How shops trick you into spending more money

It’s been four years since Black Friday and Cyber Monday made their mark on South Africa’s retail landscape, with local business pointing to record growth over the period.

According to Absa, there’s also no lack of strategic thinking done by retailers in getting people to view their websites or visit their stores.

“While retailers are good at keeping their sales tactics under wraps, there are a few things to be aware of during this period,” Absa said.

Below it outlined five things to consider before shopping this Black Friday.

The ‘on sale’ trick

Have you done your homework and kept a pricing record of the goods you want?

Independent investment analyst, Chris Gilmour, notes that in South Africa there’s no legislation that states retailers must show what the price of a product has been for the last three months or what the price is currently.

This means that retailers can mark an item as ‘on sale’ – when compared to its historic and current price, it’s probably not.

Loss leaders

If you’ve been at a sale and purchased regular priced items, the odds are that you’ve been drawn in by a loss leader pricing strategy.

This is when a product is deliberately sold below its market price.

“This is to get people into the store and, once they’re there, to get them to buy as much as possible of something, at prices that are the same as what they’ve always been,” said Gilmour.

He cautions for consumers to approach days like Black Friday with caution, “caveat emptor – buyer beware.”

Online vs. In-store Offers

Online and in-store offers can and do differ.

Paul van de Wall, head of e-commerce at Makro, mentions that while you will be able to find the majority of offers across their online site and in-store, there are ‘products that are online only and some that are in store only.’

Just keep in mind that this strategy is to get you to do the most important thing that retailers want you to do on Black Friday and Cyber Monday – spend.

Spreading out the sales

Another strategy used to keep you spending constantly is adding new deals, some of which are on offer for a limited time.

CMO at Takealot, Julie Walsh, notes that the retailer will be adding “hundreds of new deals over the five day period” as a way to provide shoppers with multiple opportunities to buy new products.

This may seem exciting, but have you considered the implications on your wallet? If you were shown all the offers together, there’s likely to be some purchasing hesitation.

What better way to combat that hesitation than to make you split one big purchase into multiple small ones over a longer period. Smart, right?

Read the Ts&Cs

Particularly when it comes to stores that already offer price matching, like Game.

A quick glance at their Ts&Cs shows that their offer to ‘beat any price’ does not apply on one-day sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Read: 7 shopping traps to avoid on Black Friday

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How shops trick you into spending more money