Are you familiar with the situation where your good intentions were to only make some practical and economical purchases from the sale, but you ended up with shopping bags full of everything else – at normal price, of course! Or when you went to Ikea to buy some candles and found yourself dragging two big blue bags back home with you and noticed that you actually forgot the candles? Well, I certainly am. I do consider myself quite a rational shopper and as I´ve been working as a visual merchandiser for years I really should know all the tricks they play on us – and still get fooled. So what the heck happens in the store?
Did you know there is actually a whole branch of people planning how to get you to open your wallet after you finally enter the physical store? As the advertisers have done their job when you step into the store, shopper marketers job is only beginning. Marcus Evans, the director of a shopper marketing agency in Dubai, says: “We are the ones who change attitude into action. You can have the most beautiful branding in the world, but if people don’t pick your product off the shelves, it’s a waste of time.”
And the shopper marketers and the visual merchandisers have really done their homework in consumer behavior. If you are in the target group of the store, they know how to make the shopping experience especially nice just for you. With lights, colors, floor materials, music and perfumes they create an atmosphere where you feel comfortable enough to start familiarizing yourself with the products. They do give you space while you enter, so it won’t be too scary. They direct your journey with aisles, mirrors and walls. Sometimes they even make you go around in a labyrinth so that you won’t miss a thing.
Maybe you have noticed that there´s often a really good bargain near the entry? Of course it´s there to tempt you in, but it also has another important role: to make you spend more. Ikea calls these cheap products “open-the-wallet” products; once you´ve picked one you need to go through the cashier desk anyway, so why not look around and see if there´s something else that you need. How the other products are placed isn´t exactly a coincidence either, the ones you see first are the ones they want you to choose, not necessarily the most expensive ones but those with the best profit. These are often stores own brands and highlighted in every possible way. Or have you ever managed to get out of the K-Market without any Pirkka- products in your basket?
Finally there is the cashier area, with all the little goodies that you minutes ago didn´t know you needed: socks (well those are always disappearing anyway), chocolate bars (to bring back your energy after serious shopping) and tape rollers of course (those you buy every time, and never remember that you already have five at home). And as you are happily out of the store, with your socks and chocolates and probably some other items as well, you might feel that you were lucky, that you happened to be in the right place at the right time and made a bargain.
Well, think again.