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I am a new vegan and just starting to write a blog about my journey thus far. http://griffinwolf2008.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 9, 2012

7 secrets retailers don't tell you

It may be shocking to some, but retailers have developed a science to attract shoppers. All of their strategies are very logical and easy to navigate, once you learn the ropes. There are many shopping mall stores that hire retail researchers such as Paco Underhill, the author of "Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping."

Underhill did a study on a few hundred people and looked at how they shopped. "There is nothing random about how a store is arranged and designed. It is carefully calculated to appeal to you in every possible way," he says.

"The stores have a plan, so you should, too," says best-selling author of "The Total Money Makeover” and host of his own syndicated financial radio talk show, Dave Ramsey .

The ‘magic’ of store display
There is a simple lesson that can be learned. Underhill talks about it in his book using a story about a t-shirt display.

"We buy them in Sri Lanka for $3 each. Then we bring them over here and sew in washing instructions, which are in French and English. Notice we don't say the shirts are made in France. But you can infer that if you like. Then ... we fold them just right on a tasteful tabletop display, and on the wall behind it, we hang a huge, gorgeous photograph of a beautiful woman in an exotic locale wearing the shirt."  

Ramsey’s response? "Write a monthly mall shopping budget and stash cash in an envelope specifically for that purpose. When the envelope is empty, stop spending," Ramsey says. "A written budget makes you think twice when you are tempted by impulse buys."

When BOGO sales are appropriate
Bundled-item promotions such as bogo and 2-fers can successfully lure you into buying something in their store more often and spending more money than any advertisement in a magazine or television advertisement. "You're not saving if you are actually spending more than you planned," says Underhill. These “sales” aren’t always a good deal, especially if you aren’t familiar with the stores merchandise and normal prices. You need to ask yourself, “Do I really need two of the same jeans?”

Don’t turn right when entering the store
Since a majority of the population is right handed, people have a habit of turning right when they enter a store. Since store owners have firsthand knowledge of this, stores will always feature their popular trends to the right hand of the entryway. Next time you walk into a store, pay attention to the attractiveness of displays and music, you will notice that one side is more attractive than the other. Stores also put their most expensive items on the right hand side. Make a list, shop with blinders on and only shop for what you came for.

Why clearance items are in the back
Clearance items are always placed in the back of every store because the stores want you to be tempted with the most expensive items first, . They hope that by the time you get to the clearance section, your hands will be full. When you walk into a store, walk straight to the clearance section first so you won’t be tempted to buy the expensive items. Chances are you can find something that you like for significantly less.

Why the clearance area is messy
There will be many people who will avoid the clearance rack because it’s messy and really frustrating to sift through. Shoppers want to be able to find their size, price and see the item easily and quickly. Retailers take advantage of that by jumbling everything so you give up and go towards the nicely displayed items that are marked at full price.

Never shop when you are in a crunch for time because it causes you to make rash decisions. You need to set aside time to shop and dig for what you really want and need. Plus, you can get more bang for your buck in the clearance section. You may need to buy something that is intended for fall when it’s in the middle of the winter but you’ll already be prepared for next season!

Beware of the small stuff around the register
When it comes to little inexpensive, cute and pretty items around, the register is calculated to kill a buyer’s budget when it comes to spending. These items such as perfumes, small jewelry items and other “add-on” items just dig you deeper into a hole. Unless one of these items is on your shopping list, resist the urge. If you see an item in the checkout area, take a mental note of it; it’ll probably be there for a while. If it’s still there for your next shopping session, it’s in your budget and you still want it, then you might be able to get it.

Be selective when shopping with friends
When it comes to shopping with others, make sure it’s with like minded shoppers who are trying to achieve the same goal you are. Retailers will take advantage of reckless shoppers who give into every temptation they see. Also, don’t go posting that dress you tried on in the dressing room on Facebook because “friends” will tempt you even more into buying that item. Bring someone who will help you stay on track with what you do and do not need.

Ramsey says that "Alcoholics should stay out of the bars. If you know you have a problem with spending, stay out of the mall.”
If you really need a “shopping kick,” go to a shopping center with someone. Go ahead and put everything in the cart that you like, and when you’re done, just leave the cart without checking out. I have heard of many recovering shop-a-holics who do this, and it has helped them achieve their high while not spending money they don’t have.
Emily Griffin is 23 years old and a recent college graduate from State college of Florida. She is a personal finance writer for Save1.com; the new coupon startup that feeds kids each time a coupon or deal is used. 

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