Why You Buy

Tips for savvy shopping.

Want a few tips for saving money and becoming a savvy shopper?

As a retail anthropologist, Paco Underhill studies shoppers. He's uncovered thousands of reasons shoppers make decisions and advises retailers on the best way to present merchandise to influence buyers in his book "Why We Buy, The Science of Shopping".

See how to turn this to your advantage.

In a hurry? Fast food restaurants place signs as you exit the restroom - which you'll read - but never before you enter.

ReasonsThe LureKeep Yourself in Check
Limitless selection Search engines make it simple to find anything you can imagine.Do I "really" need this?
Price comparison Hundreds of retailers sell the same product and offer discounts, including free shipping to get your business.Am I buying just because I get free shipping or a discount?
Convenience Shop when "you" want. Never see a "Closed" sign.Do I shop more because I can do it online?
Speed No cashiers, no waiting in line.Imagine I'm waiting in line for this same product. Would I have second thoughts? Is it worth the wait?
Information Learn about the product in reviews, blogs, videos and more.Is this influencing me to spend more or buy bigger than I originally intended?
Do you? Go to the physical store, find what you want, and shop prices online?Have I done my homework? Can I buy it locally and support my local merchants for the same price?

Stop and read. Tray liners in fast food restaurants are meant to entertain and influence single diners and children. Same goes for the back of cereal boxes.

Shopping SavvyMechanics of ShoppingWhy
Shop with a purpose. Limit browsing. Spend less time in the store. Find ways to keep a shopper in the store as long as possible. The amount of time a shopper spends in a store is directly related to how much he or she will buy.
Look for the "landing zone". Ten feet inside the door is prime real estate as you transition from outside to inside, get comfortable in the surroundings, and look for special offers. Fliers and signs offer specials and discounts.
Watch out for speed bumps. Big banks of counters at the front of the store. These barriers slow you down to get you to examine merchandise.
Use your hands to hold merchandise instead of a basket, mesh bag or shopping cart. Baskets, carts and bags are placed strategically towards the front or middle of the store, especially in pharmacies. Basket use increases the size of the average sale for many smaller items (shaving cream, cosmetics, etc.). The larger the shopping cart, the larger the sale.
Politely acknowledge an employee and walk away. Employee interaction to greet customers, assist and influence purchases. The more shopper-employee contacts that take place, the greater the average sale.
Interact only with merchandise you intend to buy, especially at Christmas. Touch, hear, smell and experience the merchandise. Virtually all unplanned purchases are a result of experiencing something pleasurable.
Try on only the clothes you need. Staff assistance to offer a variety of merchandise. A shopper who talks to a salesperson and tries on something is twice as likely to buy as shopper who does neither.
Avoid impulse items and samples. Walk quickly, don't linger. Free samples placed either on tables, counters or offered by employees slow down the shopper. The slower you walk the more likely you are to stop and try. People buy things more than ever based on trial and touch.
Be mindful of the entertainment factor. Big screen TVs and music often at the back of the store. Static signs have given way to colorful video and music to inform, entertain and heighten the shopping experience.


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