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10 Ways Fashion Stores Manipulate You To Spend More

10 Ways Fashion Stores Manipulate You To Spend More

Fashion stores always seem to be at their peak, particularly around the change of the seasons. When spring turns to summer, out come the shorts and peasant tops. When it turns cooler, the big knits and comfy jeans make their triumphant return.

However, it’s a little-known fact, that fashion stores – heck, the majority of stores – are actively trying to play mind games with you so that you’ll spend more time and money in their establishment. Turns out some fashion tricks are good all year round.

So, if you want to be a little bit savvier about your spending habits, and more importantly keep an eye out for signs that your local fashion store is trying to get you to spend an exorbitant amount more than you need, then check out our top ten sneakiest fashion store tricks being employed.

1. The Clothes Are Designed To Feel Slightly Out of Season

Here’s a doozy of a trick that the fashion stores employ – the clothes there are always designed to feel slightly of season, ensuring you buy more through pressure. Despite the established spring/summer and autumn/winter seasons of clothing, industry insiders have confirmed that micro-trends exist on a weekly basis, transforming the way fashion stores and their shoppers operate on a weekly basis.

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This means that shoppers are pressured, week-to-week, to constantly update their looks with new products. They are pressured into feeling always on the verge of being outside of modern fashion. Our suggestion? Focus on style, rather than fashion – besides, everything always comes back around again, anyway.

2. They Advertise Discount Clothing To Sell Lower Quality Products of the Same Brand

One of the most commonly used fashion tricks used to get people to buy more is the ‘discount’. Many of us think we’re picking up a bargain when we head to a store that specialises in cheaper clothing of the same kind we hanker after in bigger, more expensive stores. However, what many are unaware of is that the clothing – while of the same brand, for example – is not the same, and in fact the clothes manufactured for the discount stores is inherently made cheaper and at a lower quality.

This ensures that you see the chance to ‘grab yourself a bargain’ and so spend more money, rather than if you’d spent a little bit more on an item or garment that would stay the course and be of a much better quality. This is one of the most scarily common fashion tricks of the trade, so next time you find yourself tempted by something at a seemingly obscenely low price, make sure you’re buying it from a proper store, and you’ll be getting the product you actually pay for.

3. They Use Alluring or Pleasurable Scents to Make You More Likely To Spend

This one is certainly one of the most unusual fashion store tricks employed, but in stores, they often use particular scents to evoke a positive feeling, which therefore makes it much likelier for you to buy stuff in the store. The effect of scents on human emotions and behaviour has long since been documented – for example, the smell of baking bread in a house makes a strong emotional connection in the brain, eliciting a positive reaction to that house.

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In stores,scents can evoke powerful memory and emotion associations. However, getting the right scent for the right product is practically a science in of itself. Too much scent is off-putting and artificial, while not enough will have no effect on the store’s patrons. Fashion stores dig into your pleasant memories and uses them to induce you into being more open into splurging on a shirt or skirt. Remember that next time you walk into a store and find yourself filled with a warm and fuzzy feeling that has nothing to do with finding the right shirt in your size.

4. They Prey On Your Movement Patterns to Entice You To Buy More Stuff

This is more prevalent and noticeable in supermarkets, but fashion stores use this trick to great effect as well, by placing all of the bright attractive clothing at the front of the store, so that when you walk past, you are immediately enticed inside and find yourself drawn to those particular, brand new and probably at full price. One of the most common fashion store tricks is placing small, cheap items by the cash register where you go to pay for your purchases. These impulse buys are much easier to sell, due to people generally being on a shopping high’, and more likely to pick up something cute like gum, candy, or cheap brand paraphernalia, rather than advertising right in the heart of the store itself. Stop before you buy those little purchases and think, “am I actually gonna use this?”. If not, put it down, and save yourself some money on stuff you won’t use or won’t need.

5 They Use Shiny Objects and Surfaces to Make Their Products Seem Better

Yes, humans are indeed like magpies. We like shiny things, something left over from our hunter-gatherer days and something that continues to reside deep in our reptilian hindbrains. We associate the shiny and the sparkling with something attractive, something we want to own and possess. However, while in those days it was usually some weapon of some kind, rather than a cute sparkly top or the glimmering mirrors in your favourite clothing department store.

