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15+ Secrets Shop Assistants and Administrators Are Unwillingly Speaking About

The prices in malls are higher by 12% on average than in regular shops but we don’t notice it. Our attention is controlled with the help of many factors: uneven floors slow down our movements, complex planning of aisles complicates our orientation in space, and the use of music, lights, and smells encourage a need to stay longer. It’s all thanks to sensory marketing which affects our senses to increase sales. Knowing how retail works from the inside can help us understand the mechanics of our own decisions and buy only the things that we really want.

Bright Side read the stories of trading sphere workers and collected information about what tricks their companies use. We hope this knowledge will help you to not overpay for things of poor quality.

  • The quality of things sold in outlets might be lower than in the main shops of the brand. That’s why if you feel like the density of the fabric is not that good or if the paint resistance and seams aren’t great on a discounted item, it might be more than just a feeling. Oftentimes, clothes in outlets are sewn separately from the main collection by ordering a batch of items made of cheaper products. According to a former manager of an outlet, shifting unsold items from the main shop to the outlet is not economically profitable. It’s easier to produce it separately.
  • Curtains instead of doors in fitting rooms create an artificial rush and make you focus on making a decision because at any moment someone can enter the room. The volume of sales is a key indicator for mass-market brands which is why sellers will do their best to make people go in and out of fitting rooms as quickly as possible. On average, 25% of those who go into a store go into the fitting room, and 67% of those people actually make a purchase.
    Since providing tactile contact with an item increases the chances of selling it, you’ll likely hear a salesperson encouraging you to try on an item all too often. This is due to the trick of sensory marketing we mentioned before — having a tactile feeling plus a psychological feeling of possessing a thing before you pay for it. Sellers insist on customers trying things on because it increases conversion rates.
  • Search for items with a big discount in the depths of the store. The front section of a store usually displays the most expensive, new, and popular goods. This trick implies you’ll take several items at full price before you get to the department with discounts.
  • The product that the manufacturer wants to draw customers’ attention to is illuminated well. As a rule, people tend to be drawn to areas that look brighter. The experts in the sphere of sensory marketing and emotions recommend shop owners to use lights in order to outline a certain item among the entire collection.
  • Always pay attention to price tags in household appliance stores. A former worker of one such store wrote, “A price tag with a stripe means a triple bonus for the seller, and a price tag in italics means no bonus. It doesn’t mean that an item profitable for the seller is bad or that a non-profitable item for the seller is of good quality. In any case, you shouldn’t totally rely on the assistant’s opinion here.” He also doesn’t recommend waiting for Christmas sales, stating, “There won’t be any. The prices always grow in December and the closer Christmas is, the higher they get. All because many people get annual bonuses in December, so why would stores decrease their prices? If you want to save money, the best way to make purchases is in October or November.”
  • Some retailers specially place a few items in their shops. This is done to make a buyer purchase an item as the stock lasts and their size is available. The owners of boutiques also follow a similar principle: a client should have a feeling of uniqueness because they bought a unique item that is going to be out of stock soon. However, the limits in boutiques are real and not artificially created for increasing sales.
  • Assistants in bookstores are taught to put books into clients’ hands. Many people will buy such a book because they will feel awkward placing an item back in the wrong place. Lots of people would buy the book just to avoid the strangeness. The same principle works for other niches too.
  • Have you ever wondered why there are so many people in aisles? Shops are often designed to include “speed breakers” such as tables, counters, and displays. Their function is to slow down clients’ movements. Carpets on the floor play the same role — you feel comfortable, move slower, and see more goods, increasing the chances that you’ll buy something.
  • “Avoid Black Friday sales unless it’s a store-wide sale (50% off the whole store) or one for a particular item you’ve had your eye on for a while and know the quality of. Every store I worked at would have a special shipment of ’Black Friday products’ and they were all lesser quality items. We’d get an item with a $499 sticker, and as soon as we put it on the floor, we’d have sale signs all around it. It was never sold for the original inflated $499 price and probably wasn’t even worth the $299 sale price. Also, I’ll second the outlet scams. We’d get a shipment of obviously terrible quality products (with things like uneven seams, pattern mistakes, texture variances, lesser quality fabric) and be instructed to send it to the outlet distribution center. We sold all of the good quality items at ’killer prices’ in-store after the season was over. The outlets only got the bad product,” revealed a Reddit user with the nickname, turkington19.

  • Also, if clothes are coming from overseas, they may have been sprayed with chemicals to protect them from getting moldy on ships. So remember to always wash the items you buy. However, chemicals are not the only reason you should do that.

  • Always wash new clothes. ESPECIALLY underwear. You don’t know where an item has been before it appeared in the store’s window. “When I worked in a lingerie store, they dumped all of the underwear on the floor to sort it at the end of the night,” writes a former shop assistant with the nickname, Legenderie.

  • If you came for a certain thing, make sure not to spend half of your budget in a cafe. People spend 20% more money in malls that have a good food court. Aroma marketing (when they spray aromatizers in a room with special sprayers) is actively used for attracting buyers. It can be the smell of chocolate, hot baked goods, genuine leather, wood, coffee, vanilla, biscuits, fried meat, champagne, fruit, wine and anything else, depending on the nature of the shop.
  • When you compare similar items in a shop, when one of them is significantly more expensive than the other, you end up buying the one that’s cheaper. This is “the anchoring effect” at work. Expensive items are sometimes used as anchors because our consciousness clings to something that an item can be compared to and eventually, the cheaper product doesn’t seem so expensive. As a result, we end up buying it.
  • Before buying an item that makes you look slim, make sure the store has normal mirrors. To check this, you’ll need to look into the mirror from the side. If it’s curved, it means the image it shows won’t be truthful. Some retailers use complimentary mirrors (skinny mirrors) that make you look slimmer.
  • If you’re not sure you need to buy a certain thing, don’t pick it up. If the seller offers you to touch the goods to assess their softness, the naturalness of the fabric, and more, you shouldn’t do so. The psychological effect of possessing is so strong that the Illinois Attorney’s Office (USA) once made a public statement about feeling things before a sale. They warned people to avoid coming into contact with items for sale because it urges them to make a purchase.
  • If you feel someone is constantly watching you, you’re likely right. A shop assistant is not allowed to ever turn their back to a customer. At the same time, no one will stare at you the entire time you shop either.
  • A shop assistant’s greeting is a method of protecting the store. They greet everyone so that a buyer won’t feel relaxed enough to shoplift. They rely on the fact that paranoiacs will think they’ve been remembered and won’t allow themselves to break the law.

What other store and mall tricks have you noticed? We’d be glad to hear from you in the comments!

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