There is that innate “Oliver Twist” tendency in virtually everyone. You could almost say it’s part of the things that make us human. Upon exposure to what appears to be a good deal or opportune moment, every buyer wants to take advantage quickly. “Opportunity comes but once” and “Opportunity lost can never be regained” are some of the axioms that further drive these tendencies.

Knowing everyone more or less struggles with this desire to get more and have more, retailers are on top of their game deploying techniques to ensure consumers continue to spend. A conveniently placed Groupon discount can often mean the difference between a successful purchase and a customer completely ignoring your product, either because they don’t actually need it or they think that they can’t afford it.

Sometimes, when the buyer already has that particular product in sufficient quantities, allures such as “buy one get one free” or “buy one and get one half off” are still flaunted to them by the retailers. These ads and messages are displayed to get the consumers to buy more than what they need.

The decision to buy more happens on a psychological level and retailers target this to increase sales. Some of these psychological strategies employed to tinker with buyer’s choices include:

You better get it before the competition does
When retailers put up items on display for buyers to choose from, they inherently create a sense of competition amongst the buyers and shoppers. They make the next shopper feel as though any tardiness in deciding to buy the product will be met with a “sold out” sign when they eventually decide to make the purchase.

Even more, a decrease in the number of items on the shelf may sometimes be construed by the shopper as a sign of depletion, hence the need to buy theirs pronto. In addition, stores may even make on-sale offers that last only for a few hours, instilling some sense of urgency in the consumers. “I better get that item before the next shopper does.”

Similarly, a fear factor accompanies the competition, often leading to thoughts of missing out and the now-or-never impulse buying.


You’re saving, not spending

The message that’s so often spread is the need to save, rather than spend. “Save for the rainy day”. So, in order to appeal to that desire to want to save, retailers showcase sales as more of saving than spending. In the real sense though, they would be making you buy items you normally would not buy and therein lies the problem.

An example is the use of coupons. More often than not, coupons are offered on items and products that you otherwise would not buy. This eventually leads to you stocking up items you would otherwise not have, all in the bid to gratify the “I’m saving” feeling.

It’s more valuable than you think
When items are placed on sale, they have the inherent capacity to appear much more valuable than they actually are. For example, an item that is marked down to $250 from $400 would instinctively make the buyer believe they are getting a great deal if they bought it immediately. The question is, however, whether the $400 price tag was actually the worth of the product in the first place.