We’re meant to be attracted, instinctively, to shiny, reflective things, and fashion stores take advantage of this. They deliberately make their stores as bright and reflective as possible, to entice you inside and make you believe that whatever is inside is worth of purchase. Don’t be blinded by the shiny things people: after all, not all glimmers is gold.

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6. They Encourage Trying On Clothes To Make You Want Them More

This one is an unusual fashion trick rooted in psychology, but actually physically touching a product makes it much likelier for you to want to buy it. Obviously, this is a big selling point and a fashion trick employed in physical clothing stores. Touching can lead to lingering and prolonged feelings of ownership, particularly in clothing stores when you usually physically put the items on to assess them.

In fashion stores, it isn’t uncommon to see an abundance of changing rooms and ‘try before you buy’ incentives offered. While you should always try your clothing before you buy it to help make the best decision for your shape and fit, make sure that you actually like a piece of clothing before buying it; don’t buy it just because you’ve worn it once and feel like you have to buy it because you know ‘own it’. You don’t.

7. They Try and Ride The Wave of Endorphins That Comes With Shopping

Okay, so this is pretty basic stuff, but extensive research has found that shopping releases endorphins and mood-boosting chemicals, making shopping a pleasurable experience. Therefore, stores are more inclined to try and keep you in their stores for as long as possible, so that they can rely on you to ride that endorphin wave and buy more and more to stay in that pleasurable state. This is a good general tip to think about when in a fashion store: they want you to stay as long as possible and spend as much as possible, so ignore that happy little thrill and be objective as possible.

8. They Create Clothing That Is Designed to Be Disposable and Fall Apart

Many of the big industry names in clothing actually engineer clothing to fall apart and be more disposable. Sounds pretty despicable, right? Well, it’s the truth. One of the fashion stores’ most deceitful tricks is using clothing in their stores that is cheaply made and produced, so that when it rips or tears or breaks, you don’t see it as much of a wasted opportunity and go ahead and buy more. In fact, it’s more likely that you spend more money on several copies of the same, cheaply-made garment, rather than a more expensive but infinitely better made version of that product. Be smart and invest in something classic that will last longer.

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9. They Play Songs Exactly Picked to Make Their Products Seem Cooler

Music is a huge part in how we go about our daily lives, and so it’s not too much of a surprise to learn that fashion stores use songs and particular musical moods as one of their top fashion tricks. Studies have found that music, whether listened to consciously or not, elicits an emotional response from the listener. It has also been found that store owners create exact playlists in order to induce moods more likely to be associated with big sales and shopping.

Certain kinds of songs have been known, in a store environment, to cause people to stay longer, make impulse purchases, or even affect the kinds of products the shoppers buy. Next time you’re in a store and hear a catchy little pop song over the intercom system, just remember that not only was it picked to be cool enough to make you think highly of the store, it was designed to make you buy more, so maybe save listening to the song too closely for when you get home.

10. They Trick Your Minds Into Buying More Through Brand Recognition

Finally, one of the most mainstream fashion store tricks is to use the big brands to sell clothing, despite the actual quality of products being debated. In big, high-end clothing stores. When we hear the big names of fashion, we automatically associate them with quality and with something worth owning. In fact, in our celebrity-centered culture, it isn’t at all hard to find coverage of brand name clothing everywhere in our mainstream.

However, sometimes paying for a brand is not a solid purchase in itself, and a lot of the time, the same level of quality in a product can be found in another, lesser known brand. What you are, in effect, paying the extra money for, is for the association that comes with the brand. A handbag with a famous name can be worth $5000 while another, just as good, and without the name, can be $50. While it certainly can be tempting to go with the grain and buy the big names, make sure you do your research, and save yourself some money whilst not having to sacrifice your personal style at the altar of high fashion.

Featured photo credit: Confessions of a Shopaholic, Touchstone Pictures via media.portable.tv

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Chris Haigh

Writer, baker, co-host of "Good Evening Podcast" and "North By Nerdwest".

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Last Updated on July 4, 2019

25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

Whether you’re five or ninety five, the internet has a lot to offer. Particularly when the topic is education, the resources on the internet are endless.

Best of all, many high quality sites are completely free. From history to coding, excellent free online education awaits on the following 25 sites.

