Shoppers are being warned about the sneaky tricks retailers are using to part you from your cash, legally. Psychologists, advertisers and marketers have at their disposal some fascinating and proven research on things able to influence your buying decisions. Here are just a few:

Visual Cues:

What we see and what it suggests accounts for over 93 per cent f our perception. Marketers, therefore, have spent an incredible amount of effort and money on packaging and representing their brands in ways to elicit responses from buyers.

Colours play an important role. Red, for instance, connotes danger/ urgency and is targeted at impulse buyers. Red also connotes sweetness, in comparison with yellow which is associated with saltiness. Yellow is also representative of sunshine and happiness. Red and yellow are therefore integral in the fast food market which relies on positive feelings towards its brand and fast turnover.

Olfactory cues:

Our sense of smell is associated with the brain’s limbic system used to process emotions and memories. So scents like coconut in the swimwear section of a department store are used to evoke feelings and memories of tropical island holidays, baby powder scents in infant wear evoke feelings of maternal love, and lilac in the lingerie section stir sensual emotions.

Brands like Hugo Boss have created their own signature scent. When smelt the musk with a hint of citrus will be associated with the brand.

Tactile Cues:

Feelings of warmth are associated with trust and security. In this state shoppers are much more likely to make a purchase.

Studies have shown that people seated on a hard chair are much more likely to haggle over the price of a new car than they do when seated in a plush comfy chair. They literally become soft when soaked in the embrace of a soft chair.

Computer giant Apple has its laptops opened to only 70 degrees, as this is identified to be the ideal angle to tempt browsers to want to open it more fully.

And of course the old sales trick of a quick one or two second light touch on the upper arm ss a stock in trade for waiters after tips, petitioners after signatures, interviewers after a connection and sales people after a buck.

Often being aware of your surroundings and thinking about the reasons for them being construed the way they are, is your best defense. Retailers have a lot of information and technology to bring to bear on customers. They do nothing without a very good reason. Just knowing that will put you on your guard.

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