Many people look forward to the holidays all year, including retailers. The holiday shopping season is saturated with tactics and tricks to get you to spend as much money as possible.
While you shop for gifts for your friends and family members, don’t fall victim to the schemes that retailers use to take advantage of your holiday spirit and eagerness to get a good deal. They include:
Carefully chosen music
Think of how noise around you often affects your mood. Head into a store with loud, disruptive music or yelling, and you’ll likely want to get your shopping done and get out of there as soon as possible.
But the American Psychological Association and European Journal of Scientific Research note that when you go into a store with relaxing music, you are much more likely to spend more time in the store. Spending more time in a store can lead to spending more money.
Shoppers who hear classical music while shopping, for example, might spend more money than they planned because classical music is connected to the perception of affluence, reported U.S. News. This tactic is used more frequently during the holiday season, according to retail specialist Mari Corella, who has worked with large national retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Williams-Sonoma and Sears.
“Retailers pump Christmas songs through their stores to invoke emotions of nostalgia and generosity, all leading to a greater basket size,” said Corella.
Retailers also use holiday-specific scents to try to increase your will to spend money, Corella said. “Retailers often scent their stores during the holidays with seasonal fragrances such as gingerbread and pine,” she said. “This tactic invokes a sense of warmness and generosity, all leading to larger purchases.”
This tactic is used by small and large businesses and can be especially effective when the scent complements music being played, according to Bruce Sanders, a retail consultant, consumer psychologist and author of “Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers.”
“Small retail stores use candles, and large retailers use fragrance diffuser machines,” Sanders said. “If Christmas music and Christmas scent in the store match up, people say they like the store and merchandise better and are more likely to shop at the store.”
Sensory experiences can play a large role in your perception of a store and brand. The more pleasant a shopping experience is, the more likely you’ll walk out the door with less money in your hand.
Retailers frequently sell items that appeal to people’s feelings of nostalgia, such as a ’50s-style dining set, an old-school video game system or a retro turntable.
Gifts that trigger a memory or inspire a young person to try something from the past can offer richness that general gifts like candles cannot, according to Fortune Magazine.
Creating these feelings of nostalgia seem to have a significant effect on the spending behaviors of shoppers. Nostalgia led shoppers to pay more money for products and value their money less, according to a study from the Journal of Consumer Research.
Caroline Hailey writes for GOBankingRates.com.