1. Coursera

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    Coursera is a website that partners with universities and organizations around the world. This brings a wide variety of topics and perspectives to one searchable database.

    Coursera is a powerful tool for free online education, and includes courses from many top universities, museums and trusts. This gives the site an extremely wide range of in-depth courses.

    Coursera is extremely useful if you’re looking to study many different topics, or want courses from different schools and groups.

    2. Khan Academy

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      Partnering with many post secondary schools, Khan Academy offers a useable, well organized interface. Also curating many courses from around the web, Khan Academy offers impressive depth on many different subjects.

      Among the more well known educational sites, Khan Academy is also incredibly useable, which may make it easier to keep learning goals.

      3. Open Culture Online Courses

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        If you are struggling to find exactly the material you are looking for, try Open Culture’s listing of free online education courses. The page highlights 1000 lectures, videos and podcasts from universities around the world. The site features a lot of material found only on universities private sites, all in easy to browse categories. This means you can find hundreds of university courses, without having to visit and search each university’s own site.

        Open Culture’s list features courses from England, Australia, Wales and many state universities around the United States. A very helpful resource for finding many courses in one area of study.

        4. Udemy 

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          Udemy’s free courses are similar in concept to Coursera’s but additionally allows users to build custom courses from lessons.

          Working with many top professors and schools, the site mixes the customizable platform of other sites with a heavy emphasis on top quality content. This is another site however, that mixes free and paid content.

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          5. Academic Earth

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            Another site with courses from many different schools is Academic Earth. Much like the three sites above, Academic Earth brings together top notch courses from many different sources, and focuses on offering a wide variety of subjects.

            Academic Earth lists courses by subject and school, so it might be easier to find what you’re looking for.

            6. edX

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              Another great option for free online education is edX. Also bringing together courses from many different schools, the site has impressive, quality information for everyone. edX covers a great range of topics.

              7. Alison

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                Unlike the previous sites on this lists, Alison is a free education site offering certification in some areas. Alison offers courses mainly in business, technology, and health, but also includes language learning courses.

                It’s a great option if users need certification for their learning as Alison also offers school curriculum courses.

                8. iTunesU Free Courses

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                  A very convenient place for free online education is iTunesU, because it integrates seamlessly with your iPod, or any app-ready Apple mobile device. On iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, users download the iTunesU app.

                  Desktop users can access  iTunesU on the upper right hand corner of the iTunes Store. iTunesU is also convenient because the store is categorized much like iTunes.

                  Users can search learning materials in many different ways, including genre and topic. However, courses are often a mix of free podcasts or videos, and paid content.

                  ITunesU does include courses on a pretty wide scope of topics, but does not integrate with Android, Google or Windows mobile devices.

                  9. Stanford Online

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                    Your hub for all the online offerings from Stanford University, Stanford Online offers self-paced and session based courses. While Coursera features some courses from Stanford, many classes are only available via other hosts. Some courses require iTunes, but most are completed in your web browser.

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                    Stanford Online is a great site for high quality courses, though the topics are somewhat limited compared to sites partnered with more than one school.

                    10. Harvard Extension

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                      Like Stanford Online, Harvard Extension features free online education courses from Harvard only. This is another excellent source for top notch course material, though the course variety is less rich than multi-school sites.

                      Additionally, Harvard Extension allows you to search for courses by professional certificate. This makes it much easier if your online education goal includes certification.

                      11. Open Yale Courses

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                        Open Yale Courses echoes Harvard Extension and Stanford Online, in that it offers only courses from Yale. While the site is similarly limited to topics taught at the school, Open Yale Courses offers a lot of videos of actual campus lectures. The availability of videos makes the site a great option if you’re looking for quality courses, but learn better by watching than by reading.

                        12. UC Berkeley Class Central

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                          Much like the other schools on this list, UC Berkeley has a variety of free online education options. The school has slightly fewer courses than the schools above, but includes some supplementary lectures, webcasts and RSS Feeds, making it easy to keep up with the topics you choose.

                          13. MIT OpenCourseWare

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                            Similarly, MIT offers a variety of free courses. The school has a comparable number of courses to the schools above, plus includes very in-depth course materials on the subjects available. MIT also offers free RSS feeds, a convenient way to continue learning.

