticipation, you’ve become emotionally invested in the product before even seeing it.


They present the product to you

We’re just as capable of pulling clothing off the rack as any sales person, but somehow they manage to do it in a way that’s so much more appealing. To start, they don’t just slide it over the counter. The best retail workers present it to you with two hands or holding the garment against their forearm before letting you have a try. A bit of flair and flourish in how an item is presented communicates value, even if you’re not in a high-end store.

They have you experience the product

Once you’ve put on the dress, strutted around in the heels and seen the blush give your face a natural wintry flush, it’s much harder to resist. One glance in the mirror and you think your life will be better because of it.

They make you emotionally invested in the product

A savvy shop assistant doesn’t just tell you that the bag’s handle is ergonomic or that the leather is supple and buttery. They have you touch it, hold it and then ask, “Can you feel it?” or “Do you notice the detail?”

They behave like your best bud

Don’t you hate mirror-less change rooms? A blatant ploy designed to lure you out from hiding so that shop girls can bombard you with their cheeriness. You’re asked about your day and before you know it, you’re answering questions about where you got your shoes from, where you get your hair cut and engaging in banter about how cute something is. Treat them as you would a sworn frenemy.

This sort of thing doesn’t just happen in luxury stores. As Fleener writes, "I've seen a salesperson treat a $40 product as if it was priced at $500, and I've seen a salesperson treat a $500 product like it was worth $40. Guess which salesperson sold more?"

We’re not saying you can’t have nice things. Just keep these tactics in mind – you’ll be better equipped to stick to your budget and not be taken for a ride.