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How are we forced to spend money: learn 9 tricks used by supermarkets and what to do about it?

You went in for bread - at the same time, you bought a tent, a bath mat and two litres of olive oil. Familiar situation? Hundreds of marketers are working to make buyers want to buy even what they don't really need. How to avoid becoming a victim of impulsive shopping?

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It is literally impossible to force someone to buy something, but stores actively use psychological tricks to lead customers to make a purchase or speed up the decision to make a purchase.


The brain adjusts to a specific rhythm created by a leisurely, calming tune in the middle of the day or, on the other hand, an energizing melody in the evening. This puts us in a trance and reduces our critical thinking level.

Pleasant smell

According to research, stores use special flavours, which increase the desire to purchase goods – “take away a piece” of the store’s atmosphere. The aroma may depend on the specialization of the outlet. For example, sweet smells – for children’s stores, leather and coffee – for men’s, and the smell of baking – for grocery stores.

Location of goods at eye level

Salespeople aim to silence your voice of reason, to cloud your brain, preventing it from working again. Not surprisingly, the products that want to sell out first are placed at eye level so that you don’t even have to make extra gestures.

Bright price tag / promotions / sweepstakes

Here, marketers have the freedom to manipulate our minds. The promise of prizes, the use of recognizable personalities, and the lure of status items all speak directly to our unmet needs. Some of them, of course, is from childhood: “if I have this thing, they will be friends with me!”

Many psychological gimmicks used in retail come from neurolinguistic psychotherapy (NLP).

The principle of contrast

You are first offered the most expensive things, against which in the future the rest will seem cheap. If you bought an expensive suit, purchasing a costly tie will not look so wasteful against its background.

Mutual exchange

You are offered something for free (a gift from the company, a pen or something else), and you feel obligated. Therefore you agree to purchase unnecessary goods or turn a blind eye to the inflated price.


They offer you a pre-inflated price and voice discounts and promotions from this price.


You are asked personal questions and adjusted to you. It turns out that the seller suddenly served in the same company, lived in the same city, studied at the same institution, and so on. You form a familiarity, and purchasing more expensive things takes place.

Small Rule

You are convinced that this product is running out and will be in short supply, the promotion terms are limited, and the like.

Image- Bryan Papazov, Unsplash

What should you do?

If you feel that the seller makes you feel too warm, beware and be careful.

Don’t be “like everyone else”. Most can follow standard marketing ploys. Look for the catch in profitable offers.

Take your time. Be smart about shopping and plan your budget.

Technique “4 questions”

It is also called “Descartes Square” and is recommended to be used when it is difficult to make a decision right away. It consists of the following. Answer these 4 questions for yourself:

  1. What will I get if I buy this?
  2. What will I lose if I buy this?
  3. What will I get if I don’t buy it?
  4. What will I lose if I don’t buy this?

A little analysis of the answers will help you better understand whether you need this thing and whether it is worth the money.

Shopping consciously

Suppose you feel emotions such as happiness, joy, an expectation of good, and slight euphoria appear; in that case, they are trying to control you.

Here are some more recommendations:

Make a list of what you need before going to the store (or online purchase);

Check with your budget and immediately indicate for yourself how much you are willing to spend ;

Only shop on a full stomach (especially in grocery stores);

Set aside time to go to the store. In a hurry, we can make hasty, rash decisions.

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