10 Marketing Mind Games That Trigger You To Spend More Money

Date Mar 18, 2021
Blog category Mobile Phone
By Staff Writer

Have you ever been deceived into buying more than what you'd planned? Well, it's not entirely your fault! Marketers have long since perfected the art of getting us to buy more — whether it's in-store, or online.

These marketing tricks come in the packaging, store design, prices, carts, sales, ads, and seasons of the year. Every step of your purchase is designed to make you spend more money. These are real sneaky tricks, but if you look closely, it's a lot easier to spot these days. Here are some of the most common marketing tricks that trigger you to buy more.

1. The bigger the number, the better the discount

Let’s say you’re selling a pair of earphones for $50, with a discount of $10. Sure — it’s a great deal, and many people would already want to buy it. But if you want to generate bigger sales, advertise it as 20% off!

They’re actually the same amount, but how many people are actually going to compute them? Perhaps, 3 out of 10 people — 4 at most. For the majority of buyers, their eyes will immediately glisten once they see 20 instead of 10.

2. Lower the price down to the last cent

Would you rather buy an item for $5 or $4.99? The price difference is only a single cent, but people may actually buy more if you price it this way — but why? People don’t look for cents, they just look for the whole number. The brain is simply designed to think this way.

This trick is also applicable for expensive items like smartphones. Instead of selling them at $1,300, they sell them at $1,299. Although brands are suffering a loss by using this pricing method, they can easily make up for it with their high sales. It's just that effective.


3. Mention big words and catchphrases

Amidst tough competition, how do brands actually sell their products effectively? The magic lies in making use of catchphrases in their ads and campaigns with big words in the packaging! Mentioning these words can make you feel special, like you’re really paying for your money’s worth.

The biggest examples would have to be these common words: "exclusive", "VIP offers", and "members-only." These words induce the fear of missing out, so more people would totally want to subscribe, right?

Read: Consumer Rights: Your Guide Against Misleading Prices And Advertising

One way to spot good marketing? That is, if you leave the store feeling good about yourself — and your new purchase/s.

4. Include shipping and delivery fee in the pricing

If you’re selling an item online, make sure to include the shipping and delivery fee in your pricing. Then, advertise it with a free shipping fee! It’s a sneaky way to convince customers that the item is more “bang-for-the-buck” even if they’re basically paying for the delivery charge.

Most people are easily persuaded as long as free is involved. However, there’s no such thing as free! You have to pay for it one way or another. This trick provides easy money for brands as they can easily convince people even without fancy promotional materials.

5. Place more expensive items at the front of the store

Ever wonder why pricey items like televisions, fridges, and washing machines are at the very front of the store? These huge appliances make a grand welcome. They’re actually there to make the prices of other items seem cheaper.

Once you go past this section, even the second most expensive item at the store seems cheap. This is also the reason why you see the more expensive organic food section at the front of the store separated from the more affordable non-organic food.

6. Overspend using bundles 

Pretty sure you’ve heard all about bundle promotions like “buy-one, get-one (BOGO),” “buy three, get the fourth item for 50%,” and more. They may seem to offer great value for money, but you’re not paying any lower just because of this bundle.

Most retailers are purposely overcharging these items. So when you actually buy the bundle, they’re not incurring any losses. The same is also true for sale items with 30-50% off. The “original” items are deliberately overpriced before the sale period starts.

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7. A sense of urgency in their advertisements

If you see statements such as “Available on a limited time period only,” “Only a few stocks left,” “Someone in Auckland has bought this product,” or something along those lines, they’re meant to create a sense of urgency and that you should buy the product now!

This aims to distance you away from a careful purchase that you’d likely do without these statements. Aside from tricking you to make urgent purchases, it also tricks you into purchasing more because you may think that stocks will actually run out!

8. Make the instalment prices bigger

For big purchases like fridge or televisions, retailers put the instalment prices on a bigger and bolder font. As the amount is divided into several months, it usually comes with a low price. When you put the lump sum price, the amount is bigger because it’s a one-time payment.

Read: Online Banking In NZ: How To Never Miss A Payment Again

Aside from this, the total instalment price usually adds up to become more expensive than the lump sum price because of interest. That’s why salesmen would often upsell the instalment option and convince you to pay in instalments as much as possible.

9. Place essentials at the back of the store

Have you wondered why essential items like food, toiletries, and maintenance items are always at the back of the store? This way, you put more non-essential items in your cart before you actually put the items that you need to buy. That's an easy money maker for retailers!

Also, the most expensive items and most popular items are placed at eye level. Merchandisers are actually fighting over this spot because it’s where most people grab their items. As a rule of thumb, always scan the lower and higher racks before adding an item to your cart.

10. Decoy the pricing based on different sizes

“Go big or go home!” That’s why retailers always sell you large-sized items as much as possible. If this is true, then what about the medium-sized items? It’s used as a decoy to convince you to purchase the large-sized ones!

That’s why you see a big price difference between small to medium but not much from medium to large. For example, a small-sized item is priced at $5, the medium one is priced at $8.99, and the large cup is priced at $10. It’s to trick you into thinking that the larger cup offers the best value.

What can you do to avoid falling for these tricks?

Be a smarter consumer! You can’t avoid these altogether as marketers will always find sneaky ways to get you to spend more money. Just keep yourself updated with all these tricks so you can easily these marketing traps the next time you go shopping!

Read: 7 Ways To Save Money On A Tight Budget

Also, not all advertisements have some tricks to get you to spend more. Some retailers genuinely want you to save money and give you bang-for-the-buck items, so don’t hesitate to take advantage of their deals. Always check for discounts and markdowns before checking out your online and in-store shopping cart.

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