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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 September 2, 2020

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

2. Keep Goals Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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4. Short Term Vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

  • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
  • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
  • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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5. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

6. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

1. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding:

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

Use compound interest when setting financial goals

    Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

    Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

    4. Measure, Measure, Measure

    All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

    If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

    Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

    The Bottom Line

    Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

    and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

    More Tips on Financial Goals

    Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

    Reference

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