                            14. Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

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                              Carnegie Mellon’s free online education site is comparable with the other school’s on this list, however, Open Learning Initiative also covers a smaller range of topics. But for the topics that are covered impressive, in-depth material is available.

                              15. Codecademy

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                                Codecademy is a website dedicated specifically to teaching coding. Where other coding sites follow an example/practice session workflow, Codecademy includes a live practice window. This means you can practice coding while still viewing the lesson material.

                                The courses at Codecademy are well written and easy to follow and the website is organized very nicely. Codecademy features a centralized dashboard where you can monitor your progress, plus organizes lessons into complete modules. This lets you learn an entire language without needing to pick the next course manually.

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                                16. Code

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                                  Code is another website focused on coding and app writing. A site with high quality courses, Code also features learning options for kids.

                                  In addition to kid friendly courses, Code offers free online education classes on a wide variety of technology topics. These classes include app writing, robotics and Javascript.

                                  Most of the courses are also geared in a such a way that they can be useful in a classroom setting. This makes Code a great resource for harder to find coding topics, as well as various learning settings.

                                  17. University of London Podcasts

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                                    The podcast page on the University of London website is another great source for free education. While the courses are limited to podcasts, the site features podcasts from it’s own campus, as well as eleven universities in and around London. This gives learners a wide base of topics and lectures, but still ensures in-depth material.

                                    18. University of Oxford Podcasts

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                                      Similar to the University of London, the University of Oxford features many different podcasts. Most are public lecture series or lectures from visiting professors, with several different recordings available.

                                      The advantage to this particular site is that podcasts are organized into series, making it easy to subscribe to multiple lectures on one topic. Another good site for thoroughly in-depth lectures.

                                      19. BBC Podcasts

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                                        For the more casual learner, the BBC offers a wide variety of podcasts on many different topics. Most podcasts are updated weekly, and focus on everything from finance, to sports, to current events.

                                        Through the World Service line of podcasts, there are also many in different languages. The focus of these podcasts are less in-depth and theory based, which may be more accessible to the average person.

                                        20. TED-Ed

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                                          Another great destination for more general learning is TED-Ed. From the same people that brought you the all encompassing, motivational web series, comes a site chocked full of educational videos. Most include impressive animation, and all are ten minutes long or less.

                                          Not only is TED-Ed an excellent site for the curious, it also includes supplemental materials and quizzes on the videos. This makes the site extremely useful in formal education settings, as well as in entertaining ways to brush up on new discoveries and topics.

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                                          21. LessonPaths

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                                            LessonPaths is another great tool for those looking for a more usable and convenient way to access learning material. On this site, users create link playlists of their favorite learning materials from other sites. Users then rank these collections, making it easy to find many different high quality, accessible sources on a given topic.

                                            22. Memrise

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                                              Another impressive free online education site offering ease of use and convenience is Memrise. Available both on desktop and as an app, Memrise is a particularly powerful tool if you are studying a language. The site encompasses many other topics as well, though some of the course material is user generated content.

                                              Part of what makes Memrise special is their integration of games into the learning materials, mixing learning with entertainment.

                                              23. National Geographic Kids

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                                                The kids site for National Geographic is another site that makes free online education applicable for younger users. For those looking for kid friendly education, a large variety of games, puzzles, videos and photos keeps kids interested on this site.

                                                National Geographic Kids doesn’t organize learning into courses, making materials available by topic and medium instead. This makes National Geographic Kids a good option for those looking for a more casual learning environment.

                                                24. Fun Brain

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                                                  Fun Brain is another good option for kids who want to learn online, but focuses on games and fun puzzles. Particularly focused on math and reading, Fun Brain’s game based approach can be valuable if the child in question struggles to pay attention.

                                                  Fun Brain offers rewards and challenges as well, and is another site aimed at a casual learning experience for kids K-8.

                                                  25. Whyville

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                                                    Similar to the sites for kids free online education is Whyville a destination for preteen online learning. The site includes a variety of social features, with a focus on learning materials geared for young teens.

                                                    Whyville also mixes in educational games, to make the site a well rounded option for kids too old for simple games, but too young for heavy reading based material.

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                                                    Featured photo credit: Dai KE via unsplash.